Best Sonoma Wineries with a Food and Wine Pairing
Wine is meant to be enjoyed with food and this list of Sonoma wineries with food pairings takes that very seriously. Delectable and hearty, these chef-driven food and wine pairings go far beyond a cheese and charcuterie plate. Before you go, note that almost all of require advance reservations—and an empty stomach.
Best Sonoma Wineries with Food Pairings
There are culinary components weaved into most Jordan Vineyard & Winery experiences and events, but the Estate Tour & Tasting is by far the most comprehensive. Following a light Champagne breakfast, this three-hour exploration takes you aboard a luxury sprinter van on a tour of the 1,200-acre estate. You’ll make several stops along the way: the culinary garden and apiary of Executive Chef Todd Knoll, a lake for the first food and wine pairing—a tasting of two Jordan Chardonnays with two bites and estate olive oil—a block of vineyards for an educational stroll and finally, Vista Point. Situated on a hilltop at 650 ft. elevation with 360-degree views, Vista Point is the site of the final food and wine pairing, involving a tasting of two Jordan Cabernet Sauvignons to enjoy with a bento box filled with bites, such as Knights Valley Black Angus beef roasted in horseradish leaves, mizuna greens with estate honey miso vinaigrette and local cheeses. This year, the finale food pairing is served in locally-made pottery that uses the soil from the Jordan garden. Available Thursday-Monday at 9:45 a.m., May-October. $125
One of several new wineries in Alexander Valley, Silver Oak Cellars recently completed construction on a state-of-the-art, green winery, tasting room and chef’s kitchen on Highway 128 in the heart of the region. While the tour of the LEED-certified winery and American oak barrel cellar is impressive, the Silver Oak Food & Wine Pairing is not to be missed. The experience begins with a tour of the tasting room, estate vineyard and culinary gardens and then moves on to the best part: four bites, like fried oysters or Liberty Farms duck leg confit, are prepared by chef Dominick Orsini and paired with current releases of Silver Oak and Twomey wines. Available Wednesday-Saturday at 11 a.m. $90
A true farm-to-fork experience, Chalk Hill’s Culinary Tour & Tasting starts with an amuse bouche and tour of the estate’s organically-farmed culinary garden. There, you’ll see the inspiration for the ensuing four-course, seating tasting set amongst panoramic views of the estate’s 1,300 stunning acres of vineyards and natural wilderness. A total collaboration between chef Dave Thater and Chalk Hill’s Master Sommelier, each dish is carefully crafted to complement the glass it’s matched with. Available Tuesday-Saturday at 10 a.m. $120/$96 club members.
DRY CREEK VALLEY
Italians have long mastered the art of food-friendly wines and Seghesio, founded pre-Prohibition by an Italian immigrant, proudly carries on the tradition. Offering a taste of Italy in California wine country, Seghesio’s Chef’s Table experience pairs Italian varietals, plus zinfandel, with four seasonal dishes. Some are even old family recipes, like sausage and spinach ravioli with chestnuts and grana padano. Available Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. by appointment. $80/$65 club members
Located in the heart of Dry Creek Valley, just across from the historic Dry Creek General Store, Amista is a small family winery that’s often overlooked. Visitors can enjoy chardonnays, zinfandels, syrahs and blends with bites and local cheeses in its Discovery Wine & Food Pairings experience. The menu features five canapés, each paired with a wine, such as salmon and creme fraiche with chardonnay and a zesty meatball with zinfandel. $50
Once a month, Lambert Bridge partners with a local Sonoma County chef and puts on their Chef’s Table Series. The visiting chefs, handpicked from popular restaurants like Valette, Brass Rabbit and Backyard, prepare a multi-course, seasonal menu to enjoy al fresco alongside Lambert Bridge current releases. $125/$95 club members
Located a block off the Healdsburg Square, Williamson Wines has something for everyone with an array of food and wine experiences to choose from. They’re best known for their complimentary Fridge Foods & Wine tasting—while most winery pairings aren’t home cook friendly, this offering demonstrates how wines can pair with the everyday foods you might find in your fridge. For $50, the Icon Wines & Culinary Delights tasting matches plates with Williamson’s finest, small production wines, while as its name suggests, the Rhône Wines & Savory Bites tasting ($65) dives into Rhône varietals like syrah, roussanne and grenache. If Bordeaux wines (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, etc.) are more your jam, the Meritage Tasting ($75) delivers.
RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
One of the only Sonoma wineries with food pairings served in an actual restaurant setting—and one of the first to implement a comprehensive wine and food program—the J Bubble Room plays host to an elegant, five-course meal complete with heavy-handed wine pairings (both sparkling and still). The menu changes every six weeks and wine pairings range from only one sparkling wine in the flight to several, so if you’re expecting bubbles with your lunch, call ahead to confirm. Courses may include delicacies, such as scallops with cauliflower romanesco, Liberty duck with Matsutake and smoked Eye of the Goat beans with avocado and crispy onions. Available Thursday-Sunday with seatings between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. $125/discounted pricing for club members
This glass-walled, modern farmhouse-meets-tasting lounge in the Russian River Valley is a Sonoma County favorite among design geeks. Only offered on Sundays, the Elevated Experience begins with a tour of the property, followed by a tasting of six wines—a mix of single-vineyard chardonnay and pinot noir from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. Pairings are simple but elegantly presented, from a caprese salad skewer to marinated nuts. This tasting is typically hosted in the MacRostie Estate House’s private room, which opens to a side terrace with beautiful views of hillside pinot noir vines. But if you prefer to dine al fresco, guests can request a table on the front terrace, overlooking MacRostie’s nascent, river-facing Thale’s Vineyard. Available Sundays at 11 a.m. $75
Of all the Sonoma wineries with food pairings, this one might be the most creative. When it comes to sushi, you’re likely thinking sake, but Dutton-Goldfield wins for most original Sonoma County experience with their Wine and Sushi Flight. Pairing single vineyard wines with an assortment of sushi rolls from Sebastopol’s Sushi Tozai, Dutton-Goldfield demonstrates wine’s flexibility to pair with all kinds of food. If you prefer cooked food, try the Beast & Pinot Tasting, offering a selection of their top pinot noirs with a lineup of local “beasts” from both land and sea. $40/ $20 club members
Rodney Strong’s five-course Vine to Table Experience features seasonal bites from winery chef Alejandro Garcia paired with five Rodney Strong wines. Between April and October, the food and wine pairing is hosted outside on the winery terrace, boasting umbrella-covered tables, lounge areas, a wood-fired oven and spacious tasting bar—all overlooking the winery’s back lawn (known for its summer concerts) and adjacent estate vineyard. You’ll also get to choose between tasting current releases or library vintages. Available Saturday and Sunday at 12 and 2:30 p.m. $70-90
The Wine & Food Pairing at Kendall-Jackson focuses on five of the estate’s small production and limited release wines—so, not just the chardonnay you see at every grocery store—and pairs them with sizeable plates, like beef short rib pasta and a mushroom and sunchoke soup, sourcing many ingredients straight from their sprawling, four-acre sensory gardens (which, you must explore before you leave). The Jackson Family Wines culinary team released a gorgeous, 288-page Wine Country cookbook in 2018, so trust they know what they’re doing. $55/$41.25 club members
Designed for a party of four (perhaps an occasion for a double date), Saralee’s Picnic Experience at La Crema isn’t your typical laid back affair on a patch of grass. This is like the glamping of picnics: Guests enjoy a formal seated wine tasting (either inside the gorgeous and refurbished historic barn or outside looking out at the vineyards) alongside a curated picnic basket of cheeses, prosciutto, artichoke and almond tapenade, and more. They even get to take the basket home as a souvenir. $150/$120 club members
Discover how local ingredients can change and enhance the flavors and textures in your glass when you book Arista’s Estate Experience. Start the day with a tour of Arista’s stunning, 36-acre property, including a guided walk with Executive Chef Timothy Kaulfers through the winery’s vegetable, fruit and herb garden. This experience culminates with a five-course food and wine journey at the intimate Estate Pavillion, which boasts views of Mt. St. Helena and sprawling Russian River Valley vineyards. Available Wednesday-Saturday at 12:30 p.m. $155
For the Lynmar Experience, executive chef David Frakes, who spent a decade in Napa Valley as executive chef at Beringer Vineyards, sources from the estate culinary gardens and prepares a three-course, farm-to-table lunch to pair with Lynmar wines (many of which are made from some of the oldest chardonnay and pinot noir vines planted in the Russian River Valley). The meal begins with a light starter, like warm organic popcorn matched with chardonnay, features two heartier plates, such as pan-roasted breast of Sonoma duck, and then culminates in a bonus dessert course. Offered Thursday-Sunday (April 19–November 3). $85/$75 wine club members
Renowned winemaker Paul Hobbs, who cut his teeth under none other than Robert Mondavi in the late 70s, offers a Vineyard Designate Experience that begins with a tour of the 12,000-square-foot winery and surrounding vineyards at his Howard Backen-designed Katherine Lindsay Estate in Sebastopol, which Hobbs named after his great grandmother. Guests then sit down for a tasting of six, highly-limited production and vineyard designate wines, paired with seasonal bites prepared by the winery chef. $145
Gloria Ferrer has built a strong reputation for its sparkling wines over the last three decades and doesn’t disappoint with stunning views of the Carneros wine region’s cascading hills from their expansive winery terrace and Vista Room. The winery offers a myriad of tasting experiences, but only two pair with food: Bubbles and Bites and A Taste of Spain. The sparkling wine experience ($60) begins with a tour and pairs four bites with four wines: three sparkling cuvées and one pinot noir. The Taste of Spain ($50) on the other hand, explores five Spanish wines, including a Cava, paired with tasty tapas. Available daily at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Wine club members receive a 20% discount.
The Mayo Family Reserve Room might just be the most robust of all the Sonoma wineries with food pairing experiences on this list, so come hungry. Take in views of Kenwood’s hillside vineyards while you work your way through seven courses—from a Dungeness crab croqueta to winter squash gratin—prepared by executive chef John Locher (who hails from The General’s Daughter and winery kitchens Beringer and Viansa) and his culinary team. You’ll also sip through seven single-vineyard wines, ranging from a roussanne to a pinot noir and even a late harvest gewürztraminer. The experience also comes at an incredible value, just $50. Available Thursday-Monday.
Settle into Three Sticks’ gorgeous, cozy and historic Vallejo-Castanada Adobe for a unique and cultural Food & Wine pairing. Located on the Sonoma Plaza, this building is the longest-occupied residence in Sonoma and is one of the few remaining from California’s Mexican Period. For the tasting, five wines are paired with five bites prepared by Chef Armando Garcia of nearby El Dorado Kitchen. They had us at a lobster corn dog paired with the Gap’s Crown Vineyard Chardonnay. Available Monday-Friday at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. $85
Pinot noir enthusiasts can’t skip the Root 101 Experience at WALT Wines. No car required, this 1,000-mile educational exploration of west coast pinot noir from Santa Barbara to Oregon’s Willamette Valley can be experienced right from their intimate Sonoma Plaza tasting room. Taste the distinct differences in terroir during a comparative tasting of six single vineyard pinots from varying regions, each paired with bites from Sonoma farm-to-table legend The Girl and The Fig, like duck rillettes with housemade fig jam and butternut squash ricotta cheesecake. $60/$40 wine club members
Scribe is where the cool kids go, and while hanging on their hilltop is a favorite pastime, their renovated 1850s Hacienda is even more magical. The Hacienda hosts the Mezze Experience—Mezze is a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dining tradition involving small plates and alcoholic drinks—for which Scribe’s culinary team sources their own produce and serves up light and farm-fresh dishes that you won’t feel guilty about later, like roasted winter vegetables with pistachio salsa and German Butterball potato salad. This is a casual experience and the plates aren’t paired with specific wines; just enjoy eating and sipping Scribe’s unique and forgotten varietals, like sylvander and riesling, at your leisure. Available Thursday-Monday. $60
It doesn’t get much more authentic than Marimar’s Tapas and Wine Pairing, which pairs four pinot noirs and chardonnays with four tapas that come straight out of proprietor Marimar Torres’ own published cookbooks. Torres came to California from Barcelona in 1975 to plant her Green Valley vineyard and is equally deft in the cellar and kitchen. She has carefully selected flavorful recipes that enhance, not distract from, the flavors in the wine, like Farcellets de Col (cabbage dumplings stuffed with pork, chorizo, pine nuts and raisins) and the sweet Higos Pasos Rellenos con Salsa de Chocolate (figs stuffed with chocolate and nuts in a chocolate sauce). The food pairing experience also comes with sprawling vineyard views from the Catalan-style terrace. $55
Known as the gateway winery to Sonoma from San Francisco and the Bay, Ram’s Gate Winery uses their in-house open kitchen as much as possible. You can simply add on a selection of five bites ($20) to their Vineyard Designate Tasting & Tour, or go bigger with the Seasonal Wine & Food Pairing ($130). This experience includes an in-depth tour of the estate and is designed around the wine—Ram’s Gate works with premium sites to craft a diverse line-up of small lot, single-vineyard pinots and chardonnays—as the culinary team thoughtfully creates a menu of five hyper-seasonal courses to enhance each glass, like mushroom linguini with braised oxtails. The next step up from that is The Chef’s Table ($250, by advanced reservation). Great for groups, this interactive experience takes place in the kitchen and includes six wine and food pairings. The Seasonal Wine and Food Pairing is available Thursday-Monday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Visit Patz & Hall’s cozy-chic Sonoma House and reserve the Salon Tasting, hosted in an intimate and private room. Enjoy six single vineyard chardonnays and pinot noirs, sourced from some of the best sites and growers around, like Dutton Ranch, Gap’s Crown and Hyde vineyards. The wines are paired with a selection of gourmet canapes, for example, Moroccan spiced lamb on sweet potato, topped with cranberry slaw. After the experience, make sure you take a few moments to walk around the idyllic grounds, which have views of their estate vineyards and the Mayacamas Mountains. Available Monday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m., and Friday-Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. $75
St. Francis Winery’s substantial, multi-course Wine & Food Pairing by Executive Chef Trevor Eliason is served in a private dining room off the back terrace, overlooking a lawn that opens to an experimental vineyard filled with almost a dozen different grapes. The experience, which has been named Best Restaurant in America by OpenTable more than once, includes five different varietal wines (from a chardonnay, zinfandel and a port for dessert) paired with five elevated, seasonal dishes, like Dungeness crab lumpia and duck confit trotter. Available Thursday-Monday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. $85/$68 wine club members
Pangloss works with local purveyors to create their Seasons in Sonoma food pairing, which matches a flight of three wines with small and seasonal bites, like County Line baby beets with pistachio, honey vinaigrette and spearmint in winter or spiced peach tartlet in summer. This tasting is available in the Lounge of their gorgeous, 4,000 sq. ft. Sonoma Plaza tasting room, housed in a 115-year-old building that has its original redwood and stone walls. $30-50
A true hidden gem crafting premium, small lot wines in Sonoma Valley, Hamel Family Wines’ Reserve Experience kicks off with a welcome glass of rosé and a guided tour of the estate vineyard, winery and caves, where you’ll get to taste a barrel sample of a future release of cabernet sauvignon. You’ll then relocate to Hamel’s stunningly-designed, private reserve room complete with velvet-backed chairs, a fireplace and vineyard views. Sit down to a four-course menu paired with Hamel’s Reserve Series wines, which include a sauvignon blanc, zinfandel, two cabernets plus a cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc blend. Offered daily at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. $125