I love finding the most relaxing and most charming spots in wine country. This month I focused on garden wineries. What better time than spring to locate some great places to have a glass of wine, stroll through a lush landscape, and put your weekday worries aside. From a garden winery l visited in Carmel Valley that housed chirping blue birds and a rustic gold gate covered with wisteria to another in Paso Robles with a gigantic 14 foot granite cat at its entrance, I found out quickly through research that there is a garden for every taste! These 5 wineries top my list for the most beautiful and unique garden settings in California wine country.
1. Georis Winery, Carmel Valley
This is a small winery off the beaten path, but once you arrive a golden, rusted gate leads you into a wisteria covered path and a very unusual garden equipped with cages of parrolets (mini parrots), iron chairs, tables, and fountains made from empty wine bottles. A 1930’s adobe building houses a fun gift shop. This is as authentic as it gets!
Sit and enjoy a flight tasting of 5 select wines with a cheese platter and crostinis. Don’t miss: 2013 Les Abeilles Rose.
2. Ferrari Carano Winery, Dry Creek Valley
The Gardens at Ferrari Carano offer 5 acres of gorgeous blooming flowers, trees and shrubs in a park-like setting. Paths and foot bridges take you a alongside a peaceful stream where you can view waterfalls flowing into fish ponds. Bronze sculptures also adorn the garden throughout. Spring is a perfect time to visit and see over 10,000 tulips and daffodils! Drink: Fume Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, El Dorado Noir (dessert wine).
3. Chateau St. Jean Winery, Sonoma
Chateau St. Jean’s winery is a great place for wine tasting, but the gardens here are considered one of the most beautiful in Sonoma County and not to miss. Its elegant Mediterranean style combined with statues and water features transports you to the south of France. I suggest sitting at the tables in the garden courtyard where you can taste wines and enjoy some gourmet treats from the Charcuterie Shop. Drink: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
4. Ponte Winery, Temecula Valley
A vineyard garden with 180 degree views of the vineyards and mountains of Temecula Valley almost screams, Marry Me Here!. If you are looking to take a stroll through a lovely garden with spectacular views, this is the place. And if you are looking to get married in a garden setting, this is definitely the spot. The restaurant at Ponte is a great place to take in the scenery and enjoy a great meal. Drink: 2007/2008 Tempranillo, 2009 Late Harvest.
5. Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden, Paso Robles
You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a black granite cat 14 feet high and weighing somewhere around 17,000 pounds. Now, imagine this greeting you at the entrance to Sculpterra winery – quite an impression. This art garden displays a variety of artists and pieces, including sculptures named Mermaid, Puma, and Dancing Horse. Great place to stroll with a glass of wine. They usually have live music on weekends. Drink: 2011 Late Harvest Primitivo, 2010 Cabernet Franc