The Russian River Valley and its sub AVA, the Green Valley, are widely recognized as a premiere growing area for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Foggy mornings, warm afternoons, and a cool evening breeze from the Pacific Ocean make the ideal climate for these grapes in this area. Although among the Green Valley wineries you will find Pinot Noir and Chardonnay the focus, the Green Valley wineries produce other fine wines such as Syrah, Zinfandel and Gewürztraminer.
Top Wineries We Like to Visit in the Green Valley/Russian River Valley
• Balletto Vineyards – Family owned, excellent value wines
• Taft Street Winery – A garage startup winery 1979
• Merry Edwards – The legendary female winemaker, delectable Pinot
• Dutton Goldfield Winery – Single vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
• Marimar Torres – Famed Spanish wine family, makes Pinot and Char
• Lynmar Estate Winery – Reservations required for tastings
• Iron Horse Vineyards – Great sparkling wines, great view of the Green Valley
We recommend you visit no more than three wineries in one day. Enjoy the beauty of the Green Valley.
Dining and Lodging Recommendations
If you are traveling from San Francisco, take the Cotati /Sebastopol Exit from Highway 101 and head west on Highway 116 towards Sebastopol. Two good places to stop and pick up a picnic lunch are the Whole Foods in downtown Sebastopol and the Fiesta Market further north on Highway 116 at 550 Gravestein HWY.
Watch for Occidental Road and turn right onto Occidental Road and travel one mile to the tasting room for Balletto Vineyards.
The tasting room is very appealing and was completed in January of 2006. The winery is owned and operated by John Balletto and his wife Terri. John has been farming this land since 1977 when he was a mere 17 years old. Originally, an assortment of vegetables were grown on the farm, but as the area became recognized as a prime growing region for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, John and Terri gradually shifted from vegetable growers to grape growers. Today the majority of their grapes are sold off to several wineries, but the best of the crop is used to make the Balletto wines. Case production is currently at 5000 cases per year with plans to expand to as many as 30,000 cases per year. The Zinfandel and Pinot Noir topped our list of favorite wines at Belletto Vineyards. The Balletto wines are excellent value wines.
Tasting room open daily 10 to 4 pm.
Phone: (707) 568-2455; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Balletto Vineyards
Taft Street Winery
It all began on Taft Street in Oakland in 1979 when two brothers began making wine in their garage in the Rockridge District. Slowly but surely the the annual production and more importantly the quality of the Taft wines. When the garage reached overload, they moved the winery to its present location on Barlow Lane. The tasting room is quaint. Outside you will find inviting picnic tables and a Bocce Court. We like the low tasting fee and the reasonable prices of the Taft lineup of wines. We very much like the Sauvignon Blanc and the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
Tasting room open 11 to 4
Phone: (707) 823-8622; E-mail: email@example.com Taft Street
From Balletto Vineyards drive back to Highway 116 and turn right. Drive three-quarters of a mile on Highway 116 and watch for the Merry Edwards winery on the right side of the road. The excitement about this winery is the owner and winemaker Merry Edwards. She is one of the most respected winemakers in California and well known for her award- winning Pinot Noir wines. Now with a beautiful new modern winery, Merry Edwards is making other varietals including one of the most delicious and sought afer Sauvignon Blanc wines in California. If you plan to go to Merry Edwards, make an appointment to be sure you can get in to taste. With an appointment, you have a room to yourself and a more relaxed time to taste and enjoy these terrific wines.
Tasting room open daily by appointment 9:30 to 4:30
Phone: (707) 823-7466; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Merry Edwards
Dutton Goldfield Winery
Just north of Merry Edwards at the corner of Highway 116 and Graton Road is the Dutton Goldfield tasting room. The focus at Dutton Goldfield is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They produce small case allotments of single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from various prime vineyards in Sonoma Country as well as a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their Dutton Ranch property. The Dutton Ranch encompasses several small vineyards throughout the Green Valley AVA. The Dutton Goldfield Pinot Noirs are consistently ranked among the best Pinots in California. They also produce a small amount of Zinfandel and Syrah.
Tasting room open Open daily from 10am to 4:30pm
Phone: (707) 827-3600; E-mail: email@example.com Dutton Goldfield
After leaving Dutton Goldfield, head west on Graton Road. You will pass through the tiny town of Graton. Should you decide to eat at a restaurant the Underwood Bar & Bistro is not to be missed. This is where the local winemakers hang out. This is a very beautiful backroad drive surrounded by vineyards and old apple orchards. The winery is about 2 miles after leaving the town. Marimar entrance is on the right. Take the roadway up to the top of the hill. Blink and you will think you are in Spain’s land of Catalan. The Marimar Torres family owns the Torres Winery in Spain near Barcelona. At this Graton winery, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are produced. This is a lovely spot and a most delightful place to enjoy a picnic lunch with an excellent glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.
Tasting room open daily, 11 to 4pm
Phone: (707) 823-4365; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Marimar Estate
Lynmar Estate Winery
To get to Lynmar Winery head back to the town of Graton and then cross Highway 116 to Frei Road and watch for the Lynmar Winery about three-quarters of a mile up the road. In the fall of 2005, Lynmar opened this impressive and beautifully designed hospitality center. Everything about this winery is elegant and first class. The tasting room is spacious and tasteful. Reservations are required for any of the tasting options. The Lynmar Lunch is another option. Local ingredients are paired with selected Lynmar wines.
Tasting room open daily 10 to 4:30 pm by reservation.
Phone: (707) 829-3374; E-mail: email@example.com Lynmar Vineyards
Iron Horse Vineyards
From Lynmar, go back to Highway 116 and turn right and travel two miles. The road to Iron Horse isl off the beaten track but the journey is well worth it. You will find the road to Iron Horse just before you come to the town of Forestville on Highway 116. Watch for Ross Station Road, turning left off 116. Ross Station Road will cross a bridge and then become a narrow road as it winds up the hill to the winery. Along the way, you will be treated to beautiful views of vineyards and, on top of the hill, a spectacular view of the Green Valley. Iron Horse produces several different lines of sparkling wine, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir from their estate vineyards in the Green Valley AVA. They also produce other varietals from their estate vineyards in the Alexander Valley, located approximately 15 miles northeast in a much hotter climate. In addition to tasting, Iron Horse offers tours of the vineyards and cellars. Check the Website for complete information.
Tasting room open daily 10 to 4:30pm
Phone: (707) 887-1507; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Iron Horse Vineyards
Additional wine routes in the Healdsburg wine region of Sonoma
- Westside Road Wine Trail
- Old Redwood Highway Wine Trail
- Alexander Valley Wine Trail
- Geyserville Wine Trial
- Olivet Road Wine Trail
- Dry Creek Valley Wine Trail
Tips for your Healdsburg Wine Tour
- You are encouraged to have a designated driver. Consider hiring a limousine or van service.
- First time to a winery in Healdsburg? Find out what happens in a typical tasting room.
- Are you wondering about how to taste wine? Wine Tasting Techniques
- Almost wineries in the Healdsburg charge a tasting fee. Expect to pay $10 or more to taste. Two people can always elect to share a tasting.
- If you cannot picnic, enjoy a delicious lunch at one of Healdsburg’s many fine restaurants.
- We list Healdsburg lodging.
- Pace yourself and make a day of wine tasting. Don’t forget your camera.
- Visiting three wineries in one day is enough to you keep you busy and content with the slow and easy pace of wine country.
- Please read our Disclaimer Document on the information contained on Wine Country Getaways.