by Courtney CochranKenwood & Glen Ellen
An easy drive north from Sonoma, the wineries near the rural hamlets of Kenwood and Glen Ellen beckon with superb hospitality perks and the dramatic backdrop of the Mayacamas Mountains.Kenwood Vineyards
Kenwood puts the country in your Wine Country visit thanks to its rustic-chic tasting room housed in a welcoming, circa-1906 Redwood barn. Hewing close to Sonoma’s reputation for responsible environmental measures, Kenwood employs sustainable business and winemaking practices in producing its wide variety of wines, most of which are on offer daily in the tasting room. Don’t miss the spot’s historic Jack London series of award-winning reds, produced each year from lava-terraced vineyards on the renowned Jack London Ranch in Glen Ellen.
9592 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood, CA 95452 * (707) 833-5891 * @KenwoodVineyard
Francis Winery & Vineyards
Staying faithful to its
founders’ philosophy of “maximum extraction, minimal intervention”
(read: full-bodied, full-flavored wines) over the years, St. Francis is
today home to an appealing visitor center fairly humming with activity.
Beyond wine tasting, activities on offer include “Charcuterie on the
Patio” pairings daily during the summer, gourmet small-bite wine and
food pairings daily throughout the year, and walking tours followed by
library tastings (“Wine-Cations”) every Saturday and Sunday
(reservations recommended). Beyond, groups are invited to register for
custom aroma workshops and blending seminars.
100 North Pythian
Rd., Santa Rosa, CA 95409 * (888) 675-9463 * @StFrancisWineryLedson
Winery & Vineyards
Easily the most spectacular-looking
winery in Sonoma, gothic-inspired Ledson is grandly referred to as “the
castle” by Wine Country visitors. An architectural marvel, the winery
charms with its hand crafted tasting bars, myriad staircases and
turrets, and more than five miles of ornate woodwork and inlays. Beyond
eye candy, the spot’s small-lot artisan wines – the best of which are
crafted predominantly from Merlot and modeled after the stars of
Bordeaux’s Right Bank – are well worth the visit. Gourmet to the end,
Ledson’s on-site marketplace will please picnickers, too, who are
welcome to take a selection of gourmet offerings out to enjoy amidst the
winery’s gracious oak-studded grounds.
7335 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood,
CA 95409 * (707) 537-3810