9 California Wineries Offering Outdoor Venues for Group Gatherings
Rustiqué Wines, Monterey County
California remains a popular destination for a plethora of reasons, including its commitment to sustainability, world-class meeting facilities and luxury hotels. But two things make the Golden State shine just a little brighter: its breathtaking natural beauty and, of course, its world-class wine.
Tap into the following wineries in Monterey County, Napa Valley and Sonoma County so attendees can enjoy an outdoor setting while sipping something sweet in California.
From Pinnacles National Park to the Big Sur coastline, Monterey County’s natural beauty is hard to deny. The bucket-list destination is known far and wide for its views, and groups are invited to take them in through a variety of outdoor venues.
What makes Monterey County even more enticing—especially for wine enthusiasts—is the area’s collection of more than 175 vineyards, over 60 wineries and tasting rooms and 32 varietals all within the destination’s borders. Many of them offer private settings for larger gatherings.
Rustiqué Wines, a family-owned and -operated estate, was established in 2006 in the heart of Monterey County and at the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. The winery offers a rustic and unpretentious charm alongside rolling hills and vineyards, with flavors and vibes reminiscent of California wine of the 1970s. The estate makes pinot noir and chardonnay with the grapes from Silacci Vineyards and offers an original barn for laid-back gatherings of 50-300 guests.
Originally founded in 1982 by Bob and Patti Brower as Chateau Julien Wine Estate, Folktale Winery & Vineyards became what it is today in 2015 after being acquired by a local winemaker named Gregory Ahn. Ahn renamed the 15 acres of landscaped gardens and vineyards to reflect the thrill of discovery, the joy of gathering “and the idea that every great bottle of wine holds a story.”
The idyllic winery situated along the Carmel River is just five minutes from Carmel-by-the-Sea, a small beach destination on the Monterey Peninsula, and offers multiple indoor and outdoor venues. The Rose Vineyard, perfect for gatherings beneath the sun or stars on a grassy area, is surrounded by grapevines and boasts views of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Folktale Winery & Vineyards can accommodate groups from 30 to 1,000 guests.
Dating back to 1928, Holman Ranch sits atop a 750-acre private estate in Carmel Valley and was once a Hollywood retreat for stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, Theda Bara and Clark Gable. The winery and ranch has welcomed Indigenous tribes, Spanish missionaries, cattle farmers, winemakers and Hollywood stars for nearly a century, and now groups are invited to experience Holman Ranch privately, as it only hosts one event at a time, allowing for exclusive access to the historic hacienda, lawn and guest rooms.
Holman Ranch’s state-of-the-art wine cave provides unique tasting experiences and a venue for cocktail hours and seated dinners. The Rose Patio greets guests with a grand entrance gate while the Main Plaza situates guests in the heart of the venue and near a paved area ideal for games like bocce ball and cornhole. Holman Ranch can host groups of 10-300 guests.
Offering more than 400 wineries open for tastings and nearly 100 urban tasting rooms, Napa Valley is a top-tier destination for world-class wine and the great outdoors. Plus, 95% of Napa Valley’s wineries are family-owned and -operated, according to Visit Napa Valley, giving groups the opportunity to give back.
One such family-owned winery is Cuvaison, which was founded in 1969 as one of the “pioneering wineries that helped shape the modern era of Napa Valley winemaking,” according to the winery’s website.
Cuvaison features multiple indoor and outdoor spaces for groups of up to 125 overlooking the vineyards, hills and a duck pond, as well as private experiences for groups of 1-10 and 10-20 people, all including a tasting of five wines for each guest led by one of the winery’s Hospitality Specialists. Groups of up to 50 guests can combine the Winemaker’s Lounge & Patio, and full buyouts are available for larger gatherings of up to 125 guests.
Nestled in the heart of Napa Valley on the location of the historic St. Helena Bergfeld Winery is Hall Wines, a prestigious winery that elevates the region’s rich winemaking history and commits to sustainable and environmentally responsible practices. The certified organic vineyard and LEED Gold-certified winery has a history spanning 150 years and was once the home of the Napa Valley Co-Op, responsible for producing 40% of Napa Valley’s wines, according to the winery’s website.
The Hall family completed restoration of the 1885 Bergfeld Winery in 2013, becoming California’s first LEED Gold-certified winery. Groups can take advantage of event spaces that include:
- Library + Mayacama/Vaca Salons, with views of the historic winery and mountain ranges for up to 14 people
- Founder’s Cellar, offering a sophisticated space that seats groups at the King’s Table, crafted to look like one solid log
- The Great Lawn, the focal point of the property and ideal for grand experiences during any time of the day
Napa Valley’s Beringer is California’s longest continually operating winery, serving as one of the first gravity-led facilities operating using hand-dug caves and cellars and giving public tours since 1934. The estate provides a unique opportunity to experience Napa Valley’s past, with the Rhine House mansion built in the style of a 17th-century European chateau serving as a focal point for the winery.
Beringer’s stately 19th-century architecture and verdant gardens have been designated a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, and groups have the opportunity to experience many of the historic buildings.
The 17-room Rhine House features a stonework exterior with stained-glass windows and interior wood paneling while the Hudson House, original to the Beringer property, boasts high ceilings, French doors, a wood-burning fireplace and a wraparound porch. The Grove just outside the Hudson House surrounds guests in 100-year-old Redwood trees, and the Wine Caves serve as an ideal space for pre-dinner receptions or daytime winery tours.
Just 30 miles north of San Francisco sits another acclaimed California wine region, Sonoma County, with a list of more than 425 wineries situated amongst nearly 60,000 acres of vineyards within the borders of 19 American Viticultural Areas to choose from, according to Sonoma County Tourism.
In 1960, Walter Byck proposed to his family in the Netherlands that they start an art garden. By 1978, Byck proclaimed he “found paradise” on 155 acres of land overlooking the Russian River Valley, and his venture eventually turned into one of the renowned Russian River Valley wineries of Sonoma County, Paradise Ridge Winery, offering award-winning vineyard-designated wines and sunset views overlooking Santa Rosa in the heart of Sonoma County.
Paradise Ridge Winery offers a naturally sophisticated setting and space for up to 250 guests indoors and out, including two company event venues: The Vine Room, a contemporary indoor space with views of the Russian River Valley, and Nagasawa Tasting Room, named in honor of Kanaye Nagasawa, samurai of Kagoshima and a pioneering winemaker of Paradise Ridge and Sonoma County. The winery’s Veranda, facing west, provides backdrops of California sunsets while the Poetry Terrace is the venue’s most popular outdoor location and features a bandstand and views of the estate.
Sitting in the heart of Healdsburg along Westside Road are a number of Spanish Mediterranean-style buildings making up the piazza at Bacchus Landing, a curated collective of world-class wineries rooted in Sonoma County. Offering five tasting rooms and wine paired with local artisanal bites, Bacchus Landing provides a picture-perfect setting for enjoying California wine with a view.
With more than 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, groups of all sizes are invited to gather at Bacchus Landing for a meeting, workshop, reception, sit-down dinner and more. The property’s 1,015-square-foot Vintners Room can hold up to 80 guests while the second-floor Rooftop Terrace can accommodate 120.
Founded in 1990 by Sam and Vicki Sebastiani, Viansa Winery combines the roots of both Tuscany and the Sonoma Valley in an environment dedicated to Italian varietal wines and hospitality. The winery, set atop a hill overlooking the Valley of the Moon, resembles a Tuscan Villa with a tiled roof, terracotta walls and shuttered windows. French doors open to a circular courtyard surrounded by olive trees and grapevines, and a stone-walled staircases leads to a bronze door opening to an enchanting hilltop “village” with a fountain courtyard, ivy-clad walls and a picnic area beneath a grapevine-laced trellis.
Host events at Viansa venues like the circular courtyard, a candlelit wine cellar or the winery’s newest reception space, the Pavilion, available year-round and offering panoramic views of the Sonoma Valley, estate vineyards and coastal wetlands.
This article was produced in partnership with Visit California