Tour Details: Beautiful vineyards line this road that runs the length of the Sonoma Valley. You will find several different and exciting wineries along this wine trail. From the town of Sonoma, follow the signs to Highway 12 traveling towards the northwest.
Almost all wineries in Sonoma require reservations. Visit the winery’s Website to view tasting options and reservations. Stay safe!
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
• 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, flamboyant.
Dining and Lodging Recommendations
The first winery on our Highway 12 Wine Trail is B.R.Cohn Winery. Bruce Cohn is the founding vintner of the winery. He was also famous for managing The Doobie Brothers. B.R. Cohn Winery is on beautiful hillside vineyards with old olive trees dotting the vines. The tasting room is in a beautiful white cottage style house that dates back to 1920. There are many delicious wines to taste here. The lineup of wines will suit just about any wine palates. Besides wine, try the olive oil, it is a treat. We love the views at B.R. Cohn. Bruce Cohn sold his winery in 2015 and the current owner is Vintage Wine Estates.
Here is a suggestion for a book on hidden Sonoma wineries: Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma
Arrowood has a beautiful winery facility and tasting room that sits upon the hillside of the Mayacamus Mountains. Here you will find more lovely vineyards views. Richard Arrowood is the original vintner, a winemaker of significant influence in the Sonoma Valley. Visitors will enjoy delicious Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhone Style wines. Richard Arrowood recently sold his winery to the Jackson Family Wine group. Arrowood is 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.
Next door to Arrowood is the Imagery Winery. The focus at this winery is small case production of several varieties, including some unusual types. One of the cool features of the Imagery wines are the wine bottle labels. Various artists create and design the labels. What a great idea!
Note: Wine Group, the second-largest U.S. wine company, acquired Benziger Family Winery and Imagery Winery in June of 2015. Yet another Highway 12 winery in the hands of a large wine company.
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. The tasting room is a fun and exciting place with several different visitor options. There is a dog hike as well as a “Hike and Taste in the Vineyards.” Check the Kunde Website to check tasting options and reservations. Kunde has an excellent assortment of wines to meet the needs of various wine palates. There is nothing like being at an old family winery like Kunde.
You will find the Kenwood tasting room cozy a cozy spot. The tasting room barn was once a jug producing winery back in the day. The family that founded the winery sold Kenwood to Korbel owners, Gary Heck. That was in 1996, and now Kenwood Vineyards is in the hands of Pernod Ricard. Ricard’s company owns wineries and various spirit producers. Kenwood wines are found widely in supermarkets. The Sonoma series is a vast production wine. For visitors, it is best to focus on the smaller Kenwood labels like the Artist Series and the Barn Series.
Chateau St. Jean 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 experience. The winery looks magnificent against the backdrop of the Mayacamus Mountain range. The Chateau St. Jean tasting room offers several choices for tasting wines, including food bites. Check the Website for options. The winery entrance is just a short distance from the Kenwood Winery, to the northeast on Highway 12.
This winery is owned by the John Deere Family, who is 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. The décor of the mission style winery and the gardens are inviting. There are several excellent 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.
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 place 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 delicious 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.
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 entranceway by a hostess who will give some information about the winery. The rooms, stairway, and gardens are all befitting a castle. Ledson makes more labels of wine than any winery we know. The prices vary from $18 to $250. 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.
- Sonoma Valley Wine Trails
- Sonoma Valley Wine Country Planning Guide
- Sonoma Valley lodging and dining