Highway 12 wineries in Sonoma Valley Best

Imagery Winery

Tour Details: Beautiful vineyards line this road that runs the length of the Sonoma Valley. You will find several different and interesting wineries along this wine trail. From the town of Sonoma, follow the signs to Highway 12 traveling towards the northwest. Be sure to pick up a deli lunch to enjoy at one of the many wineries along the way. A good choice to buy your picnic lunch is the Sonoma Market.

Top Wineries to Visit on This Wine Trail

B.R. Cohn Winery – Cabernet specialist, Olive Oil specialist, lovely setting
Arrowood Vineyards – Upscale wines, Victorian setting
Imagery Winery – Same family that owns Benziger Winery in Glen Ellen
Wellington Vineyards – Very small winery, making great wines
Kunde Winery & Vineyards – Now in its fifth generation of winemaking
Kenwood Vineyards – Red wine specialist, cozy tasting room
Chateau St. Jean Winery – Best gardens and setting, deli items
Landmark Vineyards – Chardonnay specialist, Bocce Ball court
St. Francis Winery – Best tasting room, beautiful mountain views
Ledson Winery & Vineyards – A castle in the vineyards, flambouyant.

Dining and Lodging Recommendations

See Restaurants      See Lodging


B.R. Cohn Winery

Located on a scenic hillside vineyard, the B.R. Cohn Winery produces small lots of wine from its famed Olive Hill Estate Vineyards. The winery is mostly known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, producing three Cabernets one, the Special Selection Cabernet, representing the best from the Olive Hill Estate. The area of Olive Hill is unusual in that a hot springs runs beneath the vineyards. Should frost occur during the budding process in the spring, the hot springs will produce enough warmth to protect the vines. Not only does the B.R. Cohn Winery produce fine wines, but they also make very fine olive oil. Bruce Cohn, the founder and owner of the winery, preserved the rare olive trees planted in 1870 on the property. Each year they harvest the olives to make outstanding olive oils sold at the tasting room. The tasting room is small and charming with a picnic deck area overlooking the vineyards and olive trees.

Tasting room open daily, 10 am to 5, (707) 938-4064
Email:
linda@brcohn.com, B.R. Cohn Winery

Here is a suggestion for a book on hidden Sonoma wineries: Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma




Arrowood Vineyards

Arrowood has a beautiful winery facility and tasting room that sits up on the hillside of the Mayacamus Mountains. This winery produces an array of high-end wines recognized for their quality. The tasting room is a rather large room, with great views of hillside vineyards and valley below. The winery was recently sold by Richard Arrowood to the Jackson Family Wine group.  Arrowood is located about a half mile north of Madrone Rd. The entrance road is on the east side; watch for the signs for Arrowood and the Imagery Winery.

Tasting room open daily, 10 am to 4:30, (800) 938-4064
Email:
hospitality@arrowoodvineyards.com, Arrowood Vineyards


Imagery Winery

Next door to Arrowood is the Imagery Winery.  The winery is owned and operated by the Benzinger Family that had been selling this collection of wines at the Benzinger winery located in nearby Glen Ellen. Eager to make the wines more distinctive, the Benzinger Family established this new and remarkable wine facility. The focus at this winery is small case production of several varieties including some unusual types. Don’t miss tasting the Malbec and Petit Syrah, two varietals you won’t find at many wineries. The Imagery Artist collection of wines features beautiful labels created by various artists. The tasting room features a gallery of wine label art as well as other works of art. You won’t find any of these wines for sale in stores or restaurants. The wines are sold only through the winery. The winery entrance is on the same road leading to Arrowood.  Note: Wine Group, the second-largest U.S. wine company, acquired Benziger Family Winery and Imagery Winery in June of 2015.

Tasting room open daily, 10 am to 4:30, (877)-550-4278
Email:
info@imagerywinery.com, Imagery Winery


Wellington Vineyards

This a small family-owned winery producing a very nice array of good-tasting wines at reasonable prices. The wine production is small, about 7000 cases per year. The relatively small case production enables the winery to spend more time and care in the production of its wines. About half the wine is made from estate grapes and the other half comes from selected vineyards in the area. We liked the cordial but homey atmosphere of the small tasting room. Our host was delighted to tell us many details about each of the wines we tasted. The winery location is slightly off the beaten path on Dunbar Rd. You will need to turn left at Arnold Rd. from Highway 12. Make an immediate right turn onto Dunbar Road. Travel about one and a quarter miles to the winery.

Tasting room open daily, 11 am to 4, (800)-816-WINE
Email:
wv@wellingtonvineyards.com, Wellington Vineyards


Kunde Winery and Vineyards

Kunde is the largest family owned winery, and one of the oldest in Sonoma. It all started in 1904 with the purchase of the land. Today, the fifth generation of the Kunde Family runs the winery. With the present generation of Kunde management has come a change in winemaking. A new winery facility and a very unique cave system for barrel aging was constructed in 1990. This is indicative of many changes at Kunde that have resulted in quality wine production and recognition from wine experts. There are three distinct series of wines, all reasonably priced. The tasting room and surrounding vineyards are very beautiful. This is a delightful place for wine tasting. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays you can tour the cave system and hear some winery information. The tours are on the hour, beginning at 11:00 a.m. You should not have any problems finding the Kunde Winery, there are several signs indicating the turnoff on Highway 12.

Tasting room open daily, 10:30 am to 4:30, (707)-833-5501
Email:
wineinfo@kunde.com, Kunde Winery and Vineyards


Kenwood Vineyards

You will find the Kenwood tasting room cozy and the staff accommodating. This is a fairly large winery, producing 300,000 cases of wine per year. Although recognized for its red wines, Sauvignon Blanc accounts for about a fifth of the case production. The Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc is less citrus tasting that most Sauvignon Blancs. You will find this wine reasonably priced and an excellent value. In addition to the Estate collection of wines, Kenwood produces several series of wines, including a Reserve, Jack London, and Artist series. Another wine we like is the Sonoma Pinot Noir. It’s delicious and the price is very a good value. The winery is owned by the Heck Corporation, which owns other wineries including the Valley of the Moon Winery. As you approach the city of Kenwood, watch for the entrance to the Kenwood Winery; it comes up quickly on the right and is easy to miss.

Tasting room open daily, 10 am to 4:30,
Phone:
(707) 833-5891, Kenwood Vineyards


Chateau St. Jean Winery

This is a beautiful chateau setting and you might even feel like you are in France when you visit this winery. The building and gardens are luxurious and tastefully done.
The excellent array of wines offered at the Chateau St. Jean, the gardens and visitor center, all add up to a must visit to this winery. The winery looks magnificent against the backdrop of the Mayacamus Mountain range. This winery consistently produces award-winning wines across its entire collection. The winery also offers gourmet fare that you can purchase for a picnic lunch. This is certainly one of the most beautiful settings in the Sonoma Valley. The winery entrance is just a short distance from the Kenwood Winery, to the northeast on Highway 12.

Tasting room open daily, 10 am to 5,
Phone:
(707) 833-4134, Chateau St. Jean Winery


Landmark Vineyards

This winery is owned by the John Deere Family, who are better known for making farm tractors than wine. This winery specializes in producing high-end Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and because of this the case production of wine is limited. Landmark makes two top-quality Chardonnays, the Overlook Chardonnay and the Damaris Chardonnay. The wines are sold only at the winery and upscale restaurants. The setting is ideal for a picnic lunch. The décor of the mission style winery and the gardens are inviting. There are several nice picnic tables, plus a Bocce Ball court. If you like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, don’t pass up this winery. Located very close to Chateau St. Jean; it’s on Adobe Creek Rd. You can’t miss it.

Tasting room open daily, 10 am to 4:30, 800- 452-6365
Email:
hospitality@landmarkvineyards.com, Landmark Vineyards


St. Francis Winery

The St. Francis Winery has been around since 1979 but recently added a new winemaking facility and a nearby hospitality center. The tasting room at the hospitality center is most pleasant and comfortable. The room looks out into a beautiful setting of gardens and the Mayacamas Mountains. The Sugarloaf Ridge Mountain, the largest peak in the area, makes a dramatic and spectacular backdrop to this winery. The wines are all very good here, and the pricing of the St. Francis Sonoma County collection is a good value. We particularly like the Chardonnay and the Zinfandel Old Vines, Sonoma County. A tasting fee of $15 gives you a taste of four wines of Sonoma County. The winery is just a short hop from Landmark. Turn right on Pythian Rd. We love the mountain view at St. Francis.

Tasting room open daily, 10 am to 5 pm, (888) 675-9463


Email:
info@stfranciswine.com, St. Francis Winery


Ledson Winery & Vineyards

As you take the turn into the driveway for Ledson, you will more than likely blink twice to check your vision. Emerging through the rows of vineyards you will see the Ledson Winery, an impressive, dark, gothic style building, “a castle in the vineyards.” Everything here is dramatic, starting with a greeting at the entrance way by a hostess who will give some information about the winery. The rooms, stairway, and gardens are all befitting a castle. The wines are upscale and sold only through the winery. The picnic grounds are serene and a perfect spot for a picnic. The winery has an outstanding gourmet deli of cheeses and meats for many a varied taste. Sunday afternoons, during the summer months, the winery offers live concerts on the grassy grounds of the gardens. Ledson is located about a mile after you pass Pythian Rd (St Francis Winery) going northeast.

Tasting room open daily, 10 am to 5,
Phone:
(707) 537-3810, Ledson Winery & Vineyards