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Bring the Kids: The Ten Best Family-Friendly Wineries in Napa and Sonoma

Wine country for all ages. 

An emu at Castello di Amorosa

An emu at Castello di Amorosa.

 

Current as of February 2017

My parents dragged my brother, sister, and me to wineries countless times when we were kids. We were bored to tears waiting in tasting rooms—but it would have been a different story if they had taken us to a wine castle, on a 4x4 vineyard excursion, or to a place we could run and play. Here are 10 wineries kids and parents can enjoy.

NAPA

1. The Castello di Amorosa is a full-size fortress with a dungeon, moat, and everything else you’d expect of a real 13th-century castle. Outside you can play with the sheep, emus and peacocks, and the castle’s guided tours are interesting for all ages. The tasting room is even outfitted with a suit of armor and trinkets and souvenirs for the kids to enjoy while you sip.

2. With its mountain vineyards, Long Meadow Ranch has big views and caves that will entertain the whole family. Its tasting room, the Logan-Ives House in St. Helena, has a restaurant with a large grassy area (playing is welcome) and one of the best burgers in Napa Valley.

3. Hunnicutt is family-owned and operated winery, and it shows in everything from its family-friendly outdoor events to the photos on its website. While it may not have a castle or a 4x4, it is surrounded by forest and offers outdoor tastings and plenty of room to run and play. (Note: Hunnicutt is open by appointment only. Call ahead to reserve a tasting time.)

4. Frog’s Leap winery has beautiful gardens and spacious areas to relax as well as explore. In addition to the kid-friendly grounds and atmosphere, they’ve got farm animals and even special treats and activities for children.

5. Sterling Vineyards has a gondola that takes riders 300 feet above the valley to its modern, space station-like winery. The ride will have all the adults crooning over the views, and makes for a great adventure for the kids. The adults get a glass of wine the minute they exit the gondola, and the winery offers a self-guided tour, so the kids in the group aren’t stuck next to you at a tasting bar.

SONOMA

6. Francis Ford Coppola Winery has an impressive museum of fun artifacts from the Coppola family movies, and a swimming pool complete with private cabanas. This playland also offers guided vineyard tours through the dirt and vines, bocce courts, and a patio restaurant with pizza and other family-friendly Italian favorites.

7. Benziger Family Winery practices biodynamic farming, which means that they have all kinds of natural wonders that play a role in their healthy farming practices. Amid the vineyards you’ll find sheep, longhaired Scottish Highlander cattle, an insectary, gardens, and birds of every feather. The winery itself has meandering paths and it offers an off-road tour that showcases all of the above.

8. Larson Family Winery invites guests to come out for a picnic, kick around a soccer ball, play catch, and even bring the pets. You can also stay the night on this 70-acre ranch, which once hosted the Sonoma Valley Rodeo. The grounds are as expansive as the views, and the laid back family friendly atmosphere will make everyone feel at home.

9. Kunde Vineyards has a hiking program that starts on the valley floor and ends 1,400 feet up the Mayacamas Mountain Range. This “moderately strenuous clime” is completely safe for kids and will help them burn off some energy. When you return, you can visit the tasting room, patio, lagoon and plenty of other fun nature to explore.

10. Landmark Vineyards offers a horse-drawn-carriage tour that may not be fast and furious, but it’s a whole lot more fun for the kids than standing at a counter (May through October only). The experience is complimentary, led by a third-generation Sonoma farmer, and the winery also has a cottage so the kids can hang back while you sip away the day away.

 

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