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.


Click below to find your next wine country stay!

Exchange Homes near The Russian River Valley



THIRDHOME Adventures are meant to transform your idea of travel. Discover what makes this THIRDHOME Adventure to Argentina & Chile so special below:


Combine your love of wine, wildlife and the great outdoors with this THIRDHOME Adventure:

thirdhome adventures



Top 5 Highlights from Landscapes of Argentina & Chile: Wines, Wildlife and Cowboys

thirdhome adventures

1. Witnessing Southern right whales, elephant seals, fur seals, orcas and more on the Atlantic coast.

On this THIRDHOME Adventure you will spend a day at the Valdes Peninsula Reserve. This nature reserve is inhabited by roughly 32,000 southern elephant seals, 8,000 southern sea lions and the largest breeding population of southern  right whales on earth. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to photograph one of these majestic creatures emerging from the water off Argentina’s coast.

thirdhome adventures

2. Walking with the Magellanic penguins.

Also located in the Valdez Peninsula Reserve is one of the world’s largest nesting colonies of Magellanic penguins. These medium size penguins are named for Ferdinand Magellan who saw them on his expedition in 1520. Walk with these adorable creatures at Estancia San Lorenzo, a private property that’s home to around 50,000 penguins. These penguins are very used to human visitors and will walk right along side you along the Patagonian steppe.

thirdhome adventures

3. Watching for herds of guanaco and rhea, lesser & greater cavy, Patagonian fox and more.

There’s also an abundance of land critters to keep an eye out for. Watch for roaming herds of guanacos as they navigate their Patagonian terrain. Search for the flightless Rhea, South America’s largest bird. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the shy Patagonian grey fox as they emerge from their dens.


4. Experience tastings at exceptional wineries in Argentina and Chile’s world-famous wine regions.

Discover both Argetina’s and Chile’s world-class wineries. Visit Mendoza, Argentina, in the high-altitude Cuyo region to taste varietals from one of the “Great Wine Capitals” of the world. You’ll also have a chance to taste the wines of Uco Valley, primarily known for their Malbec, merlot, pinot noir, semillon and torrontes varieties. In Chile, you’ll explore the Maipu Valley and its many family-run wineries. You’ll have the opportunity to visit three wineries per region, learning about all the varieties and distillation processes amidst the scenic backdrop of the Andes Mountains.

thirdhome adventures

5. Traversing the landscape as it changes from coast to mountain.

This Adventure will take you from the Atlantic coast of Argentina, through the Mendoza wine region, by road through the Andes, through Chile’s Andean desert and finally to Chile’s lush coastal region. You’ll be surrounded by stunning mountain views even as the setting changes around you. The variety of backdrops invokes an idea of drastically different worlds colliding into one masterful scene. You have the opportunity to discover this harmony of difference yourself by signing up for this THIRDHOME Adventure.


To learn more about this THIRDHOME Adventure visit our Landscapes of Argentina & Chile Adventure page to request more information.


THIRDHOME members have recently returned from Marrakech, Morocco, and Impruneta, Italy. Keep reading to learn about their THIRDHOME Experience.



Dar Zitouna | Marrakech, Morocco

Just outside Marrakech, you’ll find Dar Zitouna, a chic desert oasis with contemporary interiors. With room for 10 people, you won’t have trouble finding space for family and fellow travelers. Enjoy the well-appointed garden terrace, swimming pool and surrounding citrus trees, as you gaze at the towering Atlas Mountains in the distance. Spend the day in the colorful markets of Marrakech, but be sure to make it back before tea time. Traditional Moroccan tea, housekeeping and breakfast are available at Dar Zitouna, to make your stay as seamless as possible.

THIRDHOME member Phillip says, “Dar Zitouna is a beautiful villa set outside Marrakech in a very private olive grove. Our family was fortunate to have the opportunity to stay at the villa while enjoying Marrakech and the surrounding Atlas Mountains…Dar Zitouna has been a unique and wonderful experience. We are sad to leave. ” click here to read more of Phillip’s review



Historic Tuscan Villa | Impruneta, Italy

With sections of the house dating back to the 1300’s, this property comes packing some serious history. This Pre-Renaissance villa and vineyard is located in a region of Tuscany with viticulture dating as far back as 1042 A.D.! That’s some well-aged wine. But that doesn’t mean that this spacious 7-bedroom home is outdated. Gorgeously appointed rooms and amenities like the gym, sauna, pool and service staff will make you feel more than comfortable while exploring the rolling hills of Chianti. Florence is also right around the corner, making this property a perfect launching point for a full-on tour of the Tuscan countryside.

THIRDHOME members Mark and Ana say, “Our group had a FANTASTIC stay at Villa La Querce. No photos can show how beautiful this villa truly is. We were all so excited and happy upon our arrival. They greeted us with appetizers and wine!… Many of the guests will return to rent this villa, it is well worth it!” click here to read more of Mark and Ana’s review


Members, click here to view all available weeks and plan your next THIRDHOME Exchange trip. Remember, you must be logged in to your account to see availability.

Want more information about our luxury home exchange club? Click here to learn more about THIRDHOME.

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