(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

 

While we’re not lush­es, my hus­band and I are big wine enthu­si­asts.  What’s not to love? Art and sci­ence dis­tilled into com­plex fla­vors in every glass.

We love vis­it­ing Cal­i­for­nia Wine Coun­try, not just because of the wine, but also because of the beau­ty, his­to­ry, and cul­ture of the region.  Napa and Sono­ma are, in my opin­ion, two under­ap­pre­ci­at­ed trea­sures of the U.S., with their unique ter­rain and Mediter­ranean cli­mate, charm­ing winer­ies, and fam­i­ly farms. 

Though we want­ed to con­tin­ue to vis­it even after we had kids, enjoy­ing all wine coun­try has to offer with small chil­dren in tow seemed like an impos­si­bil­i­ty. I could­n’t imag­ine that we could have fun and find fun things to do with our kids in Cal­i­for­nia Wine Coun­try.  But what I neglect­ed to under­stand, until I start­ed real­ly dig­ging into it, is that the wine-mak­ing cul­ture of Napa and Sono­ma are steeped in fam­i­ly his­to­ry and tra­di­tion.  They’re a cel­e­bra­tion of meth­ods and process­es that have been passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion.  As such, many vine­yards go out of their way to make your wine tast­ing expe­ri­ence also a fam­i­ly affair. They offer many amuse­ments to dis­tract kids while you enjoy their vari­etals. These are our fam­i­ly favorite winer­ies and the fun things they have to do for kids in both Napa and Sono­ma counties.

 

 

 

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There are so many fun things to do with kids in sonoma and napa counties. California wine country has lots of activities that families can enjoy on a family trip to california wine country. Many wineries are welcoming to kids and dogs and provide fun things to do.

 

 

Frog’s Leap Winery

 

Frog's Leap - Morning, Truchard Vineyard, Carneros - August 2012

I bet you can find some frogs at this pond at Frog’s Leap. Pho­to cour­tesy of frogsleap.com.

 

 

Locat­ed just north of the actu­al town of Napa, in between the idyl­lic ham­let of Yountville and the bustling town of St. Hele­na is Ruther­ford, CA, home to Frog’s Leap Win­ery.  Known for their caber­net sauvi­gnons and mer­lots, Frog’s Leap is more than just a vine­yard — it’s actu­al­ly a work­ing farm, com­plete with orchards, veg­etable gar­dens, and ani­mals.  It’s both kid-friend­ly and dog-friend­ly, with tons of room to play and explore.  After sam­pling some of their wines in their tast­ing room, you can enjoy a stroll around the grounds and vis­it the chick­ens and sheep.

Tast­ings and tours are by appoint­ment only, and some do require par­tic­i­pants to be 21 or older.

 

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V. Sattui Winery

 

Just up the road in St. Hele­na is V. Sat­tui Win­ery, found­ed in the late 1800s by two Ital­ian broth­ers.  The win­ery focus­es on small-batch, small-lot wines that are both organ­ic and sus­tain­ably made.  With their Arti­san Deli and Mar­ket­place, BBQ food truck on the week­ends, and plen­ty of lush grounds per­fect for a pic­nic, this win­ery is ide­al for fam­i­lies who want to get out and enjoy the good food and pic­turesque set­ting of Napa.  They also offer self-guid­ed tours of their estate gar­dens, under­ground wine cel­lars, and muse­um caves, an ide­al option for fam­i­lies with small chil­dren who might not make it through an entire guid­ed tour.

 

 

Long Meadow Ranch

 

The Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch Napa

The Farm­stead is the per­fect place for your fam­i­ly to kick back and relax. Pho­to cour­tesy of longmeadowranch.com.

 

Also locat­ed in St. Hele­na is Long Mead­ow Ranch, a sprawl­ing win­ery with a restau­rant and gen­er­al mar­ket out­post called Farm­stead, in the heart of down­town St. Hele­na.  Farm­stead is the per­fect place to go, kick back, and enjoy fan­tas­tic food as a fam­i­ly.  With plen­ty of out­door seat­ing, areas for lawn games, and fire pits for those cool val­ley nights, it’s tru­ly a great spot.  We also loved walk­ing through the on-site gar­dens, point­ing out the dif­fer­ent veg­eta­bles and herbs that we eat every­day, but don’t real­ly think about where they come from.  It’s a fan­tas­tic learn­ing expe­ri­ence for kids. 

Long Mead­ow Ranch also has a win­ery locat­ed on the “win­ery strip” just out­side of down­town St. Hele­na on High­way 29.  Between the win­ery and Farm­stead, they host sev­er­al fam­i­ly-friend­ly events through­out the year, includ­ing East­er egg hunts, pump­kin carv­ing, and cook­ie decorating.

If you’re not able to make it to the win­ery, at least swing by Farm­stead, play some corn­hole (or bags as some know it), and pick up some Long Mead­ow Ranch olives, hon­ey, or wine from their gen­er­al store. 

 

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Honig Vineyard & Winery

 

Honig Vine­yard & Win­ery is fam­i­ly-owned and oper­at­ed, cer­ti­fied organ­ic and sus­tain­able, and pow­ered by solar ener­gy.  As if that isn’t enough, they’re one of the more fam­i­ly-friend­ly estab­lish­ments on our list.  It’s not worth it to go to a win­ery if you can’t have a lit­tle qui­et time to enjoy the fruits of its labor, am I right?  At Honig, they not only wel­come kids, but they work hard to keep them enter­tained with puz­zles and col­or­ing books while you enjoy a glass or two of their caber­net sauvi­gnon or sauvi­gnon blanc.  Kids also get their own tast­ing menu of Gold­fish crack­ers and juice boxes. 

 

PRO TIP: For a fun and edu­ca­tion­al expe­ri­ence, make sure to call ahead and see if you can reserve one of their eco-tours, which takes you on a tour of their vine­yard and intro­duces you to the sus­tain­able grow­ing prac­tices they imple­ment­ed in their farms, includ­ing a vis­it to the Honig bee hives! 

 

 

Castello di Amorosa

 

Castello di Amorosa | Yountville

A kid’s fairy­tale dream come true. With wine, to make par­ents’ dreams come true too. Pho­to cour­tesy of yountville.com.

 

 

Castel­lo di Amorosa is def­i­nite­ly one of the more inter­est­ing win­ery des­ti­na­tions on our list, one that is sure to enchant both par­ents and kids alike.  Though the win­ery itself has a his­to­ry dat­ing back to over a cen­tu­ry in the Napa Val­ley region, it was relo­cat­ed in the late 2000s to a new­ly built but total­ly authen­tic repli­ca of a 13th cen­tu­ry Tus­can cas­tle in Cal­is­to­ga.  Com­plete with tur­rets, a moat, stone court­yard, ornate din­ing room, and suits of armor, your fam­i­ly will have a blast explor­ing all this win­ery has to offer.  There are even goats and pea­cocks that roam the win­ery grounds. 

Kids over five are wel­come on the guid­ed tours and even receive their own glass of grape juice to swirl and sip.  If you’re in the mood for more of a leisure­ly tast­ing, there are also spaces for the kids to hang out and col­or or enjoy a show on their tablet while you relax. 

 

 

Alpha Omega

 

Alpha Omega is a beau­ti­ful win­ery locat­ed on High­way 29 in St. Hele­na, and it’s both kid and dog friend­ly.  For kids of the human vari­ety, they pro­vide crayons and “Explor­ing the Napa Val­ley with Trav­el­er Ted­dy” col­or­ing book and a kid-friend­ly guide to Napa.  For your fur kids, they offer dog bis­cuits and fresh bowls of water.  And with a wide selec­tion of acclaimed Mal­becs, Caber­net Sauvi­gnons, and Chardon­nays for those of drink­ing age, it’s a win­ery sure to please the whole family.

 

Don’t miss “Wine Tast­ing — Dis­cov­er­ing Unchart­ed Vineyards”

 

 

ACORN Winery

 

If you’re look­ing for a down-to-earth, per­son­able win­ery expe­ri­ence, look no fur­ther than ACORN Win­ery in Healds­burg, CA.  Famous for their Zin­fan­dels, Syrahs, and Cab Francs, ACORN is owned and oper­at­ed by Bet­sy and Bill Nach­baur.  All of their tast­ings and tours are by appoint­ment only and are done by Bet­sy and Bill them­selves, so you’re guar­an­teed to have a pri­vate and very per­son­al expe­ri­ence.  Kids are wel­come to join on vine­yard tours and even have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to taste grapes dur­ing har­vest.  Dur­ing tast­ings, there are LEGO bricks, crayons, and corn­hole to keep kids enter­tained so Mom and Dad can enjoy some qui­et time. 

The win­ery also has expan­sive grounds per­fect for pic­nick­ing.  Reser­va­tions are required for all tast­ings and tours.      

 

 

 

Belden Barns Farmstead & Winery

 

Belden Barns

Tons of space to run and play. Pho­to cour­tesy of Wine Not Wine Country.

 

Belden Barns Farm­stead & Win­ery has con­sis­tent­ly been ranked as one of the top fam­i­ly-friend­ly winer­ies for sev­er­al years, and there’s good rea­son for it.  Not only does it offer a bas­ket­ball hoop, corn hole, and fun fam­i­ly events like their Fall Grape Stomp and Spring Cork Hunt, but they also wel­come kids and present them with a Belden Barns back­pack to use for the day.  Inside the back­packs, kids can find field guides to local wildlife, mag­ni­fy­ing glass­es, binoc­u­lars, crayons, and scav­enger hunts.  It’s a fun (and edu­ca­tion­al!) way to keep kids enter­tained while you’re hav­ing a glass of vino.  And the best part is the back­packs are total­ly free! 

 

PRO TIP: They’re avail­able to bor­row on a first come, first served basis, so make sure to call ahead to reserve one! 

 

If you’re think­ing of plan­ning a trip to Cal­i­for­nia Wine Coun­try, but are won­der­ing what to do with your kids, hope­ful­ly, this list will help you real­ize you can have your cab and drink it too.  Hap­py tasting! 

 

 

When You Go

 

Sono­ma to Napa is locat­ed between North­ern and Cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia. From South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, you can dri­ve up the I‑5N to Napa Coun­ty. It’s 413 miles from down­town Los Ange­les or 455 miles to Sono­ma coun­ty. You can also fly into Oak­land Inter­na­tion­al Air­port which is 50 miles from Napa. There is also a small air­port in Napa.

We use CheapOAir to find the least expen­sive flights. The inter­ac­tive bar below will help you com­pare the most afford­able options of get­ting to Cal­i­for­nia Wine Country.

 

 

If you’d like to make a week­end trip to Cal­i­for­nia Wine Coun­try or stay close to any of these winer­ies, you can use the inter­ac­tive map below to find either an AirBnB or hotel close to the area in which you want to stay. We also use Tri­pAd­vi­sor to com­pare reviews of local hotels and find more prices to suit our budget.

 

 

 

 

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There are so many fun things to do with kids in sonoma and napa counties. California wine country has lots of activities that families can enjoy on a family trip to california wine country. Many wineries are welcoming to kids and dogs and provide fun things to do.

 

 

Mor­gan is a brand design­er and writer who splits her time between man­ag­ing her cre­ative stu­dio, Atlas + Anchor, and writ­ing about her life­long love affair with trav­el. A wan­der­lus­ter at heart, she’s a big pro­po­nent of explor­ing the roads less trav­eled because they often lead to amaz­ing views, mem­o­rable sto­ries, and the most unas­sum­ing but life-chang­ing restau­rants. Orig­i­nal­ly from Ohio, Mor­gan now lives in the heart of Chica­go with her fam­i­ly and is quite pos­si­bly the only per­son with­in city lim­its who hates deep dish pizza.