Baby, it might be chilly outside, but warmth and comfort awaits at these top-notch tasting rooms.
Zina Hyde Cunningham, Sonoma
You can taste five wines for $15, enjoy wines by the glass, cheese plates, and wine and cheese pairings. But the ultimate is the private food and wine pairing, where you enjoy a full meal with an intimate group at a communal table in what is the tasting room in the lobby of the Ledson Hotel on the Sonoma Plaza. This is posh all the way, the room trimmed in gleaming wood with a flickering fireplace flanked by leather couches, and a four- or six-course menu from chef Yoshiharu Sogi. Temptations change, but might include prosciutto wrapped Hama Hama oysters Rockefeller baked with Bucheret goat cheese, Peruvian purple potato leek soup with Point Reyes blue cheese chicken fritter, and seared ahi over mushroom rice with butter poached turnips, strawberry-olive tapenade, and pickled ume plum sauce.
480 First St. East, Sonoma, 707-996-9779, zinawinery.com.
Benovia Winery, Santa Rosa
The boutique spot is indeed intimate, so be sure to make an appointment. And request to lounge on the leather couches flanking the floor-to-ceiling rock hearth fireplace – the setting is all the more magical thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the vineyards,
3339 Hartman Road, Santa Rosa, 707-921-1040, benoviawinery.com.
Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery, Healdsburg
One of the most popular locations for tasting in groups large and small is in the Estate Pavilion. An elegant hillside Chateau spanning 2,480 square feet, it’s nestled on a hillside above the regular tasting room building, among oak groves surrounded by acres of Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines. Wander 2,184 square feet of terraces with views extending across the Russian River valley towards the Sonoma Coast. Then, inside, a handcrafted 21-foot tall French Louis XIII-style limestone fireplace creates a dramatic anchor to polished hardwood floors and European furniture, including walnut hardwood tables set with fine linen, china and silver. Reserve a lunch or dinner, for even more luxury.
10300 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg, 707-933-3314, chalkhill.com.
Paul Hobbs Winery, Sebastopol
Visits are by appointment only, and reward with some of the most elegant, interesting architecture in West Sonoma County. The Katherine Lindsay Estate beckons with gorgeous views, and an interior set with a contemporary fireplace along an entire expanse of the main tasting room.
3355 Gravenstein Hwy. N., Sebastopol, 707-824-9879, paulhobbs.com.