You may have dreamed of a large Wine Country wedding, prince and/or princess style with some 200 guests. But reality finds that Sonoma/Napa wine estates often can only welcome a few dozen friends and family. So put these larger scale venues on your list.
St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
If you prefer indoors, the Dining Room is a beautiful reception area, boasting coffered ceiling, a fireplace, Palladian windows, and French doors opening onto the patio. Or you may prefer the expansive lawn, framed by estate vineyards and stunning views of the Sonoma Valley in the shadow of Hood Mountain. Accommodating groups up to 220 guests, this Tuscan estate still feels intimate, tucked in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains. And the talents of the estate chef make the wedding meal a true culinary experience.
500 N. Pythian Road, Santa Rosa
Soda Rock Winery
First, reserve the high style guest suites that were added to the property a few years ago, for honeymooners and your wedding party members wishing to stay the night. Then, plan how you’d like to decorate the already beautiful airy and natural-light filled barrel room in the back of the winery that has been converted to private party space for up to 250 guests. The mossy stone building where Soda Rock Winery stands today was built in 1869, as one of Healdsburg’s first general stores and post offices. In 1880, it became Alexander Valley’s first bonded winery. Today, the historic estate is one of the most beautiful, but off-the-radar locations for a wedding, complete with a tasting room anchored by a long, dark polished wood bar that had been salvaged from a local tavern.
8015 Highway 128, Healdsburg
Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery
Wedding parties have lots of settings to choose from, amid more than 1,300 acres of vineyards, mountain tops, a winery, hospitality center, culinary garden, stables, equestrian pavilion, fishing and swimming ponds, expansive wilderness areas, and a Spanish style chapel. And what’s not to admire about the Estate Pavilion, an elegant hillside Chateau spanning 2,480 square feet and decorated with a handcrafted 21-foot tall French Louis XIII-style limestone fireplace, polished hardwood floors, European furniture and 2,184 square feet of terraces? The real bomb: picture windows open up to the Olympic-sized dressage riding arena at ground level, beautifully crafted of Alaskan golden cedar and with a floor that can be overlaid for dancing for up to 400 people.
10300 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg
Trentadue Family Estate Winery and Vineyards
Large gatherings love the Tuscan-style winery’s Sala del Leone Vineyard Pavilion, gracious with high ceilings capped in exposed beams, and arched French doors overlooking the estate vineyards. The versatile space is perfect for up to 250 guests indoors and up to 500 guests outdoors, including exclusive use of all special event areas including the Garden Arbors, South Lawn and Gardens, and North Lawn, flanked by vine-covered arbors, Italian fountains, shaded gardens and views of vineyards, redwood forests and mountains.
19170 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville
Chateau St. Jean
You’ve seen this palace on theknot.com, an online authority that showcases the world’s most fabulous weddings. The Kenwood property is indeed sumptuous, spanning 270 acres of lush Sugarloaf Ridge foothills, anchored by lavish formal gardens embracing a grand Mediterranean mansion capped by an elaborate turret. For groups of 300+ guests, look to the Grand Lawn, featuring the historic Chateau as a dramatic backdrop, plus vineyard and mountain views. Everything can be customized, too, from lantern lighting in the trees to a cocktail and bubble lounge to the al fresco sit-down reception.
8555 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood
Tip: It’s easy to shepherd large wedding groups to even the most remote sites, with elegant limo-style shuttle buses from Pure Luxury Transportation.