by Debra Harden, July 15, 2017
You know what they say about Pinot, right? Goes with just about everything, including your picnic! And since our local wine region SPECIALIZES in world-class Pinot Noir (and Chardonnay) - it's easy to find the perfect Pinot Noir.
A few things to keep in mind about local winery picnic spots:
Most picnic tables are offered on a first-come, first-served basis - unless you have "a group". (Group sizes vary, so call first) Which means - get there early!
Besides hats and sunscreen, our handiest recommendation is to bring along some dryer softener sheets - yes, those white sheets that go into the dryer to keep the static off your clothing - place those on the table and under and around any trays of food to help keep the yellowjackets away - they love charcuterie and aren't shy about biting your fingers to get at the meat inside your sandwich. Bounce dryer sheets really help. You're welcome!
Some wineries do not allow pets, some don't allow children (sorry, but not our fault!) ALL of these wineries DO allow children, but some don't allow pets
These are the wineries that have excellent Pinot AND really nice picnic spots:
Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards: Winemaker Tony Craig makes quite a few single-vineyard Pinots to choose from, so taste away inside the rustic brown barn Tasting Room, then go enjoy your picnic (we love the patio on the far side of the pink villa, near the burbling water fountain on the lawn, or try "Pinot Hill" - the TR staff can direct you). If you want something chilled, try the Rose' or the amazingly delicious un-oaked Chardonnay. But really, have the Pinot! (no pets)
Wrights Station: Here's a winery that specializes in Chardonnay & Pinot Noir - that's pretty much all they make, and they grow the grapes themselves. The winery is a renovated 1947 farmhouse with a huge, two-tiered patio + delicious Pinots! Currently we love their new 777 Pinot, and the Far Away Block Pinot. During super hot spells, you might want to rent the cute indoor dining room for an hourly rate. (Nice, friendly, leashed pets okay)
Silver Mountain Vineyards: For a more rustic setting, try Silver Mountain! They have an outdoor grassy amphitheater, with tiers cut into a small hillside and a net-type canopy over part of it. They make a Rose' of Pinot Noir (sells out quickly) and several vineyard-designated Pinots from their own, and neighboring vineyards. We like the Miller Hill Pinot and the Rose' of Pinot Noir is a nice way to refresh. All organically-grown! The property is also the residence of the winemaker-owner and they have a very large people-friendly dog that wanders the grounds, just FYI in case you plan to bring pets/tiny tots. (call winery for latest pet policy)
Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery: Heading for the coast? Love Pinot and want to picnic? Alfaro's has a nice big covered patio with an outdoor wine bar - try the Mary Katherine Vineyard Pinot if it's available - super yum (& named after owner Mary Kay). Beautiful views from the patio that makes it seem like you are floating over the hillside vineyards! (nice dogs on leash are welcome)
Beauregard Vineyards: Surrounded by cool redwood trees, the picnic area has a nice green lawn but few tables, so bring a picnic blanket & some back-jacks/folding chairs and enjoy some food-friendly Pinot from estate-grown vines. Beauregard is up the coast and then up the hill, in the tiny town of Bonny Doon and they have a very chill, laid-back vibe - perfect for relaxing and taking in the fresh air with your Pinot Picnic. (no dogs allowed, due to owner's dog not taking kindly to doggie visitors)
Next time you are thinking of Picnics and Pinot (for a group of ten or more) - CALL US: 408-867-9661