The first winery in the United States to focus primarily on zinfandel -- the versatile red grape known here for being big, ripe, juicy, and powerful -- Ravenswood underscores its zest for zin with their motto, "No Wimpy Wines." While zins make up about three-quarters of their astonishing one-million-case production, they also produce merlot, cabernet sauvignon, Rhone varietals, and a small amount of chardonnay.
The winery is smartly designed -- recessed into the hillside to protect its treasures from the simmering summers. Tours ($15 per person) follow the winemaking process from grape to glass and include a visit to the aromatic oak-barrel aging rooms. You're welcome to bring your own picnic basket to any of the tables, and don't forget to check their website or call to find out if they're having one of their famous ongoing barbecues or winter celebrations. Regardless, tastings are $10 for five Sonoma County wines to $15 for the Vineyard Designate series. Bottles average around $35.