If wine goes well with everything, then why shouldn’t you look for wineries that include everything with their wine? That’s an interesting question, and a good one to consider when voyaging around wine country. Fortunately in California this is more of a philosophical question than a real one, as so many places allow you to pair great food and great wine in the same visit.
Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens, Sonoma County
The “Wine & Food Pairings” program includes three options. Enjoy limited-production wines paired with cheese or chocolate, or taste through five original courses designed by Kendall-Jackson Executive Chef Justin Wangler. Taste seasonally-changing dishes such as Sunchoke Soup with Liberty duck confit, dried cherries, mushroom and a sunchoke chip.
Ram’s Gate Winery, Sonoma County
The “Palate Play Wine & Food Pairing” lets you taste artfully crafted pairings to bring out the best in Ram’s Gate wines. The experience begins with a glass of wine in hand for an in-depth winery tour before relaxing in a private room. There, compare four single-vineyard wines alongside their culinary pairings in a guided, seated tasting.
B Cellars, Napa Valley
The “Oakville Trek” offers a taste of wine accompanied by a food pairing, followed by a personally escorted tour of the culinary gardens, production facilities and extensive wine caves, glass-in-hand. After the tour, partake in a custom “B-Bite,” carefully selected and created by the chef to complement a selection of current release wines.
Each month, check out “A Taste of HALL,” a culinary workshop featuring an all-star line-up of Napa Valley chefs paired with a seasonal theme. This lively, family-style workshop teaches modern pairing techniques while tasting new release wines.
Long Meadow Ranch, Napa Valley
An elegant, intimate guided experience, “Chef’s Table” is a multi-course lunch or dinner paired with Long Meadow Ranch wines in the historic Logan Ives House. The estate chef brings the best of the season from their farm-to-guest plates, showcasing organic produce, grass-fed beef and lamb, and olive oils to complement a selection of wines.
Pine Ridge Vineyards, Napa Valley
The “Savor Pine Ridge Wine & Food Pairing” offers a tailor-made experience nestled in the wine cave, surrounded by candlelight and oak barrels. Wine educators guide you through a tasting of five Estate Cabernet Sauvignons, each paired with small bites prepared by Estate Chef Susan Lassalette. The featured wines hail from the winery’s five estate-owned vineyards in the Napa Valley – Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Oakville, Howell Mountain and Carneros.
Round Pond Estate, Napa Valley
At the “Il Pranzo Tasting Experience,” the afternoon begins with an intimate and informative estate garden tour and guided tasting of their artisan olive oils, red wine vinegars and estate wines. While enjoying the views from the terrace, savor local artisan cheeses, meats, breads and other delectable accoutrement, as well as the season’s freshest fruits and vegetables from their garden. Top it all off with dessert prepared by the winery chef.
Sequoia Grove, Napa Valley
“A Taste for Cabernet” is a private small group experience that uses Sequoia Grove’s vineyard-designated Cabernets to show how what’s in the vineyard gets into the glass and how to maximize enjoyment of Cabernet with a meal. A top-rated experience according to Where Traveler magazine.
Silver Oak, Napa Valley
The winery’s “Silver Wine & Food Pairing” gives the opportunity to experience delicious bites with Silver Oak and Twomey wines. Chef Dominic Orsini uses local ingredients, including herbs and vegetables from their garden to create a delicious seasonal menu.
Trinchero Napa Valley, Napa Valley
Enjoy the “Food & Wine Pairing” in Trinchero’s Legacy Lounge to taste four delectable bites crafted by their culinary team, paired with four of the Single Vineyard wines. The tasting will finish with a Vin Santo style Semillon with house-made Cantucci. The program also includes a tour of the winery and barrel room.
Lynmar Estate, Sonoma County
At “The Lynmar Lunch,” savor a three-course farm-to-table lunch, featuring delightful creations made from estate-grown and locally sourced ingredients paired with select Lynmar wines.
Alexander Valley Vineyards,Sonoma County
The “Wine & Cheese Pairings” at Alexander Valley Vineyards offers local artisan cheeses paired with four of their most limited-availability wines, while enjoying the views from the tasting room deck.
Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Sonoma County
Choose from three experiences at Dutton-Goldfield Winery: a Wine and Sushi Flight, Wine and Cheese Flight or Beast and Pinot Flight, all paired with limited production wines such as unoaked whites or single-vineyard Pinot Noirs. Click here for more details.
Vino Noceto Winery, Amador County
This Amador County winery offers a hyper-local wine and food experience. The new “Farm-to-Fork Tour” provides in-depth education on seasonal gardening, including a trek through Noceto Farm’s Garden while sipping on Vino Noceto’s award-winning wines.
Cima Collina Winery, Monterey County
Hosted by Winemaker Annette Hoff Danzer, Cima Collina’s Certified Wine Specialist Shawn Bruce or a local favorite chef, the “Bring in the Experts” enhanced tasting experience offers a focus of wine production and food pairing specifically created for each group.
Peltier Winery & Vineyards, Lodi
The “Fruit of our Labors Day” begins with a tour through the crush pad, vineyards and winery, followed by a tank tasting and light lunch fare. The two-hour experience is on Labor Day Weekend 2017 in Acampo in the Lodi appellation.
Wente Vineyards, Livermore Valley
The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards features ingredient-driven California wine country cuisine using sustainably and organically grown local ingredients. While the menu holds its foundation in American dishes, it is influenced by French and Italian provincial cuisine. The seasonal menu changes daily, using produce from The Restaurant’s organic garden. The wine list offers more than 1,000 selections, providing numerous options for wine pairings.
Justin Winery, Paso Robles
The Restaurant at JUSTIN, which was named Winery of the Year 2015 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, offers fresh local ingredients in dishes that reflect the changing seasons, as well as an extensive wine list. Executive Chef Will Torres takes full advantage of “farm-to-table” local offerings, blending savory and sweet, nouveau and traditional, and urban panache with down-home delicious.
Niner Wine Estates,Paso Robles The Restaurant at Niner Wine Estates is one of Food and Wine magazine’s “Best Winery Restaurants in America” for 2017. The winery team leverages close relationships with local farmers, butchers and artisans to offer farm-to-fork dishes. Niner also mills their own estate olive oil, picks fresh eggs from their flock of chickens, and works with local roaster JOEBELLA to age their coffee beans in old NINER Wine Barrels. Their open-kitchen lunch service reflects their goal of food-chain transparency.
Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards, Temecula Valley
At the Creekside Grille, Chef Steve Stawinski shaped the menu using Wilson Creek wines, locally grown fruits, vegetables, cheeses and olive oils, line-caught fresh fish and fresh herbs to create a unique blend of menu items. Surrounded by lush 30-year-old Cabernet grapevines, an herb garden and flower-filled hanging baskets, the view sets the scene for an enjoyable day in wine country.
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, Temecula Valley
The Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, holder of Wine Spectator’s 2015 Award of Excellence, provides a dining experience with wine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A casual but elegant atmosphere highlights menus featuring fresh local ingredients. Indoor/outdoor seating and an extensive wine list enhance the vineyard experience.
Thornton Winery, Temecula Valley Café Champagne, which has earned the Gold Award for Contemporary Cuisine for over 11 years from the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association, is open daily for lunch and dinner. Executive Chef Steve Pickell, combines “Contemporary Fusion Cuisine” made with local ingredients with premium wines in a stylish indoor or outdoor patio setting.
Baily Winery, Temecula Valley
At Carol’s Restaurant, dine in style outside under the pergola next to Cabernet vines or in Bacchus Hall with its stone walls, floor to ceiling fireplace and vineyard views. An adjacent vegetable and herb garden provides seasonal produce that Carol Baily uses in her cuisine, which you can pair with Baily’ wines.
Ponte Winery, Temecula Valley Bouquet Restaurant offers vineyard-inspired menus and dishes that focus on fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. Dine indoors or out at this wine country eatery, located at Ponte’s AAA Four Diamond Inn, surrounded by manicured gardens with views of the vineyard and one-acre pond.
Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with 24 million visits to its wine country annually, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,700 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org.