The Carneros wine appellation is renowned worldwide for its excellent Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards located here thrive on the mild summer days and the cooling afternoon breeze from the San Pablo Bay. For this Carnero’s wine tour, we focus on wineries on the Sonoma County side of the Carneros wine region.
Top Wineries to Visit on the Carneros Sonoma Wine Trail
• Cline Cellars – Rhone varietals, quaint 1850’s tasting room
• Jacuzzi Family Vineyards – Tuscan villa, wine & olive oil
• Gloria Ferrer – Great sparkling wines, terrace view
• Cornerstone Place – Three tasting rooms
• Larson Family Winery – Small winery, relaxed and casual
Dining and Lodging Recommendations
Winery Descriptions, Driving Directions, Tasting Room Hours
Directions: The Carneros wine region can be approached from either the Golden Gate Bridge or the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Usually, the Golden Gate Bridge route contains fewer traffic obstacles. These tour directions are from the Golden Gate Bridge but can easily be reversed. Please refer to our map of the Carneros wineries. From the Golden Gate Bridge, take Highway 101. Exit 101 to Highway 37 towards Vallejo. Turn left onto Highway 121 towards Sonoma and Napa.
Although the Carneros region the region of elegant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, the Cline winery was one of the first to grow Rhone varietals in the cool climate of Carneros. Cline produces a Syrah and Viognier as well as the rarely-produced varietals of Marsanne and Rousanne. The tasting room is a restored 1850 farmhouse and is very charming. The extensive grounds are quite beautiful, providing a good spot for a picnic lunch. In addition to its 350 acres of vineyards in the Carneros region, Cline also has vineyards in Contra Costa County, and near the town of Petaluma in Sonoma County. Cline is on Highway 121, about 4 miles from Highway 37.
Tasting room open daily 10 am to 6 pm.
Jacuzzi is across the road from Cline Cellars and is own by the Cline Family. This Tuscan Villa is a popular attraction among the tourist. The tasting room is large and packed with folks ready to taste. On our last visit, there was no tasting fee. The olive oil is a big deal at Jacuzzi. You can taste many different olive oils, and there is also an olive oil press. The Jacuzzi wines production is at Cline, so there is no winery to visit. The patio area is beautiful and a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch.
Tasting room is open 10 to 5:30 daily
One mile away from Cline and Jacuzzi is the entrance to Gloria Ferrer, the producer of fine sparkling wines. Watch for it on the left. Gloria Ferrer is a gorgeous and elegant winery set back on a hillside. The winery is owned by the great Cava making family that owns Freixenet near the famous Spanish city of Barcelona. Check the Gloria Ferrer Website for the various tour and tasting options.
Tasting room open daily 10:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves
Cornerstone calls itself a wine country marketplace. It’s directly across from the entrance to Gloria Ferrer. Cornerstone has boutique shopping, art, and the famous Sunset Gardens. Including in Cornerstone are three wine tasting rooms. Take some time to visit the marketplace; it is fun and different. There is also a cafe with great treats.
The restaurant, shops, and tasting rooms are open from 10am-5pm
A visit to the Larson Family Winery is a much different experience than any other winery on this wine trail. The atmosphere here is relaxed and laid back. Tom and Becky Larson are the owners, and you are likely to find them at work on the premises. The winery was once the site of the largest rodeo in the Bay Area. A beautiful mural in the tasting room depicts this event. Behind the historic Captain’s house, which is available as a vacation rental, is the Sonoma Creek. It is hard to imagine that steamships once traveled up Sonoma Creek to dock here. Best of all, though, are the wines. The estate Chardonnay, which comes with a screw top, is very fruity and balanced. The estate Gewurtztraminer is a delightful, refreshing wine, and the Pinot Noir an outstanding, flavorful wine. There is a lovely picnic area complete with a Bocce Ball court.
Tasting room open daily 10:00 am to 5 pm
Larson Family Winery
Advice for your Carneros Wine Tour:
You are encouraged to have a designated driver | Consider a limousine or van service
First time to a winery? Find out what happens in a typical tasting room.
Are you wondering about how to taste wine? Wine Tasting Techniques
Pace yourself and make a day of wine tasting.
There are other Carneros wineries on our wine tour; if you see one that strikes your fancy , drop in and tell us what you think.
Plan for a picnic lunch at one of the wineries.
More Information on Sonoma Wineries
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