A Guide to Family Friendly Wineries in Sonoma County

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For parents, wine country all too often becomes whine country. It’s no secret that watching a bunch of grown-ups tasting and discussing wine is not on any kid’s must-do list. But the following wineries offer so many fun alternatives, that the little ones will end up smiling during their visit, just as much as their parents are.

Make a Splash

Image Source: Yelp

Francis Ford Coppola Winery
300 Via Archimedes
Geyserville, CA 95441
(707) 857-1471
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 500 reviews
Reservations: Required for pool cabines

Director Francis Ford Coppola used to visit area wineries and see little kids eyeing the fountains, begging their parents to let them get inside. He decided he would build his own dream winery someday, and that it would include a swimming pool. The result is the fun and family-friendly Coppola Winery, complete with two pools, bocce ball courts, and a convenient restaurant with seating out by the pool (the pools close for winter).

Indoors, there’s cool memorabilia from Coppola films, such as Don Corleone’s desk from The Godfather, and the original automobile from Tucker: The Man and His Dream. While the kids stare mesmerized by the surroundings, adults can try the delicious wines produced on-site.

Insider tip: Rent a poolside cabine for the day for your own private changing area and shower.

Roam Through a Sculpture Garden

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Paradise Ridge Winery
4545 Thomas Lake Harris Dr
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
(707) 528-9463
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, ?103 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Paradise Ridge offers one of the best places for kids—or anyone—to experience art. Instead of telling your children to hush-hush and keep their hands behind their backs at a museum, tell them to run off and explore the pieces found in the winery’s four-acre sculpture garden. Some sculptures are nestled among the gnarled oak trees, while others are out in the grassy clearings. Everything is connected with simple footpaths to roam about on.

Next to the grove, by the winemaking building, is yet another art garden with more sculptures. Once inside the tasting room, view the bar; master craftsman David Marks spent over 300 hours creating the inlaid design of a grapevines using seven different types of exotic woods. As if that’s not enough beauty and wonder to take in, Paradise Ridge offers lovely, panoramic views.

Insider tip: The popular Wednesday Evening Wines & Sunsets take place from May through mid-October. Enjoy wonderful wines, live music, and incredible sunsets from the winery’s expansive veranda and terrace.

View Scale Models of California Missions

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Cline Cellars
24737 Arnold Dr
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 940-4000
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 280 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Each year, over 4,000 schoolchildren visit Cline Winery to see the California Missions Museum, built specifically to house the 21 scale models shown at the 1939 World’s Fair at Treasure Island. The models were constructed by a team of German cabinetmakers under the direction of Italian artist Leon Bayard de Volo, and all are faithful representations of the original missions.

The project took two years, just to research. Kids can also feed the carp in the pond, watch the birds in the aviary, and smell as many of the 5,000 rose bushes as they can get to.

Insider tip: Not only are the museum and other kid-friendly attractions free, but the winery also knows how to treat their adult guests, offering complimentary tastings of five Rhone-style wines.

Take an Open-Air Tram Ride

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Benziger Family Winery
1883 London Ranch Rd.
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
(888) 490-2739
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 441 reviews

The highlight for kids is the open-air tram ride that takes visitors for a tour through the vineyard and the wine caves. Benziger Family Winery is a leader in biodynamic farming, so they have several interesting, educational environmental exhibits.

There are plaques, by the pond at the parking lot, explaining biodynamic farming, and the frogs perched on the lily pads, in the pond, always seem to draw a group of curious kids around them. Up the hill, there’s an “insectary” where you can learn about beneficial bugs.

Insider tip: Locals and visitors consistently vote the Benziger Tram Tour as one of the best wine tours in the county.

Great Family Vibe

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Larson Family Winery
23355 Millerick Rd
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 938-3031
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 94 reviews
Reservations: Required

This winery still retains the down-home, cowboy vibe it had back when this site was the largest rodeo ranch in Northern California (the champion racehorse Seabiscuit once trained here). Larson is family-owned and relaxed, and they’re pet-friendly as well as kid-friendly.

Families can kick back on the large, green lawn and have a picnic or play at the bocce ball court and horseshoe pit. Kids have a great time watching the horses and goats and other farm animals, and don’t be surprised if the very sweet and friendly family dogs come over to greet you.

Insider tip: Try to popular Three Lab Cab, named after the dogs.

Free Horse Drawn Carriage Tour

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Landmark Vineyards
101 Adobe Canyon Rd
Kenwood, CA 95452
(707) 833-0053
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 51 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Kids love the complimentary horse drawn carriage tour of the winery, led by third-generation Sonoma Valley farmer Pat Prather, who enjoys educating folks about estate viticulture practices, winemaking techniques, and Sonoma wine history. Tours are available Saturdays, May through mid-October, weather permitting. Afterwards, relax on the lawn or take a walk through the gardens and enjoy the scenery.

Insider tip: Landmark Cottage, located on the winery grounds, offers a wonderful getaway for a small family, or a romantic retreat for a couple. The one-bedroom cottage sleeps two in the king-sized bed, and has a pull-out queen size sofa bed in the sitting room.

Cool Caves

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Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves
9711 W Dry Creek Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 473-9171
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, ?149 reviews
Reservations: Not required

To start with, Bella offers a vineyard tour on a very cool, vintage, Swiss Army vehicle. It’s a fun, bumpy ride, and once you reach to the top of the hill, the view is spectacular. As if riding around on a Pinzgauer isn’t enough to blow your kid’s mind, there’s a tasting room in the wine cave that fascinates, leaving you some time to sit back and enjoy the magnificent wines and the entire experience.

Insider tip: Bring a picnic lunch so you can relax on the lawn after the tour. It’s casual and kid-friendly, and there’s even a beanbag toss game to play with.

Take a Hike

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Bartholomew Park Winery
1000 Vineyard Ln
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 935-9511
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 60 reviews
Reservations: Not required

This winery is located in the heart of the 400-acre Bartholomew Memorial Park in Sonoma. In the hills behind the vineyard, are three miles of marked hiking trails from which, on a clear day, it’s possible to see San Francisco. The hikes are beautiful, but not easy or suitable for strollers or smaller children.

Still, the picnic ground of the park overlooks the vineyards as well as a replica of Agoston Haraszthy’s villa: Haraszthy was the legendary Hungarian-American pioneer winemaker, regarded as the “Father of California Viticulture.” The Villa is maintained by the park and open on weekends, and inside the winery, there’s a historical museum with many pictures and artifacts.

Insider tip: Enjoy a nice, crisp Chardonnay after your hike. Bartholomew specializes in white wines, and all their wines are organic.

Art Gardens to Explore

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Cornerstone Gardens
23570 Arnold Dr
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 933-3010
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 92 reviews
Reservations: Not required

For a great family outing with a chance to try a little wine in the process, check out fun and funky Cornerstone Gardens. There are about a dozen different, artsy garden areas created by designers from across the world, through which you can simply roam and enjoy—here’s always plenty of excitement when kids stumble upon yet another hidden nook. Beside the gardens, there’s a market area with shops, restaurants, plus three tasting rooms, including Keating, Meadowcroft, and Poseidon Vineyard & Obsidian Ridge.

Insider tip: Bring a camera. There are so many unique features and artworks here, that even the most casual of snapshots come out looking like works of art.

Sonoma County is full of kid-friendly sites, including Sonoma County wineries that provide as many fun activities for the little ones as the adults.