Sonoma is well on its way to being as posh and packed as Napa Valley, which makes it more difficult to find intimate and personal experiences. But, believe us, they’re out there, and here are our favorites:
B. Wise Vineyards has a small, classy tasting room near downtown Sonoma, which we recommend. But, it’s the private winery tour that grabbed our attention. Way up in the hills (not far from Repris, and a highly recommended pairing for a day), B. Wise has the best “man caves” of any winery in Napa or Sonoma. These caves are separated into private rooms, one with an airplane hanging from the ceiling, and another great cave area that seems tailor-made for the gentleman from the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man” campaign. The views from outside the caves are spectacular and there is plenty for the fairer sex to enjoy. And don’t let the simple branding fool you, the wines are complex and bold.
Image courtesy of The Donum Estate
The Donum Estate offers private tastings that are specifically fashioned for each guest that range from hikes in the vineyard to food pairings to vineyard education. Like B. Wise and Repris, the views are breathtaking, the wines are hard to find, and the experience is casual yet classy. Farm buildings dot the landscape (paying pastoral homage to its days as a dairy farm) and give it a rustic feel. You get a tour of the vineyards, a taste of the wines, and as much information as you like about the land on which their world-class Pinot Noir grows.
Captûre Wines created a strong local following with prestigious awards and fantastic reviews from experts and newcomers alike. But what few know, is that Captûre also offers private vineyard tours with a tasting flight of their wines and killer views from 2,500 feet above Alexander Valley. It’s also worth noting that the Capture team is down-to-earth, friendly, and fun.
Image Courtesy of Paul Hobbs
There are plenty of other private gems in the hills, valleys and nooks of Sonoma County. A few to check out are Freeman Winery (meet the family experience), Paul Hobbs Lindsay House (super posh) and Copain (brand new).