Renee Recommends: Best Sonoma Wineries to Visit

Posted April 6, 2017 | By Renee ReBell

Since starting our Sonoma Tours three years ago, I am often asked to recommend wineries for our guests to visit before or after our gourmet experience.  This is not to be confused with the tasting rooms directly on the plaza. I will write another blog to showcase those.

We use and have used wine from the list below to pair with delicious food based on both pairing and biodynamic qualities. Each winery will provide contrast as well. While one may be especially historic, another will offer biodynamic tours and yet another will focus on Italian varietals. Since working with the Boisset Collection and becoming educated on the benefits of chemical-free wine, our tours advocate supporting and purchasing biodynamic or sustainable wines whenever possible. For those that think they get a headache from red wine, they should try a red that is biodynamic or sustainable to see if a healthier option helps them skip the headache altogether.

I have selected six wineries in close proximity to the Sonoma Plaza. You can comfortably enjoy touring three per day. Most offer a tour you should not miss for education, enjoyment and appreciation.  It would also be easy to incorporate our 3-hour Gourmet Food and Wine Tour on the Sonoma Plaza for your lunch if you are feeling adventurous and love food as much as wine.

I recommend visiting the following six wineries when in Sonoma Proper:

  1. Cline Cellars – historic and sustainable, fabulous pouring professionals, vineyards
  2. Homewood Wines – one-man-show, sustainable and small production, teeny-tiny, vineyards
  3. Buena Vista – oldest winery in US (est. 1857), biodynamic, authentic cave and more, no vineyards
  4. Benzinger – beautiful vineyards, organic, one of the first to switch to biodynamic farming, tractor tour, cave
  5. Gundlach Bundschu – Sustainable, historic, cave, music concerts, pond with turtles, vineyards
  6. Jacuzzi Winery – biodynamic, specializing in Italian varietals, olive oil tasting, vineyards

If you live far from the wine country, each winery can ship direct to you after you select your favorite varietals on the included websites. If you sign up for their newsletters, you will find amazing deals on shipping, sometimes even free, throughout the year. I recommend having your wine shipped to your work if nobody will be home to receive the package, since someone 21 or older needs to be on hand to sign for your wine delivery

If a visit to Sonoma really is not in your future and for more sustainable and green wine options, Wine.com is running a special with some of my most favorite wines in Napa Valley. They even have a fabulous search for “green and sustainable wines.”  Enjoy the photos from some of the wineries below, including the breakdown from Benzinger that explains the differences between sustainable, biodynamic and organic practices and what it takes to become certified in each category.

Biodynamic Tour

Benzinger Tractor Tour

Historic as well as Biodynamic, Buena Vista is the oldest winery in the US

Benzinger is a pioneer for biodynamic wines in the Sonoma Valley

Buena Vista Winery

Unexpected surprises await around each doorway at historic Buena Vista

Best wineries near the Sonoma Plaza

We put food and wine walking tours where there were none to celebrate towns
with strong culinary vibes

Every morning each of us at Gourmet Food and Wine Tours wake up and pinch ourselves that we actually get to guide amazing guests from all over and share communities we have loved for over 100 years combined. Our guests are interesting people we come to know as friends by the end of the tour. In 3+ hours we share our love of chefs, restaurants, farming, history, art and more. We celebrate our towns that offer so much in the way of culture and hospitality. We love what we do!


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