The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
Subscribe
| more

Photo Gallery

The One-Stop Wine Shop - Tasting Rooms for Small Wineries

thumb_2_cellars-of-sonoma.jpg

The One-Stop Wine Shop
Tasting Rooms for Small Wineries

By Aleta Parseghian

Selecting the perfect wine for a party or as a gift is a daunting task. Sanding in the wine isle at the grocery store poses a particular problem since you can’t try any of the wines to decide what you like. Thankfully, living in the wine mecca that is Sonoma County, there are wine shops all over the county that can help you choose the right wine for the occasion.

The one-stop wine shop is a clever concept. Unlike tasting rooms, wine shops offer a variety of wines from multiple vineyards, ranging from across the county to across the world. They often offer several different labels for you to taste and can help pick out exactly what you’re shopping for. I’ve done some of the footwork for you and visited several wine shops throughout the county to give you an overview of what they offer. So the next time you’re on the hunt for a wine that will impress your guests, visit one of these wonderful stores.

Cellars of Sonoma 
133 4th St, Santa Rosa

This family run business in Railroad Square features wines from nine local boutique wineries. Without a tasting room of their own, Cellars of Sonoma gives these wineries an accessible way for you to try their varietals. Their tasting flight offers a sampling from all nine wineries, and their wine club provides you with a rotation of four wineries at a time. With stunning décor, a comfortable loft, and live music on the weekends, this is a great place to spend some time and enjoy some very special local wines.

Sonoma Wine Shop, 412 1st St. East, Sonoma

Sonoma Wine Shop
412 1st St East, Sonoma
This quaint storefront on the Sonoma Plaza has a lot to offer. But to them it’s not about quantity, in fact it’s the opposite. They only offer wines from the smallest California wineries, buying directly from the winemakers. They pride themselves in offering the impossible-to-find boutique wines from our region. Their wine club is a rare breed in which each member gets wines specifically tailored to their taste. This is an excellent place to discover new labels and taste some of the finest local boutique wines.

The Wine Emporium, 125 N Main St, Sebastopol

The Wine Emporium
125 N Main St, Sebastopol
Conveniently located in downtown Sebastopol, The Wine Emporium specializes in the best of the best from around the world. Owner Tom West aims to find wines that set the standard for their varietal. If you are looking to refine your palate, this is the place to start. Tom can guide you through your tasting and help you define the subtle flavors that make a Zinfandel different from a Syrah and a Chardonnay different from a Pinot Grigio. His mission is to familiarize you with each varietal so you have confidence in your palate and know exactly how to choose the right bottle.

Sonoma Fine Wines
3625 Main St, Occidental
Open by appointment only, be sure to call ahead (707-874-3300) to get an intimate consultation to help you choose the best wine within your budget. Owner Benjamynn Gabriel is attentive and thoughtful and will get to know you and your palate so he can choose the best wines for you every time you visit. This is not the kind of wine shop that you only visit one. The better Benjamynn gets to know you and your preferences, the better he will be at picking out a wine that you are sure to love. He makes the process easy for you not only in his store, but in your wine collection at home as well, tagging every bottle with important details of the wines’ flavors and ratings. So whether you bought a bottle from him last week or last year, you’ll know exactly what to expect when you pop the cork.

Sophies Cellars, Duncans Mills, CA

Sophie’s Cellars
25179 California 116,
Duncans Mills
Duncans Mills is one of my most favorite towns in Sonoma County. Quaint and beautiful, intimate and friendly. And there’s no better way to enjoy it than on the deck of Sophie’s with an excellent glass of wine. John Haggard (the Gazette’s WINE BANTER columnist) offers a large selection of local and boutique wines in a wide price range that fits every budget. All you have to do is tell him your price range and what varietals you like, and he’ll offer you exactly what you’re looking for. The best time to visit is on Friday nights from 4 to 7 for Locals Night. This social gathering offers featured wines by the glass and delicious hours d’oeuvres. Whether you come for a tasting, a glass, or a whole bottle, it’s a great place to sit and relax and soak in the ambiance of Duncans Mills.

Gourmet au Bay
913 California 1, Bodega Bay
I don’t think there’s a better place in the county to sit with good friends and a good glass of wine and enjoy the view. If you haven’t been to Gourmet Au Bay, then you’re missing out on a wonderful experience. Bob and Sissy Blanchard are transplants from Florida who fell in love with Sonoma County after they honeymooned in the area. Their concept is simple and well executed, all of the wines they sell must meet one of three standards:
Vine & Barrel, 113 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma1 -Small Production (less than 1,000 cases), 2 - Gold Award Winning, 3 - 90 Points or Better. You can choose to taste 3 of the wines they’re pouring that day, or buy a glass and enjoy it on the bay view deck. In addition to a wonderful selection of California wines, they have a lovely gift shop and also offer beer on tap and a cheese plate to pair with your drink.

Vine & Barrel
113 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma
Owner Jason Jenkins has wine running through his veins. Having traveled to 52 countries, he has been privileged to taste wines from all over the world. He samples an average of 200 wines per month, ensuring that only the best make it to his shelves. He is an expert on Zinfandels and Pinot Noirs and can offer you the finest selection of local wines as well as some incredible international choices.
Locals, 21023 Geyserville Ave, GeyservilleAlthough Vine & Barrel is not a tasting room, it does have a lovely wine bar that usually serves a dozen or so different wines at a time, along with sandwiches and tapas, and even beer on tap for the non-wine drinkers. Open until 11pm on the weekends, it is a lively hang out where you’re sure to enjoy amazing wine, food and even live music.

Locals
21023 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville
Locals offers wines from 11 local wineries throughout Sonoma County. Their complimentary tasting flights are arranged by varietal, giving you an opportunity to compare the wineries side by side. Every single wine on their shelves is available for tasting, so you are sure to fully experience each of the 11 collective wineries. You can enjoy tasting wines that you may never find at the store and that are not available in any other tasting room. The atmosphere is casual and unpretentious, with a fantastic gift shop and extremely knowledgeable staff. If you needed a reason to visit Geyserville, this is it. 

READ Small Shops of Sonoma County to see our MAP to Sonoma County Entrepreneurs