Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jun 18, 2012 05:02 PM

Special winery in Sonoma for Anniversary celebration

We will be visiting the Sonoma area for the 3rd time in a few weeks. Our 2nd anniversary is July 4th and having been to the area before I am looking for that one special place we could spend a few hours on that day. We will be in the Russian River Valley area as well as closer to downtown Sonoma. Driving is not a problem. Basically looking for a smaller (maybe family owned) winery that can either do a special tasting that is not touristy and will focus on us. We love pinot noir, sparkling, and my husband loves Zin.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hanzell just at the edge of Sonoma town does individual tastings on appointment only. However they only produce pinot noir and chard but you would get individual attention and unique setting
    They are quite small production also

    9 Replies
    1. re: sonomajom

      I checked that out and they look awesome. Would there be a place that you recommend for maybe a food/wine pairing experience?

      1. re: lborr530

        I really enjoyed the Mayo Reserve Room food/wine pairing when I visited a couple of years ago. The pairings were well thought out.

        It was $25/pp then, the web site does not list the current price. Although it is described as 7 courses, each course is an hors d'oeuvre size of two or three bites. This is not a full meal, maybe a light lunch for some, or a mid afternoon snack before a later dinner.

        1. re: pamf

          This is a wonderful experience. They really do a nice job of pairing their wines and the chef 's choices. I would reserve soon and if you an avoid a weekend, do so. Contact them ASAP.

          1. re: Bruce in SLO

            Thank you for all the help. Bruce...which experience are you referring to? Mayo?

            1. re: lborr530

              Was just there yesterday. Chef Clayton did an excellent job of pairing some very nice wines and really tasty little bites. I would recommend it.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                Glad you enjoyed it. What is the current price?

        2. re: lborr530

          Lynmar offers food/wine pairings, and they have a very pretty patio and grounds. While not usually crowded, you wouldn't feel secluded and/or alone. Though there may be a part of the property they'd be willing to open up, so it doesn't hurt to ask.

          1. re: goldangl95

            +1 on Lynmar. Better wines and prettier setting than Mayo.

      2. The newly redone Ram's Gate sounds like it might be worth looking into - they do a special course of food and wine sit-down pairings, it's quite beautiful there, very pastoral and well laid-out. The short time we spent there was pretty great, and I would love to go back and try the whole food and wine thing.


        1. LBorr.......since you love pinot and zinfandel, I would hate to see you not take advantage of the Russian River Valley, which is a truly world class growing area for those two varietals. I think you should investigate Woodenhead, Scherrer, and Radio-Coteau. You will have to call both Radio-Coteau and Scherrer to make an appointment, but you will have to do that anyway since you are working around the July 4th holiday and some places that would normally be open will be closed. Another place to visit is Rochioli, as it is historic, and while it can be difficult to buy wines at their tasting room, it is worth a drop-by just to see the vines that spread out from the tasting room. Rochioli's vineyards would be "gran crus" if we classified things that way in California. Don't miss out on "west county" (RRV), as it is much superior to anything you will find near the town of Sonoma.

          5 Replies
          1. re: pinotho

            This is not necessarily true. While it is easier to find good quality Pinot in RRV, there are places that have good quality Pinot with tasting rooms located near the town of Sonoma including Hanzell (mentioned upthread), Sojourn, Etude, and others.

            1. re: goldangl95

              Goldang- we will be trying to go to Sojourn and a few others in the area. I checked into Hanzell, but didn't feel paying the money for the tour, even though the wines are supposed to be great. I am really looking into Ram's Gate for their wine/food pairing as well.

            2. re: pinotho

              Well we are actually going to be going to both areas. I already have Woodenhead and Scherrer on my list as well as Rochioli. One of ou favorites is Gary Farrell. I also have Moshin, Lynmar, Joseph Swan, and Dutton Goldfield as some others to visit.

              1. re: pinotho

                Pinotho- Would you mind taking a look at my list for RRV wineries. I am sure we cannot get to all of them, but just let me know if there are any you would add or delete...Thanks!

                Porter creek-
                Joseph Swan-
                Gary Farrell-
                J vineyards-
                Scherrer Winery-
                Iron Horse-
                Dutton goldfield-

                1. re: lborr530

                  LBorr......happy to......from your list:
                  and I would add Radio-Coteau, and Dehlinger would definitely be on anyone's list. I didn't mention Dehlinger before, because it can be difficult. But if you have ever bought wine from them, meaning you are on their mailing list, you might could score an appointment. But Tom Dehlinger's wines are so good that you should try even against long odds. All they can say is no, and at least they are polite about it. Ask for Carmen Dehlinger. Oh yeah, if you make it to Papapietro-Perry, be sure to check and see if Ant Hill Winery is still sharing their premises. If so, you might get to taste two different wineries at the same location.