The 7 Best Sonoma Wineries to Visit in 2024 - Donelan Wines

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The 7 Best Sonoma Wineries to Visit in 2024

Summer’s arrival has inspired us to put together a list of the best Sonoma wineries to visit. In the California wine industry, this time of year is our busy season. Soon both locals and tourists will be traveling into town for the gorgeous views, world-class hospitality, and legendary wine and food.

Why Sonoma?

We know we’re biased, but you won’t find a better wine region than Sonoma. If you look at a map, you can see the sheer size of Sonoma County. It’s about twice the size of Napa and ranges from the Pacific Ocean to the Mayacamas Mountains down to San Pablo Bay. Sonoma contains 19 different AVAs which represent distinct soil types and microclimates. (For example: A Sonoma Pinot Noir from the Bennett Valley AVA is different than one from the Sonoma Coast AVA.) With 400+ wineries, 19 AVAs, and 60+ grape varieties, it’s no wonder Sonoma wine is among the most unique in the world.

A map of Sonoma County with all of its wine AVAs highlighted.

Whether you’re looking for an intimate boutique wine tasting or an expansive estate vineyard experience, Sonoma County has them all and we’re proud to be included. Here’s our list, in no particular order, of some of the best Sonoma wineries!

Donum Estate

If you love Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and art, Donum will feel like heaven for you. Located in the Carneros region of Sonoma on 200 acres, Donum Estate is beautiful, sprawling, and decorated with striking sculptures from their private collection.

One of the buildings on Donum Estate's property..   A view of Donum Estate's wine tasting with a flight of 4 glasses and paired bites.

As you sip small-lot Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, you’ll explore the property and tour famous art pieces towering over the vines and tucked away in the hills. Perhaps Donum’s most important sculpture is the circle of Zodiac Heads representing the Chinese astrological wheel. On Donum’s wine labels, you’ll find the animals corresponding to the vintage; for example, their 2021 wines depict the Year of the Ox. Donum offers multiple tasting experiences by reservation and they will all exceed your expectations of winemaking, creativity, and hospitality.

colorful glass pavilion art at donum estatechinese zodiac wheel sculpture at donum estate

 

Kobler Estate Winery

We’ve been working with the Kobler family for years, so of course we consider them among Sonoma’s best wineries. The Koblers have been making wine in Sonoma since the 1980s and they were some of the first to plant and produce Rhône varietals.

kobler estate house.   photo of kobler grenache wine bottle

Kobler is a family-operated winery that will welcome you into their classic wine country home. Their Russian River wines are extremely small-production and allocation only, so you have to be on their list to purchase or reserve a tasting. If you like the private, special, and true Californian winery experience, definitely sign up for the Kobler Estate Tasting.

 

Matanzas Creek

Matanzas Creek has deep roots in Sonoma wine country, beginning in 1977. Over the years they’ve produced stellar Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Red Blends. The Matanzas Creek Estate is a warm and inviting property in Bennett Valley completed by a romantic and well-known lavender garden that’s at its peak in July.

lavender fields at matanzas creekmatanzas creek outside tasting with a view of the vineyard

They have two traditional, guided tasting experiences where you’ll learn about the wines and taste library selections. If you’re in the mood for something more casual with a group of friends, you can reserve their picnic spot or bocce ball court with bottle service. They’re also a dog-friendly winery! Matanzas Creek is one of the best Sonoma wineries for top-notch wine and a relaxing tasting experience while you take in the view.

 

Sojourn Cellars

a bottle of sojourn cellars wine being poured on the patio of their sonoma square tasting room

If you’ll be in historic downtown Sonoma Square for shopping or fine dining, make an appointment at the Sojourn Cellars Tasting Salon. Their Comparative Tasting gives you a side-by-side taste of artisan small-batch Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet. Sojourn was started by two guys who bonded over tennis and wine. That organic, friendly nature is carried throughout their whole team. Sojourn will show you a great time with delicious wine right in the heart of Sonoma.

 

Hirsch Vineyards

One of our favorite towns in Sonoma County is Healdsburg. You can find some of the best restaurants in wine country around Healdsburg Plaza, which has a similar historic look and feel to Sonoma Square. A few minutes outside downtown Healdsburg is Hirsch Vineyards’ cozy tasting room and outdoor patio.

hirsch vineyards tasting room in healdsburg california.    hirsch vineyards patio wine tasting

Hirsch was founded in 1980 on the Sonoma Coast and began growing exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They became a top fruit source for big-name wineries until 2002 when David Hirsch decided to start making his own wine. Because the Hirsch’s were grape growers and farmers first, you can trust their wine embodies the land and is extremely site-specific. You can experience a flight of five Hirsch Vineyards wines plus older vintages with their Healdsburg Private Tasting, a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.

 

Benovia

Benovia winery tasting room indoors

In North West Santa Rosa is Benovia Winery’s beautiful Ranch House. This is a great wine-tasting choice for those who want the vineyard setting without having to drive deep into rural Sonoma County. Their tasting room sits on Martaella Estate Vineyard, one of their three estate properties. Fun fact about Benovia: in 2002 they purchased Cohn Vineyard, the oldest Pinot Noir vineyard in the Russian River Valley. They produce an array of wines from Pinot and Chardonnay to Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet, Grenache, and Zinfandel.

entryway gate to Benovia

Benovia makes a statement right at the start of their property with a grand front entrance flanked by the vineyard. Their Ranch House is open, airy, and modern with warm earthy textures, huge windows, and outdoor seating that create a luxury atmosphere coupled with down-to-earth hospitality. They offer multiple tastings, including a vineyard tour and a winery tour experience.

 

Rochioli Winery

rochioli family tasting room

Between Santa Rosa and Healdsburg is another winery we have a close relationship with, Rochioli Vineyards & Winery. The Rochiolis have one of the greater family legacies in the area, dating back to 1911 when they immigrated to Northern California from Italy. The Rochiolis dabbled in winemaking in the 50s, but 1968 was when they really started growing and making fine wine, beginning with Pinot Noir.

black and white photo of the original Rochioli family

Flash forward to 1987 after several years of mastering grape growing, planting other varietals, and adding more family members to the business, the Rochiolis released their first estate wine (1985 Pinot Noir) and it was named the “Best Pinot Noir in America” by Wine Spectator. Today, Tom Rochioli is the third-generation Winemaker and his two kids have joined the operation. Rochioli is a truly special family and if you want to experience wine with rich history, they’re one of the best Sonoma wineries to visit this summer. Book their indoor or outdoor Estate Flight.

 

Visit Sonoma this Summer!

We hope you saved a few favorites from our list of best Sonoma wineries! Wine aside, Sonoma is the perfect balance of luxury and down-to-earth. Sonoma is less expensive and less commercialized than other places in California. The towns and people are friendly, authentic, and unpretentious. You can experience a Michelin-star restaurant in a town of 1,000 people. On your way to a private fine wine tasting, you might get stuck behind a tractor. And again, Sonoma’s size offers endless opportunities; mountain hiking, beaches, local oysters and artisan meats and cheeses, hot air balloon rides, hot springs spas. Your trip to Sonoma will be equal parts fun, upscale, and relaxing.

Come See Us at Donelan Family Wines

We at Donelan are especially excited for this summer because we’ve reopened our Santa Rosa tasting room after five years. We’re thrilled to be hosting again and can’t wait to share our award-winning wines with you! Reserve our Signature Tasting Experience and come see us for a tour of the winery and a taste of our small-production, terroir-driven wines. Cheers!

bottle of Donelan Syrah in a wine tasting

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