If there's a winery out there that strikes the perfect balance of Wine Country sophistication and family-friendliness, it's Cline Cellars. Located on the south end of Sonoma Valley on Highway 121, Cline is a kind of wonderland that has a ton of things to see and do for wine tasters and children alike!
Cline looks pretty unassuming from the highway, where most of the grounds are obscured by vineyards and a low fieldstone wall. Turn into the entrance and you'll realize the expansiveness of the place, which is sited on 350 acres. Park around back or up front by the tasting room, which is housed in an cute 1850s farmhouse. You'll probably want to take a moment to walk around the park-like grounds, which feature lawns, six spring-fed ponds, paths, rose bushes, fountains, and even some vintage Pullman dining cars.
In the lawn area to the right of the tasting room you'll find large bird cages housing a number of brightly colored exotic species of pheasant and pigeon. Behind the tasting room on the other side is a large pond filled with huge fish—you'll see them jumping up to the surface if you wait long enough. There's a machine back there near the pond that dispenses fish food that you can toss to them, if you like.
Remember back before you had kids when you used to head up to the Wine Country for a day of fun and wine tasting? You'll find that there are plenty of family-friendly wineries up in Sonoma and Napa counties, so don't stop just because you have kids in tow. Kid friendly wineries are also great places to take out-of-town family and other visitors, especially during the holidays.
What do we look for in a family-friendly winery? First and foremost, there has to be something that kids can do, other than just hang out in the tasting room and wait for mom and dad. Second, the winery should be openly child-friendly and relaxed, both for the comfort of families and for other grownups who probably don't want the disruption of kids to interfere with their Wine Country experience. Last, there should be plenty of space and somewhere to relax and have something to eat, whether you pack it in yourself or buy it on-site.