Cheese and Wine Tasting at Sonoma Wineries – Top 30 Experiences Revealed
Cheese and wine tasting has been a pastime for food enthusiasts forever, but although these two mates are close friends, not all fromage pairs perfectly with all fruits de la vigne. An increasing number of Sonoma wineries have added cheese and wine pairings to their tasting experiences, informing guests on which cheeses best complement their wines.
Here’s our ever-evolving travel guide of the top 30+ Sonoma wineries for wine and cheese pairing tours and tastings, updated in May 2018 and organized by wine region. Listed prices are per person or cheese plate, and tasting times vary by winery. Reservations are required or recommended unless noted otherwise, so please plan ahead. If your favorite Sonoma cheese and wine tasting isn’t here, please leave a comment!
CHEESE AND WINE TASTING IN ALEXANDER VALLEY
Founded in the 1960s by the Wetzel family, Alexander Valley Vineyards matches its flagship Bordeaux-style red blend, Cyrus, and three other, top-tier wines with local cheeses in a tasting on the deck, overlooking the vineyards. Their cabernet franc wine is a not miss. $25
8644 Highway 128, Healdsburg, CA, 800-888-7209, avvwine.com
Because the Chalk Hill appellation is home to just four wineries, we’ve included Chalk Hill in neighboring Alexander Valley, only a few miles away. The Chairman’s Reserve Tasting at Chalk Hill Estate includes a guided drive through the estate vineyard and tour of the winery, concluding with a seated cheese and wine tasting of four reserve wines and four cheeses. The pairing is served indoors or outside on a hilltop terrace, weather permitting. $65
10300 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg, CA, 707-657-4837, chalkhill.com
Hanna’s Wine & Cheese Pairing on the Veranda is a seated experience with expansive views of southern Alexander Valley. Local cheeses are paired with Hanna’s Flagship, Reserve and Bismark tier wines. $35
9280 Highway 128, Healdsburg, CA, 707-431-4310, hannawinery.com
Conveniently located next door to the funky, stop-worthy Jimtown Store, Hawkes offers a Barrel Room Tasting of six wines that includes library, current release and barrel samples, served with local cheeses, Hawkes olive oil and charcuterie fixings; or choose the Vineyard Tasting, where three cabernets, a chardonnay and a merlot are all served with a cheese board, olive oil and accoutrements. $45
6734 Highway 128, Healdsburg, CA, 707-433-4295, hawkeswine.com
Wine and food pairings have been central to the Jordan experience since its founding in the 1970s. Executive Chef Todd Knoll selects cheeses every year for the winery’s fromage plate, pairing them specific vintages of young and older cabernet sauvignons. As the finale to all three Tours & Tastings at Jordan, after a food pairing with Jordan Chardonnay, four cheeses are served with Jordan olive oil, homemade membrillo and multiple cabernets—presented either in a hidden Cellar Room at the French-inspired chateau for Winery Tours & Library Tastings or in a glass-walled pavilion with hilltop views of three wine valleys on the Estate Tour & Tasting. $30-$120
1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA, 800-654-1213, jordanwinery.com
Medlock Ames offers an Artisan Cheese and Wine tasting of five wines and four local cheeses, topped with estate marmalade and jam. The pairing can be enjoyed inside or outside on the porch overlooking the bar’s garden and bocce court. Walk-ins are welcome, space permitting. $20
3487 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA, 707-431-8845, medlockames.com
CHEESE AND WINE TASTING IN DRY CREEK VALLEY
Situated near the end of Dry Creek Valley’s main road, Ferrari-Carano’s Italian villa houses a downstairs tasting salon called the “Enoteca.” The Enoteca tasting menu includes a Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Perfectly Paired experience, matching five cheeses and five chocolates with five Ferrari-Carano wines. $50
8761 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA, 800-831-0381, ferrari-carano.com
Eric Flanagan and his family revamped this tiny winery in the hills above Dry Creek Valley, creating a tasting salon with by-appointment educational tastings. Their cheese and wine tasting features four wines paired with offerings from a different regional creamery each month. All tastings are private and hosted either indoors or on a lovely stone patio with sweeping views. $40
435 W. Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA , 707-723-8800, flanaganwines.com
The winery’s tasting room offers to two locations for a private cheese and wine tasting—the Redwood Barrel Room featuring the Bordeaux Flight (five wines) and a secluded cave where the Cellar Flight (six wines) is hosted. Each wine is partnered with a specific local cheese, accompanied by dried fruit and nuts. $40-$60
4085 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA, 707-431-9600, lambertbridge.com
The Pinot on the Patio experience showcases five single-vineyard and appellation-designated pinot noirs, each paired with a different California craft cheese, dried fruit and crackers. The patio overlooks the gorgeous Dry Creek Valley and its gnarly zinfandel vineyards. $45
4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA, 707-433-0422, papapietroperry.com
Sbragia’s guided Comparison Tasting allows guests to compare and contrast wines made from various Sonoma and Napa appellations. Cheese plates can be purchased separately. Appointments required. $40
9990 Dry Creek Road, Geyserville, CA, 707-473-2992, sbragia.com
CHEESE AND WINE TASTING IN RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
To indulge in all things Sonoma, add a local-cheese board to a tasting of the winery’s bubblies, rosés, chardonnays, pinot noirs and Rhone-style blends. Bread from Healdsburg’s Costeaux French Bakery accompany the cheeses. $35 per plate, serves two.
52 Front Street, Healdsburg, CA, 707-433-3858, davisfamilyvineyards.com
The Estate Tour & Tasting and the Taste of France Experience at Jean-Charles Boisset’s Russian River Valley winery, pairs cheeses with estate-grown chardonnays and pinot noirs, and in some cases, their French counterparts. $50 for each experience.
1791 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa, CA, 707-755-3300, deloachvineyards.com
Grapegrower Steve Dutton and winemaker Dan Goldfield offer a half-dozen tasting experiences at their indoor-outdoor tasting room off Highway 116. The seated Wine and Cheese Flight is offered at high tables by the window inside or on its succulent-accented patio. The tasting includes five limited-production wines, among them chardonnay, gewürztraminer and pinot noir, and five local cheeses. $30
3100 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA, 707-823-3887, duttongoldfield.com
A maker of chardonnay and pinot noir, this Russian River Valley winery pairs its wines with local artisan cheeses, dried cherries and almonds. $30
7602 Occidental Road, Sebastopol, CA, 800-931-2906, fogcrestvineyard.com
Their Exploration Tour & Tasting includes a guided winery tour, followed by a cheese and wine pairing with cool-climate chardonnays and pinot noirs with a different cheese to compliment the unique flavor and structure profile of each of the wines. The wines and cheeses are always changing, so each visit is a unique experience. Tight on time? The Elevation Tasting includes just the wine and cheese pairing and lasts only 60 minutes. $35-$55
10701 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA, 707-473-2909, garyfarrellwinery.com
The downtown Healdsburg tasting room for this producer of high-end chardonnays, pinot noirs and zinfandels from the Russian River Valley offers a wine and local artisan cheese pairing in its Salon. $45
331 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA, 707-887-8031, hartfordwines.com
Now owned by E&J Gallo Corporation, J offers an artisan cheese pairing for an additional fee when you book the Legacy Tasting, a seated tasting hosted in the Legacy Lounge upstairs or on J’s shaded terrace. Guests choose from a flight of still or sparkling wines. $35 for the tasting; $25 for the cheese pairing.
11447 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, CA, 707-431-5430, jwine.com
This well-known wine producer has made intimate food and wine pairing a big part of its visitor center, located just north of Santa Rosa. The Wine & Cheese Pairing couples six wines with six cheeses from Sonoma and Marin counties. $30
5007 Fulton Road, Fulton, CA, 707-567-3810, kj.com
In their Wine and Cheese Exploration session, learn about the fundamentals of wine and cheese pairing while enjoying local artisan cheeses matched with La Crema wines. Though the town of Healdsburg intersects with three wine regions, we’ve placed the La Crema Tasting Room under Russian River Valley, home to its winemaking facility. $35
235 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA, 707-431-9400, lacrema.com
Two private tastings with this top-flight producer of chardonnay, pinot noir, zinfandel and syrah are accompanied by cheese plates: The Collector’s Flight of high-scoring, limited-production wines ($75) and the Baler Bar Tasting of vineyard-designate bottlings ($40).
3360 River Road, Windsor, CA, 800-346-1627, martinelliwinery.com
Reserve one of the manicured croquet courts, purchase wine and an artisan cheese board, and spend a sporty two hours rattling the wickets for a party of up to eight. $10 per person to play; cheese boards $19-$39.
4401 Slusser Road, Windsor, CA, 707-237-3489, sonomacutrer.com
Enjoy a seated tasting of Twomey wines on the back patio, complemented by local cheeses and charcuterie. Choose from one of three tastings and add $15 per person to the tasting fee for the food accompaniments.
3000 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA, 707-942-7122, twomey.com
CHEESE AND WINE TASTING IN SONOMA VALLEY
The former owner of Viansa Winery opened this bright tasting salon on the historic Sonoma square in 2015, which offers the Sonoma Cheese Experience—an educational cheese and wine tasting tour through Sonoma County appellation wines matched with six local cheeses. $40
103 West Napa Street, Sonoma, CA, 707-931-6141, corner103.com
Enjoy this Spanish-owned winery’s sparkling wines, chardonnays and pinot noirs in the contemporary tasting room or expansive outdoor patio. Cheese plates are available for purchase. The aged Royal Cuvee bubbly is not to be missed.
23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA, 707-933-1917, gloriaferrer.com
The oldest family winery in California, Gundlach Bundschu offers two tastings with select cheeses. A tasting flight of five wines is hosted in its Vista Courtyard with à la carte cheese boards available exclusively to flight tasters. Or guests can opt for the private Rhinefarm Estate Tasting, featuring five wines paired with cheeses, hosted in the Bundschu family bungalow. $30-50
2000 Denmark Street, Sonoma, CA, 707-938-5277, gunbun.com
This century-old Sonoma Valley vintner takes advantage of a peaceful pond next its tasting room with the Kinneybrook Tasting—a private, seated experience hosted either inside the Kinneybrook Room or on its waterfront patio—featuring a cheese and wine tasting with six Reserve series wines and three local cheeses. $30
9825 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA, 707-282-1537, kunde.com
The patio tasting at Lake Sonoma Winery includes regional cheeses, charcuterie and other accompaniments, matched to five wines chosen from the winery’s wide range of varietals. $30
134 Church Street, Sonoma, CA, 707-721-1979, lakesonomawinery.com
John Lasseter (of Pixar fame) and his wife, Nancy, welcome visitors to their estate to tour the vineyards and taste their white, red and rosé blends, paired with local cheeses. $45
One Vintage Lane, Glen Ellen, CA, 707-933-2800, lasseterfamilywinery.com
The 2015 renovation of the historic Hotz building on Sonoma’s square created the Pangloss Cellars Tasting Lounge. The Cellar Experience is a private, focused tasting hosted in one of the stone-walled enclaves, in which each guest is served a cheese and charcuterie plate with the wines. $35
35 E. Napa Street, Sonoma, CA, 707-933-8565, panglosscellars.com
A plate of local cheeses, which serves two, can be added to any tasting at this superstar Sonoma Valley zinfandel maker. Enjoy the wines and cheeses, along with a gorgeous view, in their outdoor lounge. $25 per plate.
18701 Gehricke Road, Sonoma, CA, 707-933-2332, ravenswoodwinery.com
Known for a food and wine experience that can amount to a full meal, this Sonoma Valley producer also offers a less ambitious tasting of Artisan Collection wines and local cheeses, served on its terrace overlooking the estate vineyard when weather permits. Walk-ins welcome. $25