If you know me, you know wine tasting is one of my favorite activities to do on the weekends. Living in San Francisco makes it extremely convenient and easy to go wine tasting on a regular basis, and fortunately my group of friends love the activity just as much as I do! Fortunately there is usually one person (cough, Tom, cough) that so sweetly offers to drive home so I can enjoy a little more wine so I get a little spoiled, he’s such a sweetheart! While most people think of Napa or Sonoma for their wine tasting needs, I actually prefer to stay far away from those wineries. You may be wondering why that’s the case and it’s pretty simple, it’s way too touristy in that area! Because those wineries are completely filled with tourists and tour buses, I have found that the customer service is lagging and the prices for the tastings can get pretty high. Instead, my friends and I frequent Healdsburg (North of San Francisco instead of NE where Napa/Sonoma is located) for all of our tasting needs and just absolutely love it. I thought it would be helpful to showcase some of my favorite wineries in the event that you find yourself in Northern California and needing some delicious recommendations. You’ll also find a few pictures at the wineries I frequent most 🙂
VML — Tom and I have been wine club members here for quite some time. They are known for their pinot noirs and have a beautiful indoor and outdoor tasting area. Try and grab some cheese and crackers while you’re there and sit outside to enjoy wine and cheese. Awesome customer service as well which is a huge bonus.
Truett Hurst — Sister winery to VML. Absolutely delicious and really cool grounds as well. Can get a little packed but they are great about making room for everyone, I’ve even seen them add an additional bar for tasting so you don’t have to wait. They also have large outdoor tables there so people like to bring food with them there and eat lunch at the tables. Another bonus, there’s a good amount of wineries right near this one which makes it really convenient.
Thomas George — Located on the same road as VML. Super cool wine cave that you taste in and they have really delicious red wines as well. Different type of atmosphere from the other wineries since it’s dark inside the cave of course.
HKG Wines — Right near VML and Thomas George as well. I’ve only been there once but loved it and loved their sparkling rose as well. Cute little spot for sure and conveniently located if you go to the other wineries nearby it.
Chalk Hill — This is a personal favorite and not just because it’s where I got engaged, but because the grounds are absolutely spectacular and if it’s a beautiful day outside, you’ll never want to leave here. They do tours of the property and you will feel like you are in the middle of Tuscany when you get to the top of the tour (yup, right where Tom got down on one knee!). The wine is quite tasty and they are great about waving the tasting fee if you buy a bottle. If you have a larger group, I highly recommend calling in ahead to let them know your coming since they fill up quickly as it’s one of the more popular wineries in the area. This would be probably my number one recommendation when visiting the area.
Francis Coppola — This spot is a pretty well-known winery because of their pool. I think the wine is good, not great but they have a cool tasting room and the pool area is legit! I highly suggest if you are able to get there on a hott day, check this place out (and make sure you check about reservations online prior to your stop). Oooh, and if it’s on the colder side during your trip, you can probably just skip this one.
So there you go, a few of my favorite go-to spots. If there are any additional recommendations you have, feel free to let me know, I always love checking out new spots.