Lower Sonoma


Written by:

Joe Becerra

Last updated:

Wine Country Quick Getaways to Carneros Wineries in Sonoma County

These three great Sonoma County wineries are less than an hour away from San Francisco. We suggest three very different wineries for your visit, each with its own unique and distinctive character. Cline Cellars andGloria Ferrer are located in the famous Los Carneros Region of Sonoma County. The Benziger Family Winery is 15 minutes further in the hills of the Sonoma Valley Wine Region.

Visit these great wineries

• Cline Cellars – Zinfandels and Rhone Wines
• Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves – wine at its best
• Benziger Family Winery – Best tour and wine information

Directions from the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

• Take 101 North and exit at Highway 37.
• Travel on Highway 37 for roughly 8 miles
• Turn left to Highway 121 and Sonoma.
• Take Highway 121 for about 4 miles.
• Watch for Cline Cellars on the left side of the highway.

Picnic Lunch

These three wineries have picnic facilities. See our list of Top Delis for options for buying your lunch.

Cline Cellars

Although the Carneros regions is recognized for its fine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, the Cline winery was one of the first to grow Rhone varietals in the cool climate of the Carneros region. 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 very beautiful, providing a good choice 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,
Phone (800) 546-2070, E-mail: info@clinecellars.com, Cline Cellars

Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves

One mile away from Cline is the entrance to Gloria Ferrer, the producer of fine sparkling wines. Watch for it on the left. Gloria Ferrer is a very beautiful and elegant winery set back on a hillside. The tasting room is set up like a wine bar. You pay by the glass for a very healthy taste of wine. You can sit and relax either inside or outside on a deck. In addition to their sparking wines, Gloria Ferrer also produces a Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. You can bring your lunch, order a glass of fine sparkling wine, and sit out on the deck enjoying the spectacular vineyards below. Weekends are popular, so getting a table can be a wait.

Tasting room open daily 10:30 am to 5:30
Phone (707) 996-7256, E-mail: info@gloriaferrer.com, Gloria Ferrer

Benziger Family Winery

Head north (left turn) as you leave Gloria Ferrer. The Benziger Family Winery is located just about ten miles ahead. When you get to the next major intersection, be sure to go straight on to Arnold Road towards Glen Ellen. When you get into the town of Glen Ellen watch for the signs pointing toward Jack London Park and the Benziger Winery. You will turn left onto London Ranch Road and drive for about a half mile. The Benziger Winery is a very fun winery to visit. If you have only a limited time to visit one winery, choose this one. There is a lot to do here as well as being a great spot for a picnic lunch. We recommend you take the tour for $10. You will learn a great deal about winemaking, and it includes a tasting of some fine reserve wines. Spend some time at the Vineyard Discovery Center. You will learn about the various trellis systems and why each type is used. Visiting Benziger is an enjoyable and educational wine experience.

Tasting room open daily 10 am to 5, (707) 935-3000
E-mail: greatwine@benziger.com. Benziger

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.

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