Famed writer Jack London who lived and died in Northern California wine country penned, “Across Sonoma Mountain, wisps of sea fog are stealing. The afternoon sun smolders in the drowsy sky. I have everything to make me glad I am alive.” Frequently referred to most simply as wine country, Northern California tends to make one glad to be alive as London explained thanks to its rolling hills dotted with some of the most sought after grapes in the world. The area north of San Francisco presents not just the wine regions of Napa and Sonoma but also Mendocino, the North Coast and spots around Sacramento.
With over 400 wineries up here alone, it comes as no surprise that many wedding and event venues have sprung up to host special occasions amidst sceneries that make you glad to be alive. Ranches, wineries, estates, resorts, boutique inns, gardens, farms and even hip marketplaces all open up their doors and natural settings for a slice of Northern California’s Wine Country. Sip on a glass while we detail some of our favorite venues up north.
Mountain House Estate
Settled into rural wine country near the Sonoma-Mendocino County line in Cloverdale, Mountain House Estate boasts foundations as a wedding and event venue. What began as a sheep and cattle ranch in 1859 and later an essential stagecoach stop is now a gated estate set on 40 private acres of land. Surrounded by rolling hills, native trees and wildlife, the estate can host weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, vow renewals, reunions and retirement parties. You can have 250 guests for outdoor events and 120 guests for seated, indoor gatherings.
Multiple ceremony and reception spaces scatter about the estate grounds. The spacious lawn is a great spot for tented weddings as it surrounds manicured landscaping, a picturesque pond and a rustic barn. In addition to an expansive patio for dancing for your wedding, Mountain House Estate also lends a wedding suite for pre-event preparations and a great room and bar, which can act as a staging area of your caterer and vendors. Two rooms in the estate are also made available for overnight stays.
Bear Flag Farm
Close to the San Francisco Bay Area and roughly 15 minutes from Sacramento International Airport, Bear Flag Farm surrounds in orchards, lavender fields and vineyards. Also within reach of Napa and Sonoma, the private luxury estate finds a home in Winters. From weddings to private parties to corporate events, you can choose from a variety of open spaces on the property of Bear Flag Farm for your special occasion. What makes this Northern California wedding venue a bit unique is that the estate places a limit on the number of private events held here each year. As a result, you can have a completely unique experience for your wedding or party.
For your wedding, many couples host their ceremony on the manicured lawn of Bear Flag Farm. The space proves idyllic thanks to the lavender fields engulfing the setting. Cocktail hours can occur in the gardens, vineyards and orchards of the property. Receptions are frequently held on the terraced lawn, uniquely accented by sycamore trees. Custom meal plans can be arranged, all filled with organic produce and wine from the farm.
Healdsburg Country Gardens
Located in the town of Healdsburg, just north of Santa Rosa, Healdsburg Country Gardens combines some of the best aspects of Sonoma’s Wine Country with farmland. The rolling estate features eye-popping gardens, lawns and even a barn from 1902. Toss in the fact that the property boasts a 100-year-old majestic cork oak tree and you have the makings for a truly romantically rustic venue.
The settings offered at Healdsburg Country Gardens include the actual gardens, the lawn and the barn. The gardens adorn with beautiful plants and flowers like lavender bushes and roses. The Lawn creates drama for weddings and events by its mere positioning looking out over the vineyards. The Barn lends plenty of weathered details and character. With a history reaching back over 100 years, you can expect 25-foot ceilings with old beams and rafters. Most couples select to have their dancing in the barn thanks to the stellar acoustics. Healdsburg Country Gardens also provides menus with food grown fresh from their Sonoma neighbors for your event. Two little farm cottages are also available to get ready in before the wedding and to stay overnight. Each claims a private deck and vineyard views.
Chateau St Jean
Nestled into the mountain shadow of Sugarloaf Ridge in the Sonoma Valley, Chateau St Jean has made a name for producing award winning wines. The Sonoma Valley Estate in Kenwood centers on a 1920s chateau. Originally built as a summer home for Ernest and Maude Goff, the chateau has since been restored and listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Founded in 1973, the Sonoma Valley Estate sprawls across 250 acres. It is available for weddings along with corporate and private events.
Coupled with its vineyard views, dramatic mountain backdrop and lush gardens, Chateau St Jean provides a romantic wedding backdrop. From small to large celebrations, several different settings are available. The Chateau Grand Lawn hosts ceremonies and receptions while the Rose Garden provides an intimate space for a wedding with walls of cascading roses. Historic chateau rooms are also offered for brides and grooms to get ready in for their big day. For corporate and private events, Chateau St Jean can arrange for a private group wine tasting, food and wine experiences or even a bocce picnic. In addition to weddings, corporate and private events, the vineyard is equipped for engagements, family reunions, retirement parties and Al Fresco wine pairings.
Set up in Mendocino County, just two hours from San Francisco International Airport, Campovida identifies as a working organic farm, vineyard, event venue and retreat center. The setting outfits with lush vineyards, stately oak trees, fields and gardens. Setting a naturally romantic stage, Campovida hones in on the goal of rejuvenating the mind and spirit. Across the 10 bedrooms for overnight stays scattered in the main inn, adjacent farmhouse and small cottage, you won’t find a phone or television in order to maintain this peaceful and calm atmosphere. Campovida is equipped to host weddings, dinner parties, gardening events, wine tastings and charity luncheons.
Campovida boasts three garden locations for your event. The estate also claims an 1890 reclaimed barn as a venue location or the atmospheric perch under one of the many 500-year-old Valley Oaks. Your guests can sip on organic wines and farm-to-table meals at your event as well. Campovida includes a 13-acre organic garden. Not only can weddings use the 50 acres of the organic farm but also many companies select to host their corporate meetings on site. You can host your corporate retreat throughout several meetings spaces available including the Culinary Corner, Green Barn, Hop Bar and throughout the outdoor spaces on the estate.
Nestled into the heart of Sonoma Valley, Beltane Ranch presents a historic bed and breakfast farm stay inn setting for weddings and events in Glen Ellen. With a ranch house hailing from 1892, Beltane Ranch exudes that historic California ranch charm. Spread out across 105 acres, the ranch adorns in gardens, orchards, grazing horses and cattle, vineyards and even a winery. Producers of world class Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel, Beltane Ranch remains one of the last family owned and operated ranches in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. Accommodations on site include five rooms and a private cottage, outfitted with antiques and original architectural details.
You can host your summer weddings, intimate gatherings and elopements at the ranch. Weddings can accommodate up to 150 guests and lend couples exclusive use of the bed and breakfast, lawn and gardens. Oak and olive trees, historic barn doors and twinkling market lights accent venue settings. Beltane Ranch can also put on smaller events. Dinners generally occur in the living and dining room complete with fireplace or in the garden/lawn area. Your guests will enjoy chef prepared multi-course menus from the on-site gardens as well.
Just outside of the picturesque wine country town of Healdsburg in Northern California, Arista Winery lends a bit more unique winery event space. Founded in 2002 by the McWilliams family, the winery exudes that family focused and intimate vibe. Arista wines hone in on quality over quantity and reflect the characteristics of the Russian River Valley. The 36-acre estate is ideally suited to grow Pinto Noir and Chardonnay wines thanks to its complex soil makeup.
Due to the natural beauty and diversity of Arista Winery, it is suited for weddings and events. You’ll have several event spaces to choose from on the estate. Venue settings include the Tasting Room, Outside Deck, Japanese Gardens, Oak Grove, Terrace and Pavilions. What makes Arista Winery unique is that all of the event areas are outdoors, allowing you and your guests to be surrounded by the vineyards at all points of your event. As all of Arista Winery’s event spaces are largely outdoors, only seasonal events are permitted from May to October. In addition to the vineyard, Arista Winery also claims 1 acre of organic gardens.
Right at the gateway to Sonoma and Napa County, Cornerstone Sonoma offers up a bit more unique event venue. Right in the town of Sonoma, the setting identifies as a wine country marketplace, a place where you can eat, sip, shop, play and explore. It features unique shops and galleries and premier wine tasting rooms. Cornerstone Sonoma hosts weddings and other events throughout its unique settings.
You will be able to choose from a variety of settings for your event. The wine country marketplace features a grand lawn for weddings and celebrations. Expansive, the lawn space includes a serene lily pond. If you desire a tented wedding, Cornerstone Sonoma delivers with its grand Sperry Tent, surrounded by flowers. Many events and meetings however on site take place in the Barn at Tyge William Cellars. The white washed barn drips in elegance as it nestles amongst the vineyard. The barn setting also makes it possible to have both indoor and outdoor experiences during your event. Cornerstone Sonoma truly ups the unique factor however with its whimsical gardens. Showcasing innovative designs from international and local architects and designers, the gardens present great backdrops for photos.
St. Helena Vineyard Estate
Wedged in the Western foothills of St. Helena, St. Helena Vineyard Estate lends a Napa Valley event venue just one hour from Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco. Surrounded by hillside vineyards, the five-acre estate is equipped for corporate retreats, family reunions, film and photo shoots and special celebrations. While weddings are not possible on site, St. Helena Vineyard Estate presents all the amenities you might need to hold a gathering or corporate retreat. Events can include up to 100 guests and 12 guests for overnight stays.
The venue spaces on the property include a 5,000 square foot main house, which features a chef’s kitchen and formal dining room. The vineyard also boasts a 1,200 square foot guesthouse along with manicured landscapes such as trails, open lawns and rose studded settings to host your event. In addition, St. Helena Vineyard Estate claims a multipurpose media/game room with a flat screen TV, pool table, shuffleboard, bar and covered patio. Other fun amenities include a pool and spa overlooking the estate grounds, a 30-meter Bocce ball court and a personal tennis court.
Triple S Ranch
Right in the heart of Napa Valley, Triple S Ranch sits above the hills of the spa town of Calistoga. It was once part of an original Mexican Land Grant of 1,000 acres. The ranch exudes that old California charm, offering up spaces to host weddings and private parties. Triple S Ranch also features 13 cottages for overnight stays, spread out on the scenic grounds. Each boasts a historic feel. The main house on the property exudes a Victorian charm. Hailing from 1854, it also happens to be one of the oldest homes in Napa Valley. Decked with authentic furnishings and decorations from the Victorian era, the home holds three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room and dining room.
Most events and weddings however take place in the large restaurant on site. Originally built as a dairy barn in the 1860s, the expansive and airy events space features 25-foot ceilings with exposed beams, massive French doors and barn wood floors. You can host your wedding up to 200 people within the space without a dance floor and 150 guests with a dance floor. The old dairy barn also includes two antique bars, an expansive deck and two stone patio areas if you want to take your celebration outdoors. An idyllic gathering spot is always found under the massive 175-year-old Black Walnut tree.
Perched in the heart of America’s most famous winemaking region, Meadowood Napa presents a more resort-like venue for your wedding or special occasion. Just an hour and half from San Francisco International Airport, the luxury property lends 85 guestrooms and suites for overnight stays. In fact, you can even arrange to have your honeymoon here through one of Meadowood Napa’s honeymoon packages. Surrounded by wooded landscapes, the luxury hideaway is owned by two celebrated vintners, H. William Harlan and Stan Kroenke.
Accommodations at Meadowood Napa are luxurious, cozy and rustic in style. Some offer private terraces, wood burning fireplaces and open floor plans. Amenities include regular wine tastings, a bar, spa, golf course, tennis courts and swimming pool. Thanks to all of the activities and amenities built into the resort, Meadowood Napa makes for an easy choice for weddings up to 250 guests. Most couples marry outdoors in the gardens or in the croquet glen. Spacious event rooms are offered for receptions. In addition, the property boasts an acclaimed restaurant that has earned three Michelin stars. Menus are all tailor-made to guests and paired with the finest locally made wines.
Paradise Ridge Winery
Occupying a space in the middle of the Russian River Valley, Paradise Ridge Winery resides just minutes from downtown Santa Rosa. Sprawling across 156 acres of land, the winery was started by Walter Byck and Marijke Hoenselaars who deemed the lands at the time, a certain slice of paradise. The expansive winery features an outdoor tasting bar with panoramic views and an unusual outdoor art gallery featuring life size sculptures.
You can host your wedding, business event or social celebrations at Paradise Ridge Winery. The sophisticated, natural setting creates the epitome of romance for a wedding. You will be able to host your wedding either on the expansive mahogany verandas, the terrace with Russian River Valley views or even indoor options if your prefer. Paradise Ridge Winery is suited for large weddings as it can host up to 250 guests from May through October and 150 guests from November to April. You can even let your hair down a little longer at this Northern California wine country event venue. Events can go well past midnight if you prefer. In addition to weddings, meetings and social gatherings, the winery also puts on wine tastings.
Kenwood Inn and Spa
As its namesake would suggest, Kenwood Inn and Spa occupies a space in the town of Kenwood, right in the heart of Sonoma County. Providing the ultimate wine country hotel experience, Kenwood Inn and Spa radiates the allure and charm of a Mediterranean villa in Northern California. From its lush surroundings to its luxurious accommodations, the inn frequently appeals to brides and grooms looking to host their wedding on its grounds. In addition to the 29 rooms and suites complete with fireplaces, Italian linens and featherbeds, Kenwood Inn and Spa also features an outdoor heated pool, hot tubs, terraces and an award winning spa.
For weddings, you’ll have an idyllic backdrop of a Mediterranean style villa set on over 2 acres. Kenwood Inn and Spa is best suited from more intimate gatherings. You can host up to 75 guests in the property’s pool courtyard or Tuscany Terraces. The Tuscany Terraces tier across three levels, accented with romantic lighting and lush surroundings. Kenwood Inn and Spa also offers its Centro Court for weddings and events. Complete with stone fireplaces, a fountain and lush landscaping, the space is best suited for small gatherings of up to 20 guests. The boutique inn also lends its indoor Tuscany Room for up to 40 guests, its restaurant for up to 18 guests and wine bar dining room for up to 6 guests.
Right at the entrance to Sonoma’s wine country, Viansa takes on an enviable perch overlooking the vineyards of Sonoma. With San Francisco International Airport just under two hours away, this winery style event venue will be easy for you and your guests to reach. Honing in on that touch of Tuscany, the estate can cause you to pinch yourself whether you are in California or rural Italy. In fact Samuele Sebastiani who arrived from Tuscany to California in 1896 began Viansa. Sebastiani saved enough money producing cobblestones for the San Francisco streets in order to purchase the vineyard in 1904. His grandson would officially found Viansa in 1989.
With its compelling views, the Tuscany inspired vineyard makes for an idyllic setting for weddings, special events and wine tastings. You are given exclusive use of the winery from 6PM to 11PM when you book your event at Viansa. With the ability to host up to 175 guests, the property offers a number of different choices for settings for your event. You can host your wedding ceremony in the tented pavilion on the well-manicured grounds or utilize the romantic wine cellar for your reception. Viansa also provides an on site wedding planner and catering using only local organic ingredients. Complete with panoramic views of the Sonoma Valley, estate vineyards and coastal wetlands, the Tuscan winery also lends a newly constructed Wine Education Center for events.
The Vintage Estate
Settled into the heart of Napa Valley in downtown Yountville, known for its great number of Michelin starred restaurants, the Vintage Estate comprises of 11 locations with over 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space for your wedding or event. Featuring the Tuscan inspired resort, the Villagio Inn and Spa, V Marketplace, a specialty shopping, dining and culture space and the French country style Vintage Inn, the Vintage Estate practically provides its own sort of Tuscan village of your special celebrations and gatherings.
Your wedding at the Vintage Estate can differ from intimate gatherings of just a few close family and friends to large ballroom celebrations. The estate includes several venue settings to choose from, including the historic Barrel Room. Complete with grand wrought iron chandeliers, the room spans 2,700 square feet to host your ballroom style event. In addition, the estate claims the Pavilion for weddings. Measuring 16,000 square feet, the Pavilion features classic California terraced gardens suited for large celebrations up to 1,000 guests. Other venue settings include the Cypress and Bella Donna and Villagio Board Room for business meetings and the Retreat, a private spa designed for groups.
With a rustic, summer camp yet luxurious feel, Dawn Ranch sits just 20 minutes from the Sonoma Airport and 10 minutes from the Pacific. Close to world-class vineyards in the town of Guerneville, the California resort boasts over 100 years of history in the area. Built in 1905, the rustic resort nestles among towering redwoods on the banks of the Russian River. Welcoming guests for more than a century, the ranch features 53 private cabins and chalets with the ability to accommodate 119 guests overnight. Dawn Ranch is also home to two of the only trees from the rare species, the Dawn Redwood.
Spread out across 15 acres, the resort hosts not just overnight stays but also weddings, special events and business functions. The venue settings are equipped for up to 500 guests. You can choose from the apple orchard, planted in the late 1800s, the long meadow, ideal for weddings and corporate games or host your event in the lodge. Dawn Ranch is also available to host events like rehearsal dinners in the lodge, restaurant or kitchen garden. You can even have your guests gather by the pool or around the boathouse for a campfire.
Carneros Resort and Spa
Right in the town of Napa, Carneros Resort and Spa consists of 89 luxurious cottages, 10 two-bedroom suites and two and three bedroom homes for overnight stays. Amenities and services are extensive, including three full service restaurants, complimentary fitness classes, a boutique, market, several pools and a spa. Carneros Resort and Spa is also available for weddings and events.
Those planning a wedding at Carneros Resort and Spa will have several settings to select from for their big day. The Arbor represents the resort’s outdoor ceremony space. Featuring an expansive oval lawn lined with crepe myrtle trees, photographs tends to pop in this natural setting. The Hilltop Dining Room is offered for receptions, known for its floor to ceiling windows and outdoor patios. You can also select from the Carneros Courtyard, another outdoor space that is great for ceremonies, cocktails and outdoor receptions. The courtyard connects with two ballroom spaces for even more event space. Each event is allowed a maximum capacity of 175 guests. In addition to weddings, meetings and events are allowed at the resort, which frequently features world class dining, and extensive wine selections.
Sweet Lane Gardens
Available for events from May through October, Sweet Lane Gardens in Santa Rosa lends couples a truly organic feeling venue. Just across from the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, Sweet Lane Gardens offers sweeping views of Sonoma County hillsides. The meticulously manicured gardens are available for both weddings and events up to 200 people.
Most ceremonies occur in the spacious lawn area, complete with a Japanese teahouse. The rear area of the property boasts a large teahouse, pond with waterfall, lawn area and large deck and patio for the dinner and dancing portions of your wedding. The 14-acre wholesale nursery and 10-acre vineyard also differ from other wedding venues in the services offered. Not only can you use the in-house coordinator for rehearsal and day of activities, but also you can even arrange for a tethered hot air balloon ride. Guests can join in on the whimsy as a bocce ball court and horseshoe pits are available.
Long Meadow Ranch
Perched high above Rutherford in the Mayacamas Mountains, Long Meadow Ranch sits within walking distance from St. Helena. First settled in the late 1800s, the ranch was later revitalized in 1989 by Ted, Laddie and Chris Hall. The owners boast multiple locations in their organic farming system, including the Mayacamas Estate winery and caves. Set on the original 650 acres, the estate is the proud home of the oldest olive orchards in Napa Valley. The ranch also includes the Farmstead in St. Helena where you can find plenty food and wine experiences.
Long Meadow Ranch puts on weddings and celebrations in wine country with an emphasis on authentic farm to table experiences. With a wide range of both indoor and outdoor venues, the ranch can host events from as small as three guests to up to 300. Corporate events and weddings are treated to unique touches like Live Fire cooking and culinary and wine tasting offerings.
Right in Sonoma, Cline Cellars lends that iconic Sonoma experience. With the Cline family owning many acres of vineyards throughout Sonoma County, you can expect a true sense of wine country at the location in Sonoma. While a fine spot to grab a glass of wine while in town, Cline Cellars also hosts private events and weddings. And perhaps best of all, you can expect your guests to be greeted appropriately with a glass of wine when they arrive.
The list of venue settings is truly endless at Cline Cellars. Bordered by spring fed ponds and mature willow trees, the Great Lawn lends a landscaped garden venue. It is also one of the largest venue spaces at Cline’s with the ability to host 600 guests seated or 1,000 standing. The property also claims the Museum Arbor Gardens. Well suited for more casual events, you can host up to 80 guests here with its built in bar and rustic picnic tables.
Cline Cellars also includes the Adobe Mission and Flagstone Patio. From 20 to 100 guests, you can have your intimate affair surrounding by spring fed ponds and lush gardens. For wine loving couples, the Barrel Room tends to be a popular choice as it adorns in giant Oak barrels. Last but certainly not least, Cline Cellars offers Syrah Hill, the most exclusive venue on the property. Just above the award winning Carnero Syrah Vineyard, the fieldstone structure complete with a rustic terrace and arched windows can host between 12 to 30 guests for your private event.
Have a favorite wedding and event venue in Northern California? Share your pick with us in the comments below.