Best Tasting Room: Paradise Ridge Winery

Paradise Ridge Winery was named the best tasting room in Sonoma County by voters in the Press Democrat's Best of Sonoma County Awards. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / PRESS DEMOCRAT)


Few wineries in the world are more aptly named than Paradise Ridge. With 156 acres of sustainable natural splendor overlooking the Santa Rosa Plain and a remarkable collection of outdoor sculpture gracing the grounds (including the illuminated, two-story-high LOVE sculpture created by artists Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schonberg) it’s a Wine Country Eden.

“Every winery has a nice view during the day,” said Sonia Byck-Barwick, co-owner and managing partner of the family-owned winery. “But having a beautiful view in the evening is what sets us apart. After sunset, the sky gradually darkens, the lights of Santa Rosa start twinkling — and then the LOVE lights up. It’s an amazing view, and one of the things that makes us stand out.”

That view also accounts — but only in part — for the winery’s double 2015 honors as Sonoma County’s Best Tasting Room and Best Place to Get Married.

“In summer, the weekly ‘Wine & Sunsets in Paradise’ allows guests to relax on the veranda,” said vice president and co-owner Rene Byck, Sonia’s brother. “They enjoy wine, live music, and food-truck street food while watching the sun set over the Russian River Valley.”

The views are a major selling point with weddings, but Paradise has much more to offer, including nearby hotels, lower-than-average costs, a later-than-usual music cutoff time and an excellent venue.

“Special events and weddings figured in the winery’s construction plans in 1994,” said Byck-Barwick. “After 21 years and an estimated 700 weddings, we’ve covered a lot of bases.”

Byck-Barwick added that Martha Marquez, Paradise Ridge’s wedding and events manager, brings a great deal of know-how and passion to her job. “This is her 13th wedding season with us,” she said. “She knows and loves the site thoroughly and works with an amazing event team.”

“There really is lots of love in Paradise,” she said.