From full luxury estates to intimate tasting rooms, these family-owned destinations would be pleased to pour you some vino.
Hamel Family Wines(Sonoma)
Hamel Family Wines is a big, shiny space including a 6,875-square-foot Estate House, a 7,500-square-foot winery, and 12,000-square-feet of caves on 124 total acres. Crisp, contemporary, and quite posh, there’s still some room for whimsy, so be sure to ask about the badger theme décor.
To drink: Zinfandel, Isthmus (a Bordeaux-inspired red wine blend).
Open last November, the tasting room is set in a historic barn, artfully renovated by celebrity architect Howard Backen and surrounded by a patio, fire pits, restored antique tractors, and a set of caves. The family-owned operation produces two labels – Windmill Valley Vineyards (named for a real windmill which pumps water to the grapes in the hot months), and Hungry Blonde (guesses welcome).
What to drink: Hungry Blonde Viognier, Windmill Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Landa Vineyards (Sonoma)
This family-owned, by-appointment-only estate winery focuses on Rhone varietals, using grapes from their vineyards at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains. There’s history here, too—General Vallejo's daughter lived in the pre-1900s farmhouse on-site, and the foundation of the original pre-Prohibition winery, dug into the hillside, still remains.
What to drink: Syrah
Bennett Valley Cellars (Sonoma)
Set just off Sonoma Plaza, the new tasting room features estate wines using grapes from the 40-acre mother ship in Bennett Valley. A stark white palette gets pizazz from bright orange hanging lamps, and eclectic artwork.
To drink: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Thorn Hill Vineyards(St. Helena)
Winemaker Amy Thorn and her husband Jack Thorn have spent most of their vintner careers growing grapes on their estate in Lake County, sourcing grapes from Sonoma and Napa counties, making wine at production facilities in Napa and in Healdsburg, and running it all out of headquarters in Pennsylvania. Now, the two have opened a tasting room on Main Street in St. Helena, trimmed in wood and stone and offering small bites. But to keep things less confusing, the St. Helena tasting room features only Thorn Hill Vineyards wines that are made from Napa Valley grapes.
What to drink: Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Chardonnay