Today on the blog, we're revisiting a piece by Christine Chen, who shares her insider tips on enjoying wine country in the company of little ones who aren't quite ready to partake in a tasting. Long-term recovery efforts in the wake of last fall's devastating fires in the region remain ongoing and these family-friendly wineries are counting on our business to get back to normal! Several funds continue to accept donations in support of those affected by the fires, including Rebuild North Bay Foundation, the Sonoma County Resilience Fund, and the Napa Valley Community Foundation.
Wine Country has been a special place for me since my days at UC Berkeley, but now with two toddlers in tow, hitting multiple wineries a day is a distant memory. Instead, we visit one winery, maybe two, for more relaxed tastings.
Off the beaten path on Sonoma Mountain, Belden Barns offers kids a bucolic setting to safely explore nature while parents taste the fabulous wines. Bring a picnic lunch so you can linger while the little ones are entertained by the wishing tree, a scavenger hunt, or various outdoor games and toys on property.
In Healdsburg, Papapietro Perry specializes in single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. Move from the tasting room to the patio, where kids can draw with winery-provided crayons. For most kids, the highlight of the visit will be meeting Nola, the adorable winery cockapoo.
In Carneros, “Bring a picnic, make a memory” is the motto at Larson Family Winery. This family-friendly winery (dogs welcome, too!) has a picnic area, a bocce ball court, and goats to visit.
Miner Family Winery in Oakville is a destination in and of itself, with a subset of the 27 amazing wines available in the tasting room. Take your glass and kids to the seating area on the terrace, which offers expansive views of the valley.
Christine has analyzed and advised consumer companies and is a frequent visitor to wine country. As a result, her two kids have been to more wine release parties than birthday parties, though sadly that will likely change.
This article originally appeared in the Dec/Jan 2017 issue of GGMG Magazine.
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