Sonoma Russian River Valley wineries

Best Wineries in The Russian River Valley

September 25, 2018 • By THIRDHOME


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In Sonoma County, between Sepestapol and Santa Rosa, sits The Russian River Valley American Viticultural Area. Producing one-sixth of Sonoma County’s wine, this region is known for its cool temperature, ocean breezes and delicious varietals. Spared largely from the 2017 California wildfires, these wineries continue to produce world-class wines while giving back to local organizations such as the Redwood Credit Union’s North Bay Fire Relief Fund to help displaced residence. Visit Sonoma County and support local wine producers during your next stay. Each bottle purchased leaves a real impact for vintners and local Sonoma businesses.

With over 300 wineries in the area, choosing the right wineries to visit during your stay can be difficult.

But don’t worry, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. We’ve discovered 5 vineyards that are a must when visiting the best wineries in The Russian River Valley. Check out our picks below and click to check out nearby availability on the Exchange.


1. Garry Farrell Vineyards and Winery

Gary Farrell Winery Best Wineries in Russian River Valley

Where: 10701 Westside Road Healdsburg, CA 95448

Why: What would a Best Wineries in the Russian River Valley list be without Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery. With the arrival of winemaster Theresa Heredia in 2012, Gary Farell varietals, particularly the Pinot Noir, have been collecting accolades left and right. Their selection of Pinot Noirs have hovered in the mid 90 point range since 2015, with a few broaching the 95 points threshold. These are some outstanding wines you won’t want to miss.

Hours: By appointment only. Call 707.473.2909 to schedule a tasting.

Varietals: Chardonay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel

Price: Garry Farell offers three tasting options in their newly remodeled tasting room. Some options include an estate sommelier.

Click here to visit the Garry Farrell Vineyards and Winery website.


2. J Vineyards and Winery

J Winery Best Wineries in Russian River Valley

Where: 11447 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Why: J Vineyards was opened in 1986 and quickly developed a reputation for exceptional sparkling wines and varietals. Winemaker, Nicole Hitchcock, uses several unique methods to maximize quality, such as hand-harvesting and sorting. This special attention to detail, combined with The Russian River Valley’s unique terroir, makes J Vineyards wine some of the most unique in Sonoma. If you’re a sparkling wine fan (no, it’s not technically champagne) you’ll easily spend a full day tasting their selection of Bruts, semi-drys and rosés.

Hours: J Vineyards offers tastings in both the J Bubble Room and the Legacy Reserve Lounge. Reservations are highly recommended. Call 707.431.5430 to reserve your tasting today.

J Bubble Room (Educational wine and food pairing program)

The Legacy Lounge (Wine tastings with artisanal cheese pairings)

Varietals: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, sparkling wines and other unique varietals.

Price: J Vineyards offers 4 tasting options.

Click here to visit the J Vineyards and Winery website.


3. Benovia Vineyards and Winery

Benovia winery Best Wineries in Russian River Valley

Where: 3339 Hartman Road Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Why: Hard work, modesty and sustainability is what makes Benovia stand out from the pack. The Benovia team works all year to nurture their vineyards until harvest season, when they begin harvesting the grapes in the dead of night for peak flavor. Benovia makes a conscientious effort to install solar panels, reduce C02 emissions and mitigate electric use as a part of their commitment to sustainability. Benovia’s Cohn Estate Vineyard is also certified organic. You’ll love visiting the Benovia Ranch House for an afternoon of casual tastings and beautiful vineyard views.

Hours: By appointment only. Open daily from 10am-3:30pm. Call 707.921.1040 to schedule a tasting.

Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Grenache

Price: Benovia Vineyards offers 1 tasting option at their modern Ranch House.

Click here to visit the Benovia Vineyards and Winery website.


4. J. Rochioli Vineyards and Winery

Rochioli winery russian river valley wineries Best Wineries in Russian River Valley

Where: 6192 Westside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Why: Wine Spectator has named J. Rochioli’s Pinot Noir the “Best Pinot Noir in America” since 1985. The 2016 Estate Pinot Noir, the latest to be evaluated, was given a score of 90-points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate–not too shabby. Rochioli’s accolades are too many to count, but their consistency in quality is hard to beat. Especially given that the Rochioli name has been in the Sonoma wine lexicon for nearly 80 years. The 2017 Estate Pinot Noir is now available at the tasting room for those looking to make an early judgement.

Hours: The Rochioli tasting room will be closed on October 12, 13, and 14 for a member’s only event.

Varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.

Price: Rochioli Vineyards and Winery offers one tasting option.

Click here to visit the Rochioli Vineyards and Winery website.


5. La Crema

Best Wineries in Russian River Valley La Crema

Where: La Crema invites guests to enjoy tastings at their Healdsburg Tasting Room and Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard.

Why: With locations in the central and southern area of the Russian River Valley, La Crema makes it easy and accessible to enjoy their locally produced wines. You’ll also have access to their other appellation varietals including wines from the  Willamette Valley, Sonoma Coast and Monterey. Attend a tasting while exploring downtown Healdsburg or make the trip to Saralee’s Vineyard for an afternoon of delightful vineyard views and wine tasting. The vineyard tour tasting option is extra special because you can hop from vineyard to vineyard tasting wine while standing on the soil it was produced on and learning how the terroir and Russian River microclimate delivers a unique flavor to each patch of land.

Hours: For both locations. Reservations are highly recommended. Call 707.526.6200 to reserve your tasting today.

Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay,

Price: Some tasting options are limited to the tasting location.

Click here to visit the La Crema Vineyards and Winery website.


What’s listed above barely scratches the surface of the Russian River Valley’s massive selection of wine varietals. To get to know the region and its wines more intimately, try booking a stay in Sonoma County. You’ll be glad you didn’t pass up on a potentially life-changing Pinot Noir. And you’ll feel good knowing you did your part supporting the local vintner community of Russian River Valley.


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