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Jul 17, 2008 06:55 AM

Wineries with good wine + picnic area

I just saw on the news this morning that the Gov. signed a bill allowing us to drink wine outside at winery picnic areas. Finally. So, what are your recommendations for wineries in Napa and Sonoma that would be a good spot for this? Who has good picnic wine AND a nice spot outside to enjoy a picnic (either tables or nice grounds or views to enjoy from a blanket).

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    1. We were breaking the law all these years?

      Hop Kiln has a beautiful picnic area. Most of their wines are so-so to my taste but the Thousand Flowers white blend is a nice picnic wine.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I'm not really clear what it means. The detailed and informative (not!) AP report says,

        " It allows winery patrons to consume wine on winery premises, and will be added to existing winery license privileges to give wineries the choice to pursue it as an option in their business plan.

        The bill also provides that cities and counties may restrict but not eliminate winery license privileges in a manner consistent with local land use authority."

        I'm quite positive consumers have been allowed to consume wine on winery premises in the past, and much of the limitation on picnicking has been by county ordinance anyway, so I don't know what this will change.

        For instance, it was probably illegal when my mom had a group of tasters who wanted to try another winery's wine, Ritchie Creek's Blaufrankisch, and my mom gave them a taste from a bottle she already happened to have open in the house. Ritchie Creek produces so little that I don't think they're pouring it, but luckily they do bring it to neighborhood tastings!

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Prior to its enactment, the bill's author, Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), said, "... current law is unclear about winery picnics when a bottle of wine from the tasting room goes into someoneĀ“s picnic basket."

          The change makes it explicitly legal, and also allows tasting rooms to sell wine by the glass.

        2. One of the best picnic spots is V. Sattui in St. Helena, however their wine is sub-par, so I wouldn't recommend it. Try either of the following:

          Rutherford Hill:


          Buena Vista

          1. I agree. V. Sattui has made a ton of money all these years on this picnic concept--surely it couldn't have been illegal?

            In Dry Creek, Bella and Preston have good picnic areas. Bella has good wine and a nice grassy area under the big olive trees. Preston's wines are a notch lower. But Preston has fresh bread and a garden. Wilson has picnic tables as well, from what I recall.

            Further south, Lynmar has some nice wines and a really nice patio area with a garden and fruit trees. (and grape vines). Great new facility there, which we were surprised to find has been open for two or three years now.

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