Basking in the sun at a winery garden is one of the many fine pleasures of visiting Sonoma and Napa. A glass of wine, a plate of cheese and fruit, and it’s as if Mother Nature has created a personal paradise just for you.
Plan some time for a vineyard stroll and wine tasting, and to truly make it a day of leisure, leave the details and the driving to others by reserving a private tour with your Pure Luxury guide/chauffeur. Your guide can recommend stops featuring whatever you’re looking for, be it masses of rose bushes around an elegant mansion, or a more remote wilderness feel at a mountainside winery.
Chateau St. Jean
As the “chateau” name suggests, this is a 1920s European style winery, boasting a meticulously manicured landscape, castle style architecture and endless lawns framed by vineyards. Violet Trumpetvine climbs pergola the columns, periwinkle ground cover nestles under hydrangeas, tightly clipped hedges create natural walls and trellises, and roses of all colors perfume the air. Take it all in, then purchase gourmet sandwiches and salads in the tasting room market, to be enjoyed at the shaded picnic tables in the fountain garden, followed up with a game of bocce ball. // 8555 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-257-5784
In the spring: More than 10,000 tulips and daffodils create a lavish carpet of color, while year-round, the five acres of gardens showcase flowers of all kinds, plus more than 2,000 species of trees and shrubs. Depending where you wander, you can enjoy different scenery, since each area of the park-like retreat has its own design, from the Italian/French parterre style of the master garden showcasing classic, geometric shapes, to the full acre show garden with massive flower plantings in the fashion of Butchart Gardens in British Columbia. In fact, it took founder Rhonda Carano 16 months just to plan and complete the initial planting for the grand opening in 1987. You can spend hours strolling the meandering paths and foot bridges along a rippling stream, waterfalls and fish-filled ponds, discovering abundant with trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals conveniently marked with identification tags. // 8761 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-433-6700
Hans Fahden Vineyards
Tucked away on the eastern edge of Sonoma County hillsides and owned by the Fahden family since 1912, this 100-acre hidden treasure property boasts such unexpected wonders as a volcanic cave and a garden inspired by Monet’s paintings of the artist’s own home at Giverny. Book a tour and wine tasting of their mountain estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, then linger at the teahouse overlooking ponds dotted with water lilies, next to profusions of rose bushes. // 4855 Petrified Forest Road, Calistoga, 707-942-6760
Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates & Gardens
The flowers look lovely, and they’re edible too, at this 2.5-acre winery garden that was planted in 1997 by renowned gardener Jeff Dawson. Edible is appropriate, since the landscape is now under the care of Tucker Taylor, formerly of Thomas Keller’s Michelin three-star French Laundry in Yountville. Taylor has set in lovely rows and beds of vegetables, fruits and herbs, adding boutique varieties of lettuces and artichokes, for example, plus a lavish herb garden outside the new kitchen door, so the estate chefs can zip out with scissors and harvest whatever they need. Visitors can learn about wine here, too, since “sensory” plants are on display to identify common characteristics of wines like cherry, raspberry, mint and lemon. // 5007 Fulton Rd, Fulton/Santa Rosa, 707-571-8100
Tip: Make a green entrance to your garden party, by hiring a private limo or Town Car for door-to-door service. Pure Luxury Transportation is a leader in environmental responsibility. As members of Green Ride Global™, Pure Luxury has committed to GHG emissions reductions from all areas of the company’s business operations of 20 percent over the next 5 years.