Top Healdsburg wineries to visit

Located at the center of three diverse Sonoma County wine regions—Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley—Healdsburg has it all: cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, old vine Zinfandel, world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, and views abound. Here are eight great wineries to visit in Sonoma County’s Healdsburg.

Top Healdsburg wineries to visit

Jordan Winery

A taste of Bordeaux and Burgundy in Healdsburg, Jordan Winery makes just two wines at their ivy-clad, French-inspired chateau: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay made in an old-world style that focuses on approachability and food friendliness. Pioneers in Sonoma County hospitality, their sprawling, 1,200-acre estate is known for hosting exclusive and educational experiences and events throughout the year, including picnics, vineyard hikes, and food pairings sourced right from the estate gardens.

For the full experience, book the three-hour Estate Tour & Tasting; you’ll board a luxe, Mercedes Sprinter van and make several stops for wine and food in the vineyards, gardens, and atop a 650 ft. vista.

J Vineyards

A sparkling wine house in the Russian River Valley, J Vineyards built their reputation on the traditional method, cool climate sparklings they’ve made for the last 30 years, but they’ve also expanded their portfolio to include red and white still wines.

If you have time, make a reservation at the J Bubble Room, an elegant restaurant setting that hosts five-course, seasonal food and wine pairings Thursday-Sunday. You won’t need dinner afterward.

Gary Farrell Winery

Longtime producers of the Russian River Valley, Gary Farrell produces authentic and classic expressions of the red-wooded, cool-climate region through their single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Drive over the old school truss bridge on the historic Westside Road and then up to their contemporary new tasting room, which is just as stunning as the valley views it showcases through floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Inspiration Tasting is an in-depth exploration into Russian River Pinot Noir—including a deep dive into soils and microclimates—and comes with artisan cheese pairings.

Arista

This small, family winery run by two brothers cuts no corners in the vineyard or cellar when it comes to quality. Their focus is on crafting small lots of distinctive Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays sourced from top vineyards throughout the Russian River Valley. Studded with elderly, grandiose oaks, Arista’s lush and sprawling 36-acre estate feels completely removed from civilization.

Book the Taste of Terroir Experience, which takes place in a small vineyard house set next to the fruit and vegetable gardens where the executive chef (literally) pulls inspiration for seasonal wine pairings. At $65, it’s a steal.

Ferrari-Carano

This Dry Creek Valley estate is one of the most beautiful in all of California wine country. With 19 estate vineyards, the wines here run the gamut, from Alexander Valley Cabernet and Russian River Chardonnay to Italian varietals and a line of sweet dessert wines. But the main event here is the exquisite wine gardens. Meander through Ferrari-Carano’s five acres of Italian and French-style gardens complete with geometric hedges, grand fountains, more than 2,000 species of trees and shrubs, and a flood of color that stems from the 10,000 tulips and daffodils blooming every spring.

Ferrari Carano

Ferrari-Carano. Credit: Ferrari-Carano

Silver Oak Cellars

Napa Valley’s venerable Silver Oak Cellars opened a Sonoma-based property, anchored by a modern, glass-walled barn, in Alexander Valley in 2018. Visitors can’t skip a tour of the immaculate, state-of-the-art, and uber-sustainable production facility (featuring 2,500 rooftop solar panels), which was solely and meticulously designed for the premium production of Silver Oak’s prized Cabernet Sauvignon—though they also pour wines from their sister brand, Twomey.

If you have time to stay a while, book the four-course Wine and Food Pairing with Tour, which pairs four wines with delectable dishes prepared by the winery chef, like Dungeness Crab Arancini.

Chalk Hill Estate Winery

The isolated (in a good way) Chalk Hill Estate resides within its own Russian River sub-AVA, Chalk Hill, named for its white chalky soils. While they’re best known for Chardonnay, Chalk Hill produces a wide range of whites and reds.

The Culinary Tour & Tasting takes guests aboard a Hummer for a bumpy exploration of the massive 1,400-acre estate. A natural amphitheater in the Sonoma hills, it contains 300 acres of vineyards—a patchwork of 60 distinct plots—1,000 acres of natural wilderness, four acres of organic culinary gardens, ponds, a hospitality center, horse stables, equestrian pavilion, and more. Afterward, sit down for more panoramic views in a glass pavilion and a multi-course, gourmet meal sourced from the winery gardens.

Passalacqua Winery

Lovers of the great outdoors will appreciate Passalacqua’s free-spirited “wine for the wild” philosophy. This family carries on five generations of traditions of growing, foraging, and hunting for their own food, plus has been growing grapes in Healdsburg as far back as the 1860s. Their 300-acre Dry Creek ranch was purchased back in 1979 and was planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, but they also source from other nearby vineyards to produce Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and some unusual varietals you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in California, like Valdiguie and Fiano. Keeping on theme, all Passalacqua tastings take place outside (weather permitting).

The Taste, Pick, and Picnic experience begins with a private reserve tasting on the deck overlooking their estate Cabernet vineyards, followed by a leisurely picnic in the gardens with more wine and a curated selection of treats from local purveyors.


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