As the Wine Country installs more places that look like Tuscan villa-spaceships landed in the middle of Northern California, Larson Family Winery brings us back to authentic Wine Country roots: a Western, ranching, agricultural life. And oh yeah, great wines.
Larson is a historic property, on the site of the old Sonoma Rodeo. Once you turn down a tiny lane, replete with funny signs pointing the way, you find a lovely red barn and some historic houses (one of which is available to rent.)
Adults enjoy the fabulous reds. The cabs and the Meritage are truly exceptional, and have always been consistent award-winners for the winery. Kids enjoy the gentle, loving wine dogs and animals roaming the property. I don’t normally recommend bringing kids to wineries, but Larson rolls out the red carpet for visitors of all ages. (Horseback rides through the vineyards are also possible for kids and grown-ups alike.)
The staff love wine, and love talking to you about it. You’ll always end up pleasurably staying and chatting much longer than you thought!
If you bring a picnic, there’s a nice bocce court in the sunshine where you can also enjoy some of Larson’s great creations. On a hot day outdoors, I’m a big fan of their highly drinkable Pinot Noir Roses.
Info on the winery that “drinks what they can and sells the rest” (their official, and admirable, slogan) is here: http://www.larsonfamilywinery.com/ In the physical world, they’re just off Highway 121, only a few minutes from the plaza in Sonoma.