About Visiting Wineries

Sonoma Valley wineries welcome visitors with open arms. Winery employess are proud of what they do and enjoy sharing. Of course, every winery has it’s own personality. That’s what makes it interesting. We’ve included a A Few Good Tips for Wine Tasting in this section, along with lots of other helpful information, including suggestions on how to get wine back home.

A Few Good Tips For Visiting Wineries


o Groups of 6 or more adults should make advance appointments
o Visiting more than four wineries in a day is going to be exhausting
o Avoid limo style vehicles if you want to see the sights from the road
o Wineries w/ tasting fees – check visitor centers, hotels, etc for 2 for 1 coupons
o Wineries w/out  tasting fees – it is a courtesy to buy at least one bottle of wine
o Picnicking is welcome at many wineries, provided you buy picnic wine on-site
o Visa Signature Card holders get reduced fees and discounts at some wineries

o Best wine shipping rates can often be obtained at the winery

Sonoma Valley Vintners Association

sonoma-valley-vintnersThe Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA) comprises hundreds of member wineries and grape growers  who work together to promote awareness of the Sonoma Valley and its extraordinary wines and grapes, its incomparable climate, and its richly diverse terrain and terroir.

SVVGA Web Site

SVVGA Winery Map Download (pdf)

Heart of Sonoma Valley Winery Association

heart-of-sonoma-valley-mapThirty-four wineries located in the northern half of Sonoma Valley, in the Glen Ellen and Kenwood areas, are very active in organizing both educational and entertaining special events for visitors. Check out their Web site for upcoming events.
Heart of Sonoma Valley Web site

Wine Tasting Basics

You may wonder why smelling a wine is recommended before tasting and also about the practice of swirling. A simple explanation is our sense of taste is directly linked to our sense of smell. Flavors essentially act as odors and the smells of a wine make up its aroma sending signals to our brain.

Swirling a little before sniffing helps release the wine’s particular flavors. Smelling can also help discover any spoilage in a wine. A vinegar smell, for example, is common in wines that have turned becoming better suited to use as vinegar rather than drinking. Try smelling a wine before swirling and then smell it after swirling when it is at rest. You may notice a big difference.

When tasting, you might also try experimenting with how the wine tastes on various parts of your tongue. Taking a minute to sip and let it work around different areas of the tongue can open up awareness of different sensations.Keep in mind that sniffing and swirling is not necessary to enjoy a wine. It is though interesting and educational.


Shipping Wine Home

Laws regarding wine shipping differ from state to state and are constantly changing. It is illegal to ship wine into some states where it is actually a felony. If a winery has a distributor in certain states then they can ship into those states to that distributor.

Due to a U.S. Supreme Court decision, many more states do however allow direct shipping of wine today. Some have limits on how much can be shipped over a period of time, such as two cases (24 bottles) each year.

To find your state’s wine shipping laws please visit The Wine Institutes section on shipping. The link is: www.wineinstitute.org/initiatives/stateshippinglaws

If you are thinking of purchasing Sonoma Valley wine to ship outside of California, it is always best to ask the winery staff what states they currently ship to.

Please note it is illegal to ship wine via the United States Postal Service.

One company that can handle shipping your wine: www.nationalwineshipping.com.

Vintners & Growers Association Video

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