A 20-minute drive north of Sonoma, family-run Benziger offers one of the region’s better tours, or actually a selection of them. A 45-minute tram tour ($25) whisks you around the property, takes you into wine caves 70 feet under the hillside, teaches about cooperage (barrel making), and of course includes actual tasting of their wines; a more intimate, slower-paced cave tour and tasting ($40) lets you walk through and taste in the atmospheric caves; and a $50 adventure (limited to 10 guests) explores the winery, vineyards, caves, and wines themselves (in other words, there’s plenty of sipping going on). Whichever you embark upon, you’ll learn how the all-organic, sustainable winery goes about making good wine without despoiling the land. In winter, sheep wander the property, browsing the grass around the vines; all organic waste is recycled, and the winery even runs an “insectary” where beneficial bugs are encouraged to breed. All in all, these are some of most well-rounded tours on the market, and something about the facility—maybe its idealism—gives you a sense that you’re not just being herded through. If you want to skip the schooling and go straight for the drink, it’s $20 to taste a variety of wines in the tasting room.
Sonoma Valley› Attraction
Benziger Family Winery
1883 London Ranch Rd., Glen Ellen
Our Rating Neighborhood Glen Ellen Hours Daily 10am–5pm Phone 888/490-2739 Prices Tram tour $25, Cave Tour and Tasting $40, Adventure $50, Tasting Room $20 Web site Benziger Family Winery
Map1883 London Ranch Rd., Glen Ellen Sonoma Valley
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.