Best Sonoma County wineries to impress your guests

A bride and groom I know expect a passel of people to arrive in Sonoma County soon to witness their “I dos.” Naturally, they're savvy enough to share the spotlight with Sonoma County because they realize their relatives and friends will likely want to explore this agrarian gem in their free time. They sent them a list of wineries in advance so they could plan accordingly.

Whether you're planning to say I do or I don't is hardly the point. The takeaway is your people are coming. They're descending on you in droves, and if you're smart, you'll prime them for adventure.

Here's a trio of outstanding tasting experiences - just in case you're too busy saying “I do” to play tour guide.

Three Sticks Wines

The backdrop at Three Sticks is as fetching as the wines. The tasting room is the historic Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe, one of the area's few remaining structures from California's Mexican Period.

Reconstructed, the adobe is absolutely striking with agricultural finds mounted on the walls. The chardonnay and pinot noir in the glass has an allure all of its own.

This is a smart pick for wine lovers who double as history buffs. (143 W. Spain St., Sonoma,, 707-996-3328, tastings by appointment only.)

Garden Creek

This boutique winery in Geyserville, at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains, is rustic chic. Justin Warnelius-Miller and wife Karin Warnelius-Miller farm the land - 100 acres - with a crew of seven.

On a vineyard tour, you'll hear about the puzzle of the soils, a detailed accounting of what makes this property unique.

Afterward in the tasting room, a cozy lodge, you'll likely get to taste: the Garden Creek Tesserae: 100% Alexander Valley proprietary Bordeaux Blend and the Garden Creek Chardonnay: 100% Alexander Valley Chardonnay –– A Clonal Selection.

The reds are aged seven years, a testament to this couple's dedication to quality. (2335 Geysers Road, Geyserville,, 707-433-8345, tastings by appointment only.)

Senses Wines

A trip to the coast is in order if you want to feel the maritime breeze that makes coastal pinot and chardonnay standouts.

The property, situated between Sebastopol and Bodega Bay, is striking and the wines are produced by Thomas Rivers Brown, who was a Food & Wine “Winemaker of the Year.” Friends since preschool –– Chris Strieter, Max Thieriot and Myles Lawrence-Briggs –– are the founders of Senses Wines and they have a vision.

They are intent on making their vision - world-class pinot noir and chardonnay - a reality. (Senses Wines prefers not to list an address for its Occidental winery,, 707-874-8550, tasting by appointment).

The winery suggests contacting it two weeks prior to the desired date because availability is limited.)

You can reach Wine Writer Peg Melnik at or 707-521-5310.

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