Family Friendly Wineries: Larson Family Winery in Sonoma
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.
One of our favorite winery destinations is Sonoma's Larson Family Winery. Tucked out of the way down a narrow country road, Larson Family Winery is low key, casual, fun, and unabashedly family friendly. When you first pull up to the winery's parking area, you'll see on your right a pair of animal pens that house the resident sheep and pygmy goats, who will probably run down to the fence to meet you if you wander over.
The Larson Family Winery tasting room is small and homey, with a long bar set against one wall and walls bedecked with historical photos, memorabilia, and a colorful painting depicting the site's rodeo past and winery present. You'll also find olive oil samples to taste, too. While the wine tasting happens here, head out the French doors at the other end of the room to see what Larson Family Winery has to offer for families.
Out back you'll find a large lawn, a regulation-size bocce ball court, a shaded picnic area, plenty of places to sit, games, scooters and ride-on toys, and panoramic vistas of vineyards and the Carneros region. Children can play back here to their hearts' content while parents and other grownups sample wine and relax. Bring your lunch and eat al fresco at a one of the picnic tables. (We suggest stopping at Angelo's Wine Country Deli on the way and picking up sandwiches and other goodies.) The patio is also a great place to watch vintage planes flying to and from the Sonoma Valley Airport right around the corner.
While you're playing out back, you'll probably be greeted by one or more of the three winery dogs, Sunny, Bubba, and Pete. They're all friendly and used to being around children, and they'll probably just hang out and watch you play games on the lawn, although they won't be averse to letting you toss a ball to them, either.
Larson Family Winery holds special events throughout the year. This month, Santa Claus himself visits on December 10, 11, 17, and 18, where he'll be on hand from 1 to 4 pm for photos (free with any wine purchase).
If you go
Larson Family Winery is located outside the town of Sonoma at 23355 Millerick Road. To get there from Marin, take Highway 101 to Highway 37 east, and turn left onto Highway 121 (Arnold Drive) at Sears Point. Follow 121 toward Sonoma and Napa bearing right at the Four Corners area. Millerick Road is on your right just under 1 mile from the intersection, right after the Broadway turn off into Sonoma.
The tasting room is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Games and picnic facilities are free and open during tasting room hours. Clean restrooms are available. No food available for purchase on site.
For more information on Larson Family Winery, visit www.larsonfamilywinery.com or call (707) 938-3031 or 1(800) 938-WINE.
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