20 California Wineries You Can Visit Right Now (And Their Updated Protocols)

by Anne Roderique-Jones

20 California Wineries You Can Visit Right Now (And Their Updated Protocols)

by Anne Roderique-Jones

While a lot of travel is on halt at the moment, wineries are slowly starting to reopen. But things have changed a bit, and new safety precautions have been put in place in order to protect guests. Expect private tastings, fewer people, and wide open spaces. Here, 20 wineries that you can safely visit right now.

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Newton / Courtesy of Newton
Stags Leap
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Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Located just a few miles north of the city of Napa on the Silverado Trail, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has re-opened the with the FAY Outlook & Visitor Center, by appointment only. Guests can enjoy wines, set against the backdrop of the historic estate vineyards and the Stags Leap Palisades. This year marks the company’s 50th anniversary, and they’re pouring the Estate Collection Tasting Flight, which will include a bonus library pour in honor of this milestone anniversary.

Located just a few miles north of the city of Napa on the Silverado Trail, Stag’s Leap has re-opened with the FAY Outlook & Visitor Center by appointment only. Guests can enjoy wines, set against the backdrop of the historic estate vineyards and the Stags Leap Palisades. This year marks the company’s 50th anniversary, and they’re pouring the Estate Collection Tasting Flight, which will include a bonus library pour in honor of this milestone anniversary.

Stags Leap
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Tasting and Safety Info

Seated tasting appointments can be scheduled by reservation only Thursday to Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Masks are required when not seated, guests must remain in the vehicle until scheduled appointment time, and cash is not accepted at this time.

Seated tasting appointments can be scheduled by reservation only Thursday to Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Masks are required when not seated, guests must remain in the vehicle until scheduled appointment time, and cash is not accepted at this time.

Charles Krug Winery
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Charles Krug

The oldest winery in Napa Valley, Charles Krug Winery, was purchased by the Mondavi family in 1943 and has been family owned for 75 years and four generations. The tastings are served outside on the back lawn with spacious seating and gorgeous views.

Read more: 5 Over-the-Top Hotel Suites in Napa and Sonoma, and What They Cost

The oldest winery in Napa Valley, Charles Krug Winery, was purchased by the Mondavi family in 1943 and has been family owned for 75 years and four generations. The tastings are served outside on the back lawn with spacious seating and gorgeous views.

Charles Krug Winery
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Tasting and Safety Info

Charles Krug Winery has reopened in accordance with local guidelines of Napa County businesses. The reopening features the new Cabana Experience: five new wifi enabled cabanas on the winery’s picnic grounds, ideal for social distancing. Additionally, all tastings will be hosted outside and by appointment; wine will be delivered in pre-poured glasses and guided by a masked Wine Ambassador from a safe social distance. Napa County safety initiatives such as face masks, and proper hygiene techniques will be observed.

Charles Krug Winery has reopened in accordance of Napa County businesses. The reopening features the new Cabana Experience: five new wifi enabled cabanas on the winery’s picnic grounds, ideal for social distancing. Additionally, all tastings will be hosted outside and by appointment; wine will be delivered in pre-poured glasses and guided by a masked Wine Ambassador from a safe social distance. Napa County safety initiatives such as face masks, and proper hygiene techniques will be observed.

Cakebread Cellars
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Cakebread Cellars

What started as a garage project in Oakland, Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley has been around for nearly half a century. For warm weather days, Cakebread’s crisp Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc is ideal for sipping by the courtyard fountain.

Read more: Why You Should Tour Wine Country in the Off Season

What started as a garage project in Oakland, Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley has been around for nearly half a century. For warm weather days, Cakebread’s crisp Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc is ideal for sipping by the courtyard fountain.

Cakebread Cellars
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Tasting and Safety Info

Cakebread Cellars is offering one outside-only tasting of the Cakebread Classic per day, with a mix of red and white wines. The winery is not allowing more than six guests at once and all members have to be from the same party. Tastings last about an hour and are held outside.

Cakebread Cellars is offering one outside-only tasting of the Cakebread Classic per day, with a mix of red and white wines. The winery is not allowing more than six guests at once and all members have to be from the same party. Tastings last about an hour and are held outside.

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Le Crema

La Crema at Saralee’s Vineyard has reopened its doors with a customized outdoor experience. The family-owned and operated winery has focused exclusively on cool-climate coastal appellations, where California ocean breezes and fog allow their grapes to ripen slowly on the vine.  

La Crema at Saralee’s Vineyard has reopened its doors with a customized outdoor experience. The family-owned and operated winery has focused exclusively on cool-climate coastal appellations, where California ocean breezes and fog allow their grapes to ripen slowly on the vine.  

Le Crema
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Tasting and Safety Info

The winery is offering three tasting options (outdoor seating, tour and tasting, and picnic table). Reservations will be required and all staff will be wearing facial coverings and participate in pre-shift health screenings. The winery has provided hand sanitizing stations for guests, using limited contact protocols for all transactions, and following all the hygiene and health requirements consistent with CDC guidelines.

The winery is offering three tasting options (outdoor seating, tour and tasting, and picnic table). Reservations will be required and all staff will be wearing facial coverings and participate in pre-shift health screenings. The winery has provided hand sanitizing stations for guests, using limited contact protocols for all transactions, and following all the hygiene and health requirements consistent with CDC guidelines.

Aperture Cellars
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Aperture Cellars

Aperture Cellars reopened its doors to the new Aperture Estate that overlooks the northern Russian River Valley. The space, which had been under construction since 2018 on Healdsburg’s Old Redwood Highway, is the first dedicated winery and hospitality center for the label.

Read more: 9 New, Stylish, and Affordable California Wine-Country Hotels

Aperture Cellars reopened its doors to the new Aperture Estate that overlooks the northern Russian River Valley. The space, which had been under construction since 2018 on Healdsburg’s Old Redwood Highway, is the first dedicated winery and hospitality center for the label.

Aperture Cellars
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Tasting and Safety Info

The Aperture Estate offers curated wine and food experiences in a modern setting, featuring a seated tasting bar, private spaces, and an outdoor terrace overlooking the vineyards and the Russian River. The space was specifically designed with private tastings in mind, which follows the Sonoma County safety standards. The reservation-only tastings include the Soil Series and Site Series.

The Aperture Estate offers curated wine and food experiences in a modern setting, featuring a seated tasting bar, private spaces, and an outdoor terrace overlooking the vineyards and the Russian River. The space was specifically designed with private tastings in mind, which follows the Sonoma County safety standards. The reservation-only tastings include the Soil Series and Site Series.

Hamel Family Wines
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Hamel Family Wines

Hamel Family Wines, a family-owned and operated winery located in Sonoma Valley, uses biodynamic farming practice. Opened in 2014, the winery was founded by Pamela and George, Jr. and is currently led by two of their four children, George, III and John. Guests can taste in the winery, the vineyards, or the Estate House.

Read more: A Guide to Savoring Sonoma County, California: From Wine to Redwoods

Hamel Family Wines, a family-owned and operated winery located in Sonoma Valley, uses biodynamic farming practice. Opened in 2014, the winery was founded by Pamela and George, Jr. and is currently led by two of their four children, George, III and John. Guests can taste in the winery, the vineyards, or the Estate House.

Hamel Family Wines
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Tasting and Safety Info

As Hamel Family Wines reopens to guests, the team offers private tastings on a reservation-only basis with a designated Estate Ambassador to lead each group through a curated, personalized wine and food tasting experience. The winery boasts multiple options for outdoor seating with views of Sonoma Valley.

As Hamel Family Wines reopens to guests, the team offers private tastings on a reservation-only basis with a designated Estate Ambassador to lead each group through a curated, personalized wine and food tasting experience. The winery boasts multiple options for outdoor seating with views of Sonoma Valley.

J Vineyards & Winery
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J Vineyards & Winery

J Vineyards & Winery has been making fine wines in the Russian River Valley for over 25 years. Just south of Headlesburg, the winery is known for their sparkling and varietal wine.

J Vineyards & Winery has been making wine in the Russian River Valley for over 25 years. Just south of Headlesburg, the winery is known for their sparkling and varietal wine.

J Vineyards & Winery
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Tasting and Safety Info

The J Vineyards & Winery Tasting Room reopened with a reservation-only Legacy Lounge Tasting, hosted on the winery’s outdoor terrace. The tasting allows guests to choose a flight that’s paired with cheese.

The J Vineyards & Winery Tasting Room reopened with a reservation-only Legacy Lounge Tasting, hosted on the winery’s outdoor terrace. The tasting allows guests to choose a flight that’s paired with cheese.

Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery
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Sebastiani Vineyard and Winery

For over 100 years, Sonoma County’s Sebastiani has been making fine wines. Bill Foley purchased the winery in 2008 and has since continued the process. The sprawling grounds are the ideal place to sip wine while socially distancing.

For over 100 years, Sonoma County’s Sebastiani has been making fine wines. Bill Foley purchased the winery in 2008 and has since continued the process. The sprawling grounds are the ideal place to sip wine while socially distancing.

Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery
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Tasting and Safety Information

Sebastiani is offering reservation-only tastings, Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Tastings will be seated and in the courtyard, with a maximum of six guests. Picnic tables can also be reserved to enjoy wine by the glass or bottle. Currently, no outside food is permitted, but charcuterie boards are available for purchase.

Sebastiani is offering reservation-only tastings, Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Tastings will be seated and in the courtyard, with a maximum of six guests. Picnic tables can also be reserved to enjoy wine by the glass or bottle. Currently, no outside food is permitted, but charcuterie boards are available for purchase.

Banshee
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Banshee

Founded in just 2008, Banshee is known for their limited production, small lot, handcrafted wines from Sonoma. The brand has become an instant success, with creative takes on their product. The super hip tasting room feels more like your most stylish friend’s den, and offers a chic atmosphere for sipping wine.

Founded in just 2008, Banshee is known for their limited production, small lot, handcrafted wines from Sonoma. The brand has become an instant success, with creative takes on their product. The super hip tasting room feels more like your most stylish friend’s den, and offers a chic atmosphere for sipping wine.

Banshee
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Tasting and Safety Info

Banshee is open for visitors by reservation only, Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the patio. The patio is open for wines by the glass and bottle, and due to limited seating the winery is limiting the group size to two guests. Parties of three to six can email the winery for potential availability.

Banshee is open for visitors by reservation only, Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the patio. The patio is open for wines by the glass and bottle, and due to limited seating the winery is limiting the group size to two guests. Parties of three to six can email the winery for potential availability.

Louis M Martini Winery
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Louis M. Martini Winery

If you’re a fan of Cabs, look no further. Louis M. Martini Winery has been a cornerstone in Napa Valley since 1933, and for generations, the Martini family has been making their portfolio of excellent Cabernet Sauvignon.

Read more: How to: Choose Between Napa and Sonoma

If you’re a fan of Cabs, look no further. Louis M. Martini Winery has been a cornerstone in Napa Valley since 1933, and for generations, the Martini family has been making their portfolio of excellent Cabernet Sauvignon.

Louis M Martini Winery
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Tasting and Safety Info

Tasting experiences (which include Heritage Lounge Tasting and the Martini Park Tasting) are by appointment only, seated, and hosted outdoors. In addition, the winery has reduced capacity, distanced the tables, and increased time between appointments. Guests are requested to wear a face covering whenever they are interacting with team members or are away from their table.

Tasting experiences (which include Heritage Lounge Tasting and the Martini Park Tasting) are by appointment only, seated, and hosted outdoors. In addition, the winery has reduced capacity, distanced the tables, and increased time between appointments. Guests are requested to wear a face covering whenever they are interacting with team members or are away from their table.

William Hill Estate Winery
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William Hill Estate

Founded in 1976 by William Hill, the William Hill Estate winery is located on 200 acres at the foot of Atlas Peak on the Silverado Bench. The modern buildings have plenty of outdoor space with views of Napa Valley.

Founded in 1976 by William Hill, the William Hill Estate winery is located on 200 acres at the foot of Atlas Peak on the Silverado Bench. The modern buildings have plenty of outdoor space with views of Napa Valley.

William Hill Estate Winery
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Tasting and Safety Info

Tastings are appointment only and take place on the terrace, overlooking acres of vineyards. Currently, there are two tasting options that ensure a personalized experience and should be reserved 48 hours in advance. The winery has enhanced health and safety practices and continues to follow industry-leading guidelines set by Wine Institute as well as all state and local regulations.

Tastings are appointment-only and take place on the terrace, overlooking acres of vineyards. Currently, there are two tasting options that ensure a personalized experience and should be reserved 48 hours in advance. The winery has enhanced health and safety practices and continues to follow industry-leading guidelines set by Wine Institute as well as all state and local regulations.

Pinnacles overlooking Courtesy of Chalone Vineyard
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Chalone Vineyard

Known for being Monterey’s first winery, Chalone lies in the remote Gavilan Mountain Range, 1,800 feet above California's Salinas Valley; it’s one of the few US wineries to grow grapes in limestone-based soils, similar to Burgundy. The result is a fantastic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Known for being Monterey’s first winery, Chalone lies in the remote Gavilan Mountain Range, 1,800 feet above California's Salinas Valley; it’s one of the few US wineries to grow grapes in limestone-based soils, similar to Burgundy. The result is a fantastic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Chalone Vineyard
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Tasting and Safety Info

Chalone is open for reservation-only tastings Friday through Sunday at the estate in Soledad. The outdoor wine tasting includes five different estate wines in an outdoor tasting setting with a Wine Educator.

Chalone is open for reservation-only tastings Friday through Sunday at the estate in Soledad. The outdoor wine tasting includes five different estate wines in an outdoor tasting setting with a Wine Educator.

Clif Family Winery
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Clif Family Winery

Known as the “Bike Wine” in St. Helena, Clif Family Winery was founded in 2006 when Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford were inspired by making wine estate stops on a biking trip in Northern Italy. Today, the bright blue tasting room offers fun wine and bike packages.

Known as the “Bike Wine” in St. Helena, Clif Family Winery was founded in 2006 when Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford were inspired by making wine estate stops on a biking trip in Northern Italy. Today, the bright blue tasting room offers fun wine and bike packages.

Clif Family Winery
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Tasting and Safety Info

Outdoor seasonal wine tastings on the patio are available by appointment, Thursday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. Virtual tastings with a wine educator are also available. We also love that Clif offers a Napa Valley by Bike package (Thursday through Sunday), which includes a bike rental with a helmet, an espresso or coffee, a Clif Bar, a customized self-guided tour through St Helena (or beyond), and post-ride wine and food pairing at Clif Family Winery.

Outdoor seasonal wine tastings on the patio are available by appointment, Thursday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. Virtual tastings with a wine educator are also available. We also love that Clif offers a Napa Valley by Bike package (Thursday through Sunday), which includes a bike rental with a helmet, an espresso or coffee, a Clif Bar, a customized self-guided tour through St Helena (or beyond), and post-ride wine and food pairing at Clif Family Winery.

Dutcher Crossing Vineyard
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Dutcher Crossing Winery

Dutcher Crossing offers more than 30 wines from the regions of Sonoma, Mendocino, and Napa counties. Guests can sip at the winery’s 1900-era farmhouse that lies on 35 acres of vineyards at the Dry Creek and namesake Dutcher Creek crossing.

Dutcher Crossing offers more than 30 wines from the regions of Sonoma, Mendocino, and Napa counties. Guests can sip at the winery’s 1900-era farmhouse that lies on 35 acres of vineyards at the Dry Creek and namesake Dutcher Creek crossing.

Dutcher Crossing Vineyard
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Tasting and Safety Info

Dutcher Crossing Winery offers appointment-only 1.5-hour outdoor tastings to allow for cleaning and disinfecting between reservations.

Dutcher Crossing Winery offers appointment-only 1.5-hour outdoor tastings to allow for cleaning and disinfecting between reservations.

Oak Farm Vineyards
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Oak Farm Vineyards

Owned and operated by the Panella family, Oak Farm Vineyards is a winery and tasting room located in Lodi. Oak Farm produces classic wines from a Zinfandel to Albarino and Barbera. The tasting room lies on a 70-acre property with plenty of outdoor space for spreading out and sipping under the old oak trees.

Owned and operated by the Panella family, Oak Farm Vineyards is a winery and tasting room located in Lodi. Oak Farm produces classic wines from a Zinfandel to Albarino and Barbera. The tasting room lies on a 70-acre property with plenty of outdoor space for spreading out and sipping under the old oak trees.

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Tasting and Safety Info

Oak Farm Vineyards is currently open with modified operations in accordance with the area’s guidelines. Guests can enjoy wine on the patio with reservation only for bottle and glass purchases. Outside food and beverages are not allowed and the maximum group size is six people; the entire party must be seated at once and must stay at the designated table.

Oak Farm Vineyards is currently open with modified operations in accordance with the area’s guidelines. Guests can enjoy wine on the patio with reservation only for bottle and glass purchases. Outside food and beverages are not allowed and the maximum group size is six people; the entire party must be seated at once and must stay at the designated table.

Newton
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Newton

Located in Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain, Newton was founded by Peter Newton, who discovered unfiltered winemaking in Burgundy in the 1970s. He brought the technique to the US and opened his namesake in 1977. The Unfiltered Chardonnay is a favorite, and best enjoyed with Napa Valley vistas.

Located in Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain, Newton was founded by Peter Newton, who discovered unfiltered winemaking in Burgundy in the 1970s. He brought the technique to the US and opened his namesake in 1977. The Unfiltered Chardonnay is a favorite, and best enjoyed with Napa Valley vistas.

Newton
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Tasting and Safety Info

All of Newton’s tastings are offered by appointment only, and tours include a guided stroll through Newton’s English and French gardens and a visit to the underground barrel caves. A range of tasting offerings include the Newton Discovery, Single Vineyard Immersion, and New Vineyard Exploration.  

All of Newton’s tastings are offered by appointment only, and tours include a guided stroll through Newton’s English and French gardens and visit to the underground barrel caves. A range of tasting offerings include the Newton Discovery, Single Vineyard Immersion, and New Vineyard Exploration.  

Pine Ridge Vineyards
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Pine Ridge Vineyards

Established in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley in 1978, Pine Ridge Vineyards produces wines from the estate vineyards, and are specifically known for their signature white wine blend Chenin Blanc + Viognier. The gorgeous grounds are an ideal place for sipping with plenty of space.

Established in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley in 1978, Pine Ridge Vineyards produces wines from the estate vineyards, and are specifically known for their signature white wine blend Chenin Blanc + Viognier. The gorgeous grounds are an ideal place for sipping with plenty of space.

Pine Ridge Vineyards
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Tasting and Safety Info

The tasting room is open for private outdoor tastings and curbside pickup, both by appointment. Three outdoor tasting experiences are on offer, including a garden tasting. Masks are required when not seated, as is social distancing, and contract tracing.

The tasting room is open for private outdoor tastings and curbside pickup, both by appointment. Three outdoor tasting experiences are on offer, including a garden tasting. Masks are required when not seated, as is social distancing, and contract tracing.

The Donum Estate
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Donum Estate

Founded in 2001, The Donum Estate in Canernos almost feels more like an outdoor art museum than a winery. With new tasting experiences, Donum’s outdoor sculpture collection creates the perfect setting to enjoy award-winning wine, art, and pairings.

Founded in 2001, The Donum Estate in Canernos almost feels more like an outdoor art museum than a winery. With new tasting experiences, Donum’s outdoor sculpture collection creates the perfect setting to enjoy award-winning wine, art, and pairings.

The Donum Estate
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Tasting and Safety Info

In keeping with county and state mandates and guidelines, all of the tastings will be private and take place outdoors. Masks are required for all guests and staff.

In keeping with county and state mandates and guidelines, all of the tastings will be private and take place outdoors. Masks are required for all guests and staff.

Nickel & Nickel
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Nickel & Nickel

Originally settled as a farmstead in the 1880’s, Nickel & Nickel started in Oakville in 1997 by the Far Niente Family of Wineries and Vineyards. The property is a stand-out with a smattering of barns (including a fermentation barn) along with the site’s original Queen Ann-style home. It’s a quaint and personal tasting experience.

Originally settled as a farmstead in the 1880’s, Nickel & Nickel started in Oakville in 1997 by the Far Niente Family of Wineries and Vineyards. The property is a stand-out with a smattering of barns (including a fermentation barn) along with the site’s original Queen Ann-style home. It’s a quaint and personal tasting experience.

Nickel & Nickel
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Tasting and Safety Info

Here, all experiences are hosted outside in the courtyard and garden areas with ample shade from the land’s trees. The two wine experiences at Nickel & Nickel are private, with limited, appointment-only seating.

Here, all experiences are hosted outside in the courtyard and garden areas with ample shade from the land’s trees. The two wine experiences at Nickel & Nickel are private, with limited, appointment-only seating.

Seghesio Family Vineyards
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Seghesio Family Vineyards

Established in 1895, when Italian immigrant Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, Seghesio Family Vineyards has been producing wine through five generations and over 120 years. The winery is especially known for its Zinfandels. Located just blocks from downtown Healdsburg Plaza, the tasting room is ideally situated and boasts “The Grove” for outdoor tastings.

Read more: Healdsburg: A Fresh Take on California Wine Country

Established in 1895, when Italian immigrant Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, Seghesio Family Vineyards has been producing wine through five generations and over 120 years. The winery is especially known for its Zinfandels. Located just blocks from downtown Healdsburg Plaza, the tasting room is ideally situated and boasts “The Grove” for outdoor tastings.

Seghesio Family Vineyards
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Tasting and Safety Info

Tastings are by appointment only, and guests are required to wear a face mask when not seated, practice social distancing, and provide contact information;  pets or outside food are not allowed.

Tastings are by appointment only, and guests are required to wear a face mask when not seated, practice social distancing, and provide contact information;  pets or outside food are not allowed.

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