Welcome to the heart of Northern California Wine Country! If you’re a wine lover seeking a remarkable tasting experience, Sonoma Valley is an absolute must-visit destination. With its picturesque landscapes, charming towns, and a diverse array of wineries, it’s no wonder that this region is often considered the best of wine country.

To help you make the most of your visit, we’ve crafted a day-long wine tasting itinerary that will take you through our favorite spots in upper Sonoma Valley south of Santa Rosa and centered in the hamlets of Glen Ellen, Kenwood, and Bennett Valley.

About Our Itinerary

At Coursey Graves, we like to say we are “french-inspired – beautifully Sonoma” so it is no surprise that our itinerary is packed with delicious flavors, beautiful gardens, stunning views, and quaint cafes. TRAVEL TIP: Make advanced reservations at these restaurants and wineries since they book up quickly. Whether you are daytripping from the Bay area or staying in wine country, you’ll enjoy this lovely day in the Sonoma countryside.

View Google Map Of This Itinerary

Morning: Exploring Charming Glen Ellen

Breakfast: Les Pascals Patisserie et Boulengerie

Begin your journey at Les Pascals Pâtisserie et Boulangerie in the darling town of Glen Ellen. This delightful French bakery sets the perfect tone for the day.

Interior of Hamel Family Wines tasting room and vineyards

View from Hamel Family Wines Tasting Room | Image courtesy of Hamel Family Wines

Wine Tasting: Hamel Family Wines

To kickstart your wine adventure, head to Hamel Family Wines  for a luxury wine tasting experience. Nestled among the rolling hills and surrounded by mountain views, Hamel Family Wines offers a refined ambiance and a selection of exceptional wines that are sure to delight your palate.

Lunch: Picnic Among The Vines

As midday approaches, indulge in a delightful picnic surrounded by the beauty of Sonoma Valley’s wineries. Pick up a gourmet picnic lunch from the deli at Glen Ellen Village Market, The Chicken Apple on warm focaccia with brie, sliced apples, and balsamic glaze is simply divine.

While you can picnic in several nearby parks, several wineries now offer picnic areas (with bottle service). Reservations are required.

Outdoor wine tasting

View sitting among the lavender gardens at Matanzas Creek Winery | Image courtesy of Matanzas Creek Winery

Matanzas Creek Lavender Gardens: Find a serene spot among the blooming lavender fields at Matanzas Creek, set up your picnic, and savor your meal while enjoying the fragrant surroundings. 

Imagery Winery and Bocce Ball: Alternatively, make your way to Imagery Winery to combine your picnic lunch with some fun bocce ball. Enjoy your meal and engage in a friendly game.

Chateau St. Jean’s historic winery is a great option if you prefer to skip the picnic and order from their onsite deli and enjoy lunch in their lovely french gardens.

Immersed in the gardens at Coursey Graves mountain top winery.

Signature Tasting Experience sitting among the gardens at Coursey Graves Estate Winery

Ultimate Wine Tasting: Coursey Graves Estate

Of course, we have saved the best for last. Join us at Coursey Graves Bennett Mountain Estate, where you will savor rich Bordeaux-style wines while enjoying breathtaking, panoramic views of Bennett Valley. 

Our private 90-minute tasting experience includes a guided stroll through our hillside estate vineyards, Monet-style french gardens, and boutique winery. As one of the few mountain top estates, Coursey Graves promises to be the highlight of any Sonoma Valley trip. Plan your trip to Coursey Graves

Afternoon Activity: Nature Walk

To work up an appetite for dinner and enjoy the natural beauty of the area, take a stroll through the Sonoma Botanical Garden.This peaceful oasis is the perfect place to stretch your legs and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.

If you are feeling more adventurous, take a hike through the redwoods at  Jack London State Historic Park. The Ancient Redwood Trail  leads to what is known as “Grandmother Tree”, a 14-foot diameter giant redwood that is estimated to be 2,000 years old. The park website has a spectrum of trail suggestions, from 1-hour easy walks to moderate hikes taking 2-3 hours.

Dinner: Enjoy the Best Glen Ellen Restaurants

As the sun begins to set, head back to the charming village of Glen Ellen for an unforgettable farm-to-table dining experience. You have two fantastic options within two blocks of each other: The Fig Café, known for its locally sourced ingredients and creative dishes, or Glen Ellen Star, a culinary gem that showcases the region’s flavors in an exceptional way. For a truly unique experience, sit at the counter and watch the chef bring culinary delights to life.

Glen Ellen Star Full restaurant patio under sunset clouds

Exterior image of Glen Ellen Star | Image Courtesy of Glen Ellen Star

Conclusion: A Day to Remember in Sonoma Valley

From picturesque vineyards to luxury wine tastings and charming eateries, we have curated this wine tasting itinerary with the best of Sonoma Valley (and our personal favorites). This region’s unique blend of natural beauty, world-class wineries, and exquisite cuisine, all centrally located, makes it a destination that’s easy to get to and undoubtedly hard to leave. So, gather your fellow wine enthusiasts and check out this  extraordinary day of exploration and indulgence! 

Next up: What’s the difference between Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley?