With approximately 3,000 wineries in California, it should come as no surprise that the state is a haven for wine lovers. Many of these wineries are not only known for their amazing wines but also their beautiful estates. From grand properties to small, rustic retreats, here is a look at some of the most picturesque vineyards found around the state.
Nestled among rolling hills lined with vines on the original Santa Rosa land grant, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards is a beauty found on the Buellton Wine Trail. Founded in 2005 by Richard and Thekla Sanford, the winery specializes in organic grapes using sustainable methods and offers guests a variety of wines, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Guests can sample the wines in town inside a beautiful space, complete with modern and rustic elements plus an olive tree.
Located in the Temecula Valley, Briar Rose Winery is a boutique, family-owned and operated winery featuring handcrafted, artisan wines. Opened in 2007 by the Linkogle family, the winery is situated in a fairytale setting on a property originally built in the 1970s by Belden Fields who worked for Walt Disney. The grounds contain Snow White cottages with lush landscapes making it a charming place where wine aficionados can sample a variety of red and white wines, including award-winning Cabernet Sauvignons and the ‘Talking Frog’ bubbly wine lager. Open Tuesday through Sunday, reservations are required to visit this gem.
Built over a 15-year period, Castello di Amorosa is a gorgeous winery creating primarily Italian-style wines and features a grand manor resembling a 13th-century Tuscan castle. The 107-room castle with its grandiose spaces, including the Great Hall with hand painted frescoes, an imported Tuscan fireplace, plus hand carved tables, is a must-see for any visitor to the Calistoga area. Surrounded by acres of vineyards and other picturesque outdoor scenery, it is a peaceful, serene place with stunning scenery around every corner. Offering a variety of tours from guided to hiking tours, visitors can take in the winery’s breathtaking views in many different ways.
Established in 1882 by Alfred L. Tubbs, Chateau Montelena — named after Mount St. Helena — is a stunning vineyard located in Calistoga. Currently owned by the Barrett family, the winery features a stone castle built into the hillside where wine lovers can sample Cabernet Sauvignons, Zinfandel and Chardonnay, which won the famous 1976 Paris Tasting. Outside the castle, visitors can stroll the lovely grounds where they will find Jade Lake, an enchanting Chinese garden and lake with a variety of fish, and a courtyard with lawn plus a bocce court. Open daily, Chateau Montelena offers several tours and tastings some of which require reservations — check the website for more information.
Known for their award-winning, organic sparkling wines, Domaine Carneros is an impressive vineyard located in Napa. Featuring a château inspired by the 18th century Château de la Marquetterie found in Champagne, France, the estate is magnificent with its grand staircases, marble floors and terraces offering outstanding views of hills lined with verdant vines. Surrounding the château are lush, formal gardens that add to the overall beauty of the property. The grounds also feature a French-inspired carriage house that houses a members-only Club Room and production facility for the Pinot Noir. Open daily, guests can make reservations for tastings and tours of the vineyards and production areas in the château.
Located in San Luis Obispo, Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards is a wonderful, family-run winery nestled in a picturesque setting on California’s central coast. Established in 1999 by the Kelsey family, this rustic beauty is tucked inside an apple orchard and rests alongside the babbling See Canyon Creek all of which adds to its peaceful charm making it a relaxing spot to enjoy the winery’s award-winning wines, including red and white varieties along with apple-grape blends and dessert wines. Adding to the beauty are the 100+ peacocks that roam the grounds. Wine lovers can visit any day of the week for tastings and tours.
Located in the heart of Sonoma Valley in Kenwood, Ledson Winery and Vineyards is a breathtaking property with a majestic 16,000-square foot castle simply known as ‘The Castle.’ Owned by the Ledson family, the castle was built with the intention of being their family home; however, as time went on, they realized it would be better suited as a winery. Featuring grand staircases, marble fireplaces, coffered ceilings, mosaics and more, it is a true architectural masterpiece providing a feast for the eyes as well as an elegant place to sample an array of award-winning wines. The grounds are equally beautiful with vineyards, century old oak trees and picnics areas. They are open daily.
A short drive from Sacramento in the heart of Clarksburg’s Wine Country sits Miner’s Leap Winery, a family-owned establishment specializing in small lots. This charming, boutique winery strives to give guests the ‘ultimate wine experience,’ and between the wines, which include everything from Chardonnay to unique varieties like Spanish Albarino, and the bucolic setting, they do just that. The tasting room is nestled inside a rustic, century-old barn with visually appealing landscaping, including trees, flowers, plants, and lawn surrounding the venue. Outdoor seating along with picnic areas make it a relaxing place the entire family, including the four-legged members, can enjoy.
Sculpterra Winery's tasting room at sunset | Courtesy of Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden
Saracina Winery & Vineyards
A California certified organic winery located outside the town of Hopland, Saracina Winery and Vineyards is a family-owned venue in a setting that exudes serenity. Established by husband-wife duo John Fetzer and Patty Rock, the property is dotted with rustic and modern buildings plus lush vegetation that includes vineyards, olive orchards and vegetable gardens on rolling hills. A little piece of paradise in Mendocino Country, the winery’s modern tasting room is open seven days a week where wine lovers can sample handcrafted wines, including Pinot Noir, Malbec and Zinfandel. Guests may also sit outside and take in the scenic environs.
Established in 2007 by the Frankel family in Paso Robles, Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden is a place where wine and art collide. Guests can stroll along the meandering paths transecting the manicured landscape where they come across beautiful sculptures and ironwork by Dale Evers, John Jagger and Robert Bentley. Entering the tasting room, visitors will find more art and miniature sculptures, which make memorable souvenirs, along with a variety of wines from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Noir to Viognier and more. Open daily, Sculpterra is a must-visit for not only its wine but also its ambiance and grounds, which includes pistachio trees.
Found in Geyserville in the Alexander Valley, Styker Sonoma is a lovely Sonoma County winery delighting guests with its diverse selection of wines, which includes Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Chardonnay, and idyllic environment. Inspired by mid-century modern American architects, the tasting room, which earned an award for its outstanding design, was created to work cohesively with the land’s curves and lines of the vineyards found surrounding the building. A beautiful space that allows guests to view the winemaking process, it also affords stunning views of the grounds. Open every day, guests can visit for a tasting or a tour and tasting combo.
Located in Acampo in the heart of Lodi’s Wine Country, Viaggio Estate and Winery is a breathtaking, Tuscan-themed estate nestled among walnut orchards and vineyards. The property exudes elegance, with several venues all of which have many beautiful sights. A secluded estate, it features verdant, plush landscaping and incredible views of the Mokelumne River, creating a peaceful ambiance perfect for a celebration — it is a popular wedding venue — or a lovely retreat with friends. Producing several wines from red to white to dessert varieties, the tasting room is open Thursday through Monday.