Have you ever dreamed of visiting wine country? Is it on your retirement bucket list due to the fact that you have kids and can’t pay for an au pair to accompany you? Are you sick of doing the same old kid-friendly Disney cruises? (can you get sick of those?) Well, I am here to tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too!! Or should I say, “You can have your wine and drink it too!”? We recently made the trek across country to meet some friends in Sonoma, CA. While we were there, we did a little research and found that kid-friendly (and dog-friendly) wineries DO exist! Sing with me: Hallelujah! Before going, we found this article with a list of 8 kid-friendly wineries in Sonoma. We tried out 3 of them, and let me tell you, they did not disappoint!!!
For our first family winery outing we tried Benzinger Family Winery. They no longer had a playground that the article mentioned, but they did have a super cool tractor tour through the vineyards. This red tractor was the first thing that Oakley noticed. When we went inside for our wine tasting, the bar tender was kind enough to give Oakley some water in a wine glass so he could “cheers” with us. My friend, Katie, and I were both wearing our infants too. The employees were so kind and kept reiterating that Benzinger was a FAMILY winery. After our tasting we ventured outside to explore the grounds. They were impeccable. Rows of beautiful vineyards up a hillside and tons of flowers for Oakley to stop and sniff along the way. We stopped by a little pond near the parking lot and admired the little green frogs jumping into the water after getting spooked by us. Overall, there was so much natural beauty to Benzinger that Oakley could have walked around for hours looking at all the flowers and birds and vineyards (and no one would have looked sideways at us!)
Our next stop was at Imagery Estate Winery. Immediately after getting out of the car, Oakley found a beautiful cement trail lined with the most beautiful array of flowers on either side. This sidewalk led down and around to an open field complete with picnic tables, a bocce ball court, several sets of corn hole and a line of lawn chairs. HEAVEN. I looked around and immediately noticed another family that was pushing a baby carriage around the field and another couple sitting on lawn chairs with their dog sitting next to them. I knew we lucked out again. We played outside for a bit and then went inside to do our tasting. While at the bar, we tasted a yummy dessert wine and were given some chocolate to taste along with the wine. The bar tender proceeded to let Oakley partake in his very own chocolate tasting of a variety of chocolates that even the paying wine-taster did not receive. ha. The day was lovely; we could have sat here all day watching Oakley play in the grass, but we had just enough time to try one more winery.
Cline Cellars was our last winery of the day. When we walked inside, it had a very quaint feel and doubled as an adorable gift shop too. We were able to purchase little treats and cheese to fill our bellies as a pre-dinner snack. We then walked outside to the back of the building and there was a large pond with a multitude (more like a mass mob) of fish that were clearly well-acquainted with humans. We looked to our right and realized why: you could purchase fish food from the quarter machine. CHA-CHING! We sat there for longer than we probably would have liked while Oakley fed the fish in awe. But wait, there’s more! They also had a pheasant farm! Have you ever seen a pheasant in real life? What about the most exotic, beautiful looking pheasants from around the world? They had about 8 cages of different types of pheasants, and they are stunningly beautiful creatures. Oakley ran from one cage to the next admiring them with us! On our way back to the building for our tasting, we even noticed a mama duck in the pond with her 6 ducklings trailing behind. Our tasting was amazing. We ended up leaving with some cute gifts from the gift store and 2 bottles of yummy rosé.