I was in Sonoma yesterday and the weather was perfect with the sun setting over the hills covered in grapevines with sunflowers blowing in the breeze. There are parts of Sonoma that look a lot like Italy, partly due to the topography, with its valleys and hills covered in olive trees and vineyards. Also because Italian immigrants and their families built tasting rooms that resemble structures from their homeland.
There are a lot of Italian varietals of grapes that were brought over and are now grown in this part of the world. The microclimates are similar so certain grapes grow well in equivalent soils, and today there is a proud legacy of Italian winegrowers in the region.
If you love beautiful scenery and good wine and don’t feel like dusting off your passport to fly across the Atlantic, the wineries and tasting rooms featured below will give you a taste of Italy and the feeling you’ve been transported.
In many ways, this winery is the queen of the Napa Valley. Known by locals as The Castle, the structure took fifteen years to build using the same methods from centuries ago to make it as authentic as possible. Most of the bricks and furnishings were was imported from Europe. Reservations are required to even get through the gate, but you can take a virtual tour here.
Located on the main Highway 29 that runs through the Napa Valley is this Italian inspired tasting room, it’s very popular among locals and visitors too. Drop in and purchase food and wine from their extensive deli and enjoy on the grounds under shady oak trees. Reservations for wine tastings are required in advance.
Located in the Sonoma Valley in the cooler Carneros region, the Jacuzzi vineyards cover 190 acres. They specialize in a variety of Italian varietals and use sustainable farming practices. Housed in their tasting room you’ll also find The Olive Press where you can shop olive oils for cooking or dipping, also seasonings, skin care, and tableware. Open daily 11-5, make tasting reservations here.
Next door to Jacuzzi is Viansa, its owners have their roots in Tuscany. Their tasting room sits high atop a knoll with a large terrace that looks down over panoramic view of the Sonoma valley covered in vineyards. Open daily and walk ins are welcome. They also have a great events calendar for planning your trip.
Nestled in the heart of Kenwood in the Sonoma Valley sits this tasting room that resembles a small villa in Tuscany. Enjoy wine and a pizza in the sunny courtyard or take a stroll around the property and gardens, glass in hand. Be sure to grab one of their famous pasta sauces while you’re there to take back home with you.
Founded by immigrants from Tuscany, Sebastiani has a long history in the Sonoma valley. Open for walk in or tastings by reservation. Friday nights are extra fun in the summer with live music provided.
Reservations are required to visit the Tuscan inspired estate in the Napa Valley. They’ll provide a tour and charcuterie board to pair with your wine.
Located in Calistoga, this winery makes Super Tuscan blends and offers tours of their wine caves filled with marble statues.
Located in the Dry Creek Valley in Healdsburg, the elegant Ferarri-Carano estate makes world famous sustainable wines and if you visit you can see their exquisite formal gardens and fountains too. You can book a Sunday brunch or a happy hour pizza and wine on the terrace.
Next month I’ll share the wineries of Napa & Sonoma that feel like France. :)