Santa Rosa wineries – swirl, sip and taste your way through town

20 Jan

Santa Rosa has a bounty of wineries ready to pour you a taste – all within city limits or nearby. You can steal away for a quick tasting while here for shopping and errands, or plan a full-day Santa Rosa winetasting excursion. Either way, you’re sure to find welcoming wineries with knowledgeable staff, picturesque grounds, acclaimed varietals, and maybe a nosh, too.

Some of the options…

Paradise Ridge WineryParadise Ridge Winery, 4545 Thomas Lake Harris Drive: If you yearn for an exquisite view of a sunset, make your way to Paradise Ridge Winery. The breathtaking vistas from their veranda are a great backdrop for savoring their wines. Nestled on a scenic ridge in Santa Rosa, it’s a favorite, romantic, spot for weddings and events. Stroll through “Marijke’s Grove,” a distinctive outdoor sculpture gallery, and take a self-guided tour of the vineyard. Their tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Please call (707) 528-9463 for information.

Kendall-JacksonKendall-Jackson, 5007 Fulton Road: The winery is best known for turning Chardonnay into a trendy wine, starting with their first vintage in 1982. Since then, this family-owned winery has become a highly visible industry leader. The Kendall-Jackson Wine Center is located just off Highway 101 in north Santa Rosa. They offer several tasting options such as Wine and Cheese Pairing, Wine and Dessert Pairing and Reserve Wine and Food Pairing (by reservation); reserve wine tastings; and classic tastings. You can find out more about KJ wines by calling (866) 287-9818.

Also, a fun note: Kendall-Jackson’s president Rick Tigner, will be featured on an upcoming episode of “Undercover Boss” on CBS, airing January 29 at 8 p.m. Tune in to this entertaining show and watch Rick go undercover within the winery and out into the vineyards. You’ll be able to get a feel for the hard work that’s involved in the winemaking process, long before their popular wine adorns your table.

Matanzas Creek WineryMatanzas Creek Winery, 6097 Bennett Valley Road: The Matanzas Creek Winery estate showcases much more than wine. Its stunning gardens and mature lavender fields are a sight to see, especially at their peak in June, when a purple haze glows from the rows of perfectly manicured lavender hedges. The lavender is harvested and used as a key ingredient in luxury bath, body and home products (found only at their winery, on their website and at upscale boutiques and spas, such as La Carré Salon and Spa at Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel and Spa). The estate is a great place for a picnic and a romantic stroll. Visit their tasting room daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is needed.

Ledson Winery and Vineyards, 7335 Sonoma Highway: Rising from the majestic oaks and vineyards along Sonoma Highway and the base of Mount Hood stands Ledson Winery and Vineyards, a 16,000 square-foot French Normandy-style “castle.” The mammoth yet elegant structure serves as the winery’s visitor center, tasting room and event facility, and features a gourmet market, gift and clothing boutique, stunning gardens and picnic grounds for visitors. The winery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., when you can sample their award-winning wines and enjoy the grounds. For further information, please call (707) 537-3810.

St. Francis Winery and Vineyards, 100 Pythian Road (corner of Pythian and Highway 12): St. Francis Winery is named after St. Francis of Assisi, believed to have brought European grape cultivation to the “new world.” Since 1979, St. Francis Winery has been producing top quality Sonoma County wines. The winery’s visitor center features mission-style architecture and panoramic views of regal Mt. Hood. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump east of Ledson Winery, also off Highway 12. Stop in for a tasting 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

If you’re looking for a few suggestions on where to stay – to combine wine tasting with a relaxing getaway – please visit www.visitsantarosa.com/hotels for a complete listing of lodging options from luxury hotels, to budget-friendly accommodations, to bed and breakfast properties.

The wineries mentioned are only a few of more than 20 wineries in Santa Rosa. In the upcoming weeks, stay tuned for additional blogs about other Santa Rosa wineries, including those that comprise the Santa Rosa Wine Trail.

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