Sonoma Wine Tasting

At Happy Travelers Tours we’re always looking for some unique spin on the Sonoma County Lifestyle and recently we did some research to compile a list of Sonoma Wineries who still provide complimentary tastings.

While the era of free wine tastings is long-gone in the Napa Valley, and a relatively recent loss in Sonoma County, you can still find a dozen or so places who’ll pour you a taste without a fee.

Here’s our list of free Sonoma Wine Tasting for your use:

Highway 12You’ll get an informative tasting, with a background of the downtown Sonoma winery and some tips on where to stop afterward.
Merry EdwardsHere, wine education has always been at the forefront. It’s a serious experience with two options. The first is a 15-minute, walk-in friendly tasting of three wines — two Pinots and one Sauvignon Blanc. The second is a sit-down, in-depth tasting that requires an appointment. You’ll taste five wines: Chardonnay, four single-vineyard Pinots and the Sauvignon Blanc. This experience is designed for those who really want to learn more about the history of Russian River Valley and former Winemaker of the Year and winery owner Merry Edwards.
KorbelThe popular California “Champagne” house is one of very few that can call its sparkling wines Champagne. (Rules preventing wines outside of the region of Champagne from using the term came into effect after Korbel was established, and it was grandfathered in to the regulations.) The complimentary tasting is for parties smaller than 10 people without a reservation. You’ll get a free tour of the Russian River Valley property and a four-wine flight. The whole experience takes about 45 minutes.
ColagrossiOwner Craig Colagrossi has a suggested tasting fee of $10. His hope is that you like the wines enough that you buy a bottle, but whether you pay for the tasting is up to you. You’ll sample four or five wines — and if you’re lucky he might also offer you a barrel tasting.
Rodney StrongThe winery offers complimentary tastings of the entry-level wines — the ones sold in grocery stores. Start with a self-guided tour of the winery, then sample two free pours from their Sonoma County wine collection. An upgrade to their estate wines will cost you $15.
Williamson WinesAt the Healdsburg tasting room at 134 Matheson St., you can walk in for a free food and wine pairing before 6 p.m. (For Williamson’s higher-end wines, visit their other tasting room at 18 Matheson St.) This includes five wines and “fridge foods” — cuisine you’d find in your refrigerator, like pickles or peanut butter. Free for groups of six or fewer.
Francis Ford CoppolaFree tastings at the Geyserville mega-winery are offered daily at the main floor tasting bar, however reserving a cabana by the pool will run you up to $235.
BobDogYou’ll glimpse panoramic views on the complimentary tour. Wine pours tend to follow what the owners are feeling, but they mostly vary between vertical tastings (tasting the same wine over different vintages) and a lineup of their Bordeaux-style wines.
J. Rickards WineryThis is the place to go for a full experience in Sonoma. You’ll get a flight of about five wines and a local cheese pairing. There’s also a tour of the vineyard and the option to hang around outside for a picnic. Bring your own or pay for the box lunch. Free for groups of eight or fewer.
Locals Tasting RoomThis co-op tasting room in Geyserville hosts 10 family-owned wineries. They’ll customize a tasting for you depending on what you like or if you’re interested in a particular winery.
Alexander ValleyThe tasting room isn’t fancy, but its outdoor area is a perfect spot to sip and enjoy some afternoon sunshine. Make sure to walk in at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. for a complimentary cave tour. The free tasting includes your choice of five estate wines. We recommend the rosé of Sangiovese, which is gentle and dry with red cherry and mineral notes. Their Cabernet Franc is a can’t-miss, with full flavors of black cherry, pepper and herb. Free for groups of 10 or fewer.
A. RafanelliThis appointment-only winery is all about exclusivity. The free tasting for parties of six or less comprises of three wines, and it usually includes their Zinfandel and their Cabernet Sauvignon.

Happy Travelers Tours Wine-and-Weed Tour

Another way to taste some wine for free is to join one of our Wine-and-Weed Tours and come on up to the Mountain Top to enjoy wine and cannabis while we talk about the convergence of wine and cannabis and it’s impact on the Sonoma County Lifestyle.

Book your Tour today or read about our other itineraries!