10 Mind-Blowing Sparkling Wine Tours That Are Sure to Impress Your Guests in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino Counties
Black Friday or sparkling?
With relatives and friends on their way for a holiday weekend, and others who may show up closer to Christmas or New Year, it’s likely you’ll be called upon to act as a guide after the dishes. holiday will have been washed and put away. Do you have your itinerary in hand?
If the answer is no, remember you live in heaven, with elegant sparkling wines in your own backyard that rival the quality of French champagne. This time of year, the wineries are all dressed up for the holidays and ready to entertain your guests, so it’s only fitting that you share a slice of the good life by taking your loved ones on a sparkling tour of Wine Country.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 sparkling wine houses in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties and identified the key “sense of place” for each so you have the best property experience possible.
Your guests will soon be knocking on your door, so there’s no time to waste. Go through the list and make your plan.
We start the loop in Sebastopol and head east through Sonoma and Napa, then head north through Napa Valley and west to Healdsburg and Guerneville. You can start anytime along the way, and if you want to add two destination wineries in Mendocino County, plan a trip to Philo in the beautiful Anderson Valley.
Iron Horse Vineyards
Sense of place – The boutique vibe of this family-run operation makes for a particularly charming experience. “You can look down on all of Sonoma County to Mount St. Helena, with the vineyards stretching out at your feet,” said Partner/CEO Joy Sterling.
Don’t miss – The mini-dosage tasting will show you how sparkling wines are finished by adding extra wine. As Sterling explains, “It’s amazing how less than one percent of the contents of the bottle can change the style of wines so drastically…much like seasoning in cooking.”
Boost Your Wine IQ – The 2000 Brut LD (Late Disgorged) has aged for 14 years, and you can sample this elegant, refined sparkling in the tasting room.
ironhorsevineyards.com, 9786 Ross Station Road, Sevastopol, (707) 887-1507.
Caves and vineyards of Gloria Ferrer
Sense of Place – The architecture of this winery was inspired by a classic Catalan farmhouse, revealing Gloria Ferrer’s lineage with the Ferrer family of Spain. The property offers views of the vineyards and San Pablo Bay.
Don’t Miss – The renovated visitor center is the starting point for tours that showcase the underground caves as well as food and wine pairings.
Boost Your Wine IQ – In partnership with UC Davis, Gloria Ferrer led the first and most definitive clonal research trials on pinot noir and chardonnay clones from Champagne, France. You can learn more about it during the visit.
gloriaferrer.com, 23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, (707) 933-1917.
NAPA/SONOMA COUNTY LINE
Sense of place – This sparkling house is an ornate French chateau with gorgeous views that reach deep into the Carneros region. On cold days there is usually a fire in the tasting room.
Don’t miss – The elegant style of sparklers is what head winemaker Eileen Crane compares to “Audrey Hepburn in a little black dress.”
Boost Your Wine IQ – The flagship sparkling here is Le Reve, which means “The Dream” in French.
domaincarneros.com, 1240 Duhig Road, just off Highway 12 between Napa and Sonoma, (707) 257-0101.
Mumm’s historic wooden buildings are nestled on the hillside among native California oaks. The view from the back patio is of vineyards and the Mayacamas mountains. The objective was for the winery to blend into the environment
Don’t Miss – Before you start tasting, take a look at the winery’s Ansel Adams photography gallery.
Boost your Wine IQ – Then go for the Heritage Collection. This is a sample of DVX wines, named after founding winemaker Guy Devaux.
mummnapa.com, 8445 Silverado Trail, Napa (707) 967-7700.
Sense of place – To access this sparkling elegant home there is a bridge, and once you cross it you see a beautiful park-like grounds filled with gardens and a duck pond. This modern winery is usually crowded, so you’ll want to start early.
Don’t miss – Here you can enjoy sparkling wines as well as cocktails such as mimosas and bellinis. Less common bottlings are also available, including Sparkling Red and still wine, Pinot Meunier.
Boost Your Wine IQ – Daniel Shanks, the official White House sommelier, worked at the restaurant on the Domaine Chandon property in the 1990s. It closed in 2014.
chandon.com, 1 California Drive, Yountville, (888) 242 6366.