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Jul 3, 2009 09:32 AM

East Coaster Looking for Good Private Guide to Help Tour Sonoma Wineries


Taking a trip to SF in late July / early August. I am a huge fan of Sonoma Wines (especially Sonoma Coast Pinot's)... I am looking for recommendations for a great private guided day tour of some wineries in Sonoma. Anyone know of anyone good?


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  1. I'm in DC but had a nice gift of a tour of St. Supery after a night in Sonoma. Still one of our faves. Cline is down the road from there and we love their wines, too. Didn't stop at Clines, though, since after SS, we stopped at Mumm to see a friend and after both of those, were ready to get back to SF.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      Note that neither St Supery nor Mumm are in Sonoma County.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        My bad. I only know we were given a wonderful week of decadence for a honeymoon. On top of a week at Hotel Monaco in SF, we had a night at a resort in Sonoma, followed by the Mumm and St. Supery visits. Just wanted to add what I could.

    2. Try this link:
      This is a very small company. I have heard really great things about Bruce's knowledge of wines and small wineries that produce superior product. He will do a custom tour designed to fit your particular interest, is very personable, and lives locally.

      1. not on the map,, great sc pinot noirs and memorable napa cabs. in sonoma county. Cheers

        1. Sorry I don't know of a guide to help you....But one thing to keep in mind is that there are few wineries actually located in the appellation of Sonoma Coast - mostly there are just vineyards. The wines from there are mostly made by wineries located elsewhere in Sonoma County and even farther out (Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Tandem, Gary Farrell, Kosta Browne, Williams Selyem etc.) Sadly the latter two are not open to the public at all- perhaps a very connected guide could get you in but doubtful, they have no staff to entertain visitors really.

          FYI Marimar Torres, in Green Valley (a sub-region of the Russian River), makes a charming SC PN and they do a lovely tapas and wine pairing at their little estate winery near Forestville, I was there the other day and highly recommend it. Also, on your way out to the coast, Rochioli, Gary Farrell and Moshin Vineyards all have tasting rooms on Westside Road with lovely RR Pinots.

          1 Reply
          1. re: originalfig

            Further to originalfig's good advice, I'll add that wineries "open to the public," with staff to entertain visitors, are by far the exception rather than the rule, in my experience visiting wine regions around US and Europe. Including some important but less-publicized California AVAs including Santa Cruz Mountains and the El Dorado - Amador County continuum. Most high-quality wineries, worldwide, are small family businesses without the resources for dedicated tasting rooms or staff. It happens that the Napa Valley and vicinity built up a large tourist industry, including magazine articles and TV features, and some of its well-known properties have had deep pockets behind them since about the 1980s, but this all sometimes leads visitors to assume it's typical of winemaking regions, whereas in some of them it's almost unheard-of.

            That said, many wineries "closed to the public" welcome appointments from serious customers who follow or are knowledgeable about their wines (not just looking for a pleasant place to drink some wine). That's how it was even in much of the Napa Valley, before the big corporate investments a couple decades ago -- winemakers might personally welcome and taste with visitors who made the trek to a favorite winery the public mostly hadn't heard of. A polite letter, phone call, etc. might arrange a winery appointment, and as originalfig mentioned, personnel with local connections can greatly help.

          2. Shoulda thought of this before, but I'll check with my friend whose Mom works at Mumm. They might know.