Tasting rooms offer juice tastings, farm animal visits and more
SAN FRANCISCO – While some people visit California wineries for much-needed “grown-up” time in one of the world’s most beautiful wine regions, many parents prefer to travel and taste with their little ones in tow. This has increasingly become the trend, according to Wine Institute, inspiring many of the state’s wineries to offer special accommodations for kids, including grape juice tastings, play areas, visits with farm animals and outdoor games. These activities keep children happy and engaged while their parents sample the latest vintages.
The key to a successful and fun family outing in California’s wine country is to call ahead or check the producer’s website to see if kids are welcome. For reasons of liability or preference, some wineries do not allow guests under age 21. If the winery does allow minors, kids are permitted to join their parents in the winery and can often take part in winery tours.
Following is a list of family-friendly wineries throughout California:
ACORN Winery/Alegria Vineyards, Healdsburg, Sonoma County
Legos, crayons and cornhole keep kids entertained while parents taste. Children may also explore the vineyards adjacent to the tasting room, join parents on a guided vineyard walk and taste grapes during harvest.
Alexander Valley Vineyards, Healdsburg, Sonoma County
Kids can join in winery and cave tours with their parents, visit the vineyards and enjoy the winery’s picnic area.
Alpha Omega, St. Helena, Napa Valley
The winery offers the coloring book, “Exploring the Napa Valley with Traveler Teddies,” a kid-friendly guide to the Napa Valley, presented with a box of crayons.
Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County
While parents enjoy a glass or a bottle outside overlooking the vineyards, children are invited to play cornhole or giant Jenga.
A 45-minute educational tram tour showcases the winery’s Biodynamic vineyards, caves and insect-friendly gardens.
Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma, Sonoma County
Tours led by period actors include wine caves and the Historic Wine Museum, which features an entertaining multi-media show. There’s also a picnic area and hedge maze.
Buttonwood Winery, Solvang, Santa Barbara County
Explore the large fruit tree orchard and picnic areas or visit the estate farm animals.
Captain Vineyards, Moraga, Contra Costa County
Tour the first green, sustainable, dry farmed vineyard and winery in the Lamorinda AVA, which offers a 4-H program for middle and high schools through the University of California at Davis.
Castello di Amorosa, Calistoga, Napa Valley
Tour a massive replica of an Italian castle, complete with a dungeon, then meet the estate peacocks and farm animals. Kids can sample grape juice and enjoy their own play area.
Castoro Cellars, Templeton, San Luis Obispo County
Games for kids include cornhole, giant Jenga and disc golf.
Pruning at Captain Vineyards.
Cline Cellars, Sonoma, Sonoma County
The park-like grounds feature expansive lawns, ponds stocked with fish and turtles, caged exotic birds, vintage train cars and the California Missions Museum.
DeLoach Vineyards, Santa Rosa, Sonoma County
The winery offers educational, family-friendly tours detailing DeLoach’s history, winemaking techniques and farming practices. Families can end their tour with a picnic in the winery grove.
Domaine Artefact, Escondido, San Diego County
Pack a picnic and play cornhole and giant Jenga, or visit the ranch’s resident horses, chickens, dogs and pigs.
Eberle Winery, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County
Cave tours and bocce courts keep the kids entertained.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville, Sonoma County
Coppola welcomes families with a large swimming pool, bocce ball court, children’s library, board games and more.
Heritage Oak Winery, Acampo, Lodi/San Joaquin County
Outdoor family fun includes picnicking, hiking down to the river, kayaking and camping.
Honig Vineyard & Winery, Rutherford, Napa Valley
The winery offers eco-tours of the vineyard, plus kids’ toys and books.
Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate, Fulton, Sonoma County
Kids can taste grape juice and tour the extensive vegetable garden, which includes a chicken coop, bat boxes and a demonstration bee hive.
Landmark Vineyards, Kenwood, Sonoma County
The free Horse Drawn Carriage Tour delves into farming practices and Sonoma wine history. There’s also a picnic area and expansive lawn.
Mauritson Wines, Healdsburg, Sonoma County
Grape juice tastings are offered during the harvest season.
Meyer Family Cellars, Yorkville, Mendocino County
The winery includes an outdoor children’s play area.
Navarro Vineyards, Philo, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County
Kids can enjoy a grape juice tasting of Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer.
Pennyroyal Farm, Boonville, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County
The winery’s Farm Tour lets kids meet resident farm animals and sample grape juice.
Raymond Vineyards, St. Helena, Napa Valley
The outdoor Theater of Nature showcases how all of nature’s “actors”—including chickens and goats—play a crucial part in crafting quality wine, from the soil to the vineyards.
Retzlaff Vineyards, Livermore, Livermore Valley
The winery has a picnic area and a lawn with big toy tractors for kids to play on.
Six Sigma Ranch and Winery, Lower Lake, Lake County
Meet “Topper”, the winery’s pot belly pig who loves to have his ears rubbed. Select Saturdays, jump on the flat bed and help feed the livestock. Picnic or play a game of cornhole.
Truett-Hurst Winery, Healdsburg, Sonoma County
Families are free to roam the working farm, which features goats, chickens and sheep.
Zaca Mesa Winery, Los Olivos, Santa Barbara County
Families are invited to picnic or play a game on the giant chess board.
Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. The organization also works to enhance the economic and environmental health of its communities and the state through its leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices and a partnership with Visit California to showcase California’s wine and food offerings and the state as a top travel destination. California wineries, the majority of which are family owned, represent 81 percent of U.S. wine production and more than 90 percent of U.S. wine exports. For more information visit www.wineinstitute.org or the consumer website at www.discovercaliforniawines.com.