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Local Wally's Blog to Sonoma | Sonoma Tourist Guide | Free Wine Tasting Coupons

Local Wally Knows Sonoma! Follow Local Wally's Blog for stories, deals, and reviews in and around Sonoma.

Filtering by Category: wineries

Where to Find FREE Wine Tasting in Sonoma, Healdsburg, and Russian River

Local Wally

Yes, free wine tasting at Rodney Strong Winery

Yes, free wine tasting at Rodney Strong Winery

CHEAP WINE TASTING IN SONOMA - FREE!

Yes, believe it or not there are still some wineries who give away free wine tastings. Most of these are not in the main part of Sonoma however, but further north in in the Russian River Area. There are enough freebies up north to warrant a special trip. So what are you waiting for? Gas up that rental and get going for free and cheap wine tasting in Sonoma, Healdsburg, and the Russian River area!


Alexander Valley Vineyards

Family-owned estate, producing nine varietal wines and proprietary blends.

8644 Highway 128
Healdsburg
707-433-7209
www.avvwine.com

Arbios Cellars / Praxis - Locals Tasting Room

A small Sonoma County family wine business; Bill Arbios makes the wine.

21023 Geyserville Avenue
Geyserville
707-857-4900
www.arbioscellars.com

BobDog Wines at Sky Pine Vineyards

At 2,000 feet above the Alexander Valley, the highest winery in Sonoma County and the only winery located in the new Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak Appellation.

31955 Pine Mountain Road
Cloverdale
707-894-4812
www.bobdogwine.com


GET A WINE PASS FOR MORE DISCOUNT SONOMA TASTINGS!

Just $39.99 per couple for my readers, order the card and flash it for free wine or two for one's at over 75 Sonoma and Napa wineries, including many with exclusive offers and VIP tasting experiences. It pays for itself as long as you visit 2 or more wineries.  Highly recommended! Click to Order Now!


Carol Shelton Wines

Based out of an industrial park in the city of Santa Rosa, Carol continues to meticulously hand-craft her wines with a combination of experience, creativity, and passion.

3354-B Coffey Lane
Santa Rosa
707-575-3441
www.carolshelton.com

D.H. Gustafson Family Vineyards

Visit the Estate to experience our award-winning wines, friendly hospitality, and the best view in Dry Creek Valley

9100 Skaggs Springs Rd.
Geyserville
707-433-2371
www.gfvineyard.com

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Mega "Winery Wonderland" with giant pool, restaurant, shops, and lots of movie memorbilia.

300 Via Archimedes
Geyserville
707-857-1427
www.franciscoppolawinery.com

Frick Winery

Frick Winery is a one man winery creating Viognier, Syrah, Cinsaut, Merlot, Carignane, Grenache, Grenache Blanc and Counoise from hillside vineyards in Dry Creek area.

23072 Walling Road
Geyserville
707-857-1980
www.frickwinery.com

Hauck Cellars

By apptointment only - From the beginning, it was their goal to produce only the kind of wines they liked to drink - sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and syrah.

999 Foreman Ln
Healdsburg
707-486-0017
www.hauckcellars.com

Highway 12 Vineyards & Winery

Right in the Sonoma Plaza, a great free winery stop among the shops and restaurants.

498 1st Street East
Sonoma
707-938-8091
www.highway12winery.com

J. Rickards Winery

Family-run operation of both wine grape farming and wine production, located at the northern end of the Alexander Valley.

24505 Chianti Road
Cloverdale
707-758-3441
www.jrwinery.com

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

Lovely stone building near the south tip of Sonoma.

24724 Arnold Drive
Sonoma
866-522-8693
www.jacuzziwines.com

Karah Estate Vineyard & Winery

Located on a scenic 144 acres situated in the hills of the Petaluma Gap on the crown of the hill above Highway 101 in Sonoma County, the vineyard enjoys a panoramic view of the surrounding county.

1010 West Railroad Ave
Cotati
707-795-3030
karahestate.com

Korbel Champagne Cellars

Lovely drive in the countryside lands you at Korbel where you'll find free wine and free tours and a deli for picics.

13250 River Road
Guerneville
707-824-7316
www.korbel.com

Locals Tasting Room

Wines of numerous area producers are offered for tasting & sale in a rustic, warehouse-type setting.

21023 Geyserville Avenue
Geyserville
707-857-4900
www.tastelocalwines.com

Merry Edwards Winery

Merry Edwards, produces critically acclaimed Pinot Noirs in the Russian River Valley.

2959 Gravenstein Hwy North
Sebastopol
888-388-9050
www.merryedwards.com

Munselle Vineyards

By appt. only - For more than three decades we've produced premium grapes that have contributed to a multitude of award-winning and notable wines.

3763 Highway 128
Geyserville
707-857-9988
www.munsellevineyards.com

Optima Wine Cellars

Every bottle of Optima is handcrafted with a focus on striking a perfect balance between beautiful fruit, silky tannins and a lingering finish.

101 Grant Avenue
Healdsburg
707-431-8222
www.optimawinery.com

Rodney Strong Vineyards

Known throughout the world for its unique estate-bottled and vineyard-designated wines.

11455 Old Redwood Highway
Healdsburg
707-431-1533
www.rodneystrong.com

Sonoma Portworks

Specialize in ports and after-dinner wines including Grappa, DECO Chocolate Port and an Aperitif.

613 2nd Street
Petaluma
707-769-5203
www.portworks.com

Williamson Wines

Every wine is served with delicious food creations from our winery kitchen so you can taste the wine alone, then experience how it works with the food pairing.

134 Matheson Street
Healdsburg
707-433-1500
www.williamsonwines.com


IS VISITING COPPOLA WINERY WORTH THE TIME?

Local Wally

FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA WINERY

300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, CA 95441|  707-857-1400


Before I start I need to say right up front that I have a ton of respect for Francis Ford Coppola, both as a movie director and as a Napa and Sonoma winery owner. He did a good thing with Inglenook in Napa, taking a wonderful old historic winery and helping it find its way back from Jug Wine Hell to its more pure, original fine wine state. I tell people all the time to go there and I mean it.  The bistro is great, the setting beautiful, it's iconic.

Of course Coppola ran into a bit of controversy when he added movie memorabilia to Inglenook. Purists were appalled that there was a Tucker car upstairs in the historic winery. He listened. And he decided to build a separate winery in Geyserville that made no apologies to his film making background and marketing instincts. He once described this as a Winery Wonderland, a place for families (yes, kids welcome) could spend a day.  And with that in mind, he succeeded.

Let's start with the pool.  Wait - What?  Yes, there is a resort style pool on the premises where you can rent cabanas and get cocktails and pretty much stay the entire day. He said he always felt bad for the kids at Inglenook who wanted to jump in the fountain so fixed this problem by building them a pool. Reservations required.

As for dining, the main dining room is called RUSTIC and features what they claim are some of Coppola's favorites. The menu is quite varied, ranging from $12 spaghetti to $95 steak for two. I opted for the whole trout cooked encased in salt and it was surprisingly well prepared. I didn't expect the food to be this good, to be honest, especially in a setting that looks a bit like the fancy restaurant at Disneyland. Vineyard views on the outside patio, don't shy away if you're hungry.

For more casual dining find a place at one of the bars. And in case you were crazy enough to bring your kids on a winery vacation, there are smoothies and kid food out by the pool so everyone is happy.

And yes, if you want to see movie props such as the Tucker car or The Godfather scripts, this is the place. Lots and great movie memorabilia and gift shops, you can spend hours just roaming around to see the displays, sipping and eating along the way.

So right around now you might be asking "how's the wine?" and all I can say is that I never got there. Seriously, I never made it to the tasting room because it was so packed. Yeah, forget about the "free tasting" come on that you'll see pop up on the internet. That would be like trying to have dinner at Costco by eating the free samples. Instead reserve one of their other tasting experiences,  Or just forget about wine tasting completely.  I mean, this isn't like you're in some quaint boutique winery chatting with the winemaker. You're in a, well, Winery Wonderland, a theme park sort of winery. And while critics may say it lacks the authenticity of a more traditional winery there's no denying that Coppola succeeded in his vision to build a winery to showcase his life's work, from film making to wine making.

SHOULD YOU GO?  There's no denying that this is a sight to see, an experience unlike any in Napa and Sonoma. It can get as busy as a theme park and the wine tasting experience isn't going to compete with what you will find at a smaller winery but there are plenty of people enjoying it.  My recommendation is to go only if you really want to check it off your bucket list. The movie memorabilia, the glitz, the sheer spectacle of it is quite impressive. But perhaps less impressive is the actual wine tasting experience and maybe that doesn't even matter in a setting like this.