Wine may be the way of life in Napa and Sonoma counties, but on gorgeous country days, an indoor cellar or tasting room doesn't always feel like the place to be.
For the best of both worlds, we fancy a sip surrounded by cypress trees and rolling vineyards. Here are five wineries with patios perfect for al fresco swishing and swirling.
The winery's ivy-clad facade is just the first hint that nature plays a starring role in Cosentino's tasting experience. Constructed in 2015, the new patio promises plush seating, water features, and a large stone hearth, all just begging us to settle in for a customizable flight ($30/person) of four distinct wines composed of grapes grown in Lodi, just north of Stockton. Food pairings here are simple but just right: fresh fruit, Marcona almonds, locally made cheeses, and salumi. Head up on Friday evenings through mid-October) for EntWined Evenings, ticketed themed events that include wine and tapas. // 10am to 6pm daily;7415 Saint Helena Highway (Napa), cosentinowinery.com
Fireside tastings are available at Provenance Vineyards(Courtesy of heritagewinetrail.com)
In addition to the winery's commitment to sustainability and its reputation for limited-edition Bordeaux-style wines, we like Provenance for its modern patio scene with comfy sofas and a contemporary fire pit. This is a great spot for both couples and groups of friends to share a glass on sunny weekends. // 10am to 5pm daily; 1695 Saint Helena Highway South (Rutherford) provenancevineyards.com
Perfectly pruned Cypress trees set a regal vibe a Clos Pegase.(Courtesy of Clos Pegase)
Fancy pants wine connoisseurs with a taste for the European will want to make reservations for tastings in the Cypress-lined courtyard garden at Clos Pegase, just outside Calistoga. During warmer months, opt for a mineraly sauv blanc; but you might also sip on a decadent Port or late-harvest chardonnay. // 10:30am to 5pm daily; 1060 Dunaweal Ln. (Calistoga), clospegase.com
Wood-fired pizzas and sweeping Wine Country views are a draw at Viansa Sonoma.(Courtesy of touringandtasting.com)
There are few vinyards in Napa or Sonoma that maximize their bucolic surrounds quite like Viansa, where the terrace—with its sweeping views of Sonoma Valley, San Pablo Bay, and the Mayacamas Mountains, as well as a gourmet marketplace serving wood-fired pies—is only the beginnning. Drop-ins are welcome, but reserations will take your al fresco tasting to a totally different level: Book a 90-minute private hillside Outlook Tasting ($75/person), complete with local cheese pairings; or, if time is of the essence, the 45-minute Summit Tour and Tasting ($25/person) accommodates up to 12 guests. // 10am to 5pm daily (reservations required for groups larger than six); 25200 Arnold Dr. (Sonoma), viansa.com
Lush greenery surrounds Gundlach-Bundschu Winery in Napa.(Courtesy of jesserodriguez.net)
Even more rare than a patio tasting in Wine Country is a tasting set to DJ beats. For a fully chill vibe, go for a tasting ($30/person) of the peppery-savory cabernet Franc or a lush-and-chewy tempranillo in the Vista Courtyard, where olive trees provide a bit of shade, there are views of the pond, and you just might find DJ Golden Gram mixing things up. Food pairings are available, and reservations are recommended during the summer. Also look out for the winery's concert series. // 11am to 5:30pm, courtyard open May through Oct.; 2000 Denmark St. (Sonoma), gunbun.com