The Take Your Baby series busts the myths and misconceptions of places and activities you aren't "supposed to take your baby." My philosophy is: if you loved to do it before having kids, you can do it now!
To many, babies and wine are like oil and water, they simply don’t mix. To others, like myself and the many kid-friendly wineries in Napa Valley, there’s no reason why you should give up the pastime of wine tasting when you add a baby or two to your family.
Wine tasting with babies in Napa is one of the things I get asked about very often. Over the past three and a half years since we had our son and then our daughter, we’ve gone wine tasting with them about half a dozen times, each time to a different winery.
Our most recent trip was on Memorial Day 2021 and that presented its own set of complications that stemmed from trying to explore while the world was figuring out how to return from the pandemic. Throw two toddlers into the mix who never want to sit still, and it was a recipe for a stressful afternoon.
In hindsight, I would say that we were not as prepared as we should have been and we learned what to do and what not to do when wine tasting with a toddler or baby.
Keep reading to learn my tips for wine tasting with a baby, toddler or kid and 15 family-friendly wineries in Napa Valley and beyond.
5 Tips for Wine Tasting with a Baby
15 Family Friendly Wineries in Napa Valley and Beyond
Cakebread Cellars Family Tasting
The Family Tasting at Cakebread Cellars was the one I was most excited about (and the one that was impossible for us to attend because it was all booked). At $30 per adult, this is one of the most affordable wine tastings in the area, as well. According to Cakebread's website, you will be able to "share your passion for wine with the next generation on this family-friendly tasting, where the children can listen and learn as the adults sample three current releases." This tasting is in a communal walking format, lasts 45 minutes and is available daily at 11 a.m.
Children and non-tasters are welcome to the Classic Tasting at Honig Winery. Tasting fees are $30 for four glasses plus $10 for each child or non-taster. While we didn't get the opportunity to stop by on our last trip up, Honig Winery is definitely on our list for wineries to check out with our kids the next time we're in Napa.
While it’s not clear on their website, a call to Merryvale confirmed that they are, in fact, family friendly. For fans of Pinot Noir, Merryvale Vineyards offers a Pinot Noir flight of four for $45.
Robert Sinskey Vineyards
Named Sunset magazine’s tasting room of the year and the Wine Spectator's must visit winery in Napa Valley, Robert Sinskey Vineyards is an excellent choice of winery to visit with kids. Their $50 per adult tasting features 5 glasses of wine and organic snacks prepared by the vineyard kitchen.
Rutherford Hill Winery
As the name suggests, Rutherford Hill Winery that sits atop Rutherford Hill and offers breathtaking views of the valley below. Directly on their wine tasting page, it says, “All guests under 21 are welcome and must be included in your reservation. Please communicate your party size, including everyone, even your youngest guests.” If we had driven up through Napa on our last trip rather than through Sonoma and Santa Rose, we would have definitely stopped at Rutherford Hill Winery. Their tastings are $60 per person, Thursday through Monday, from 10am - 5pm, and you are also welcome to bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy with your wine.
Tedeschi Family Winery
As we were planning our trip through Napa on Memorial Day, Tedeschi Family Winery was one of the wineries that confirmed via phone that they welcome little ones. Unfortunately, they were closed on Memorial Day, so we weren't able to visit but it's on our list for next time! Their Estate Tasting features at least five of their award-winning wines and costs $30 per person.
Buena Vista Winery
Enjoy an outdoor tasting at this historic winery along with a local cheese and charcuterie plate ($25 per person for the wine and $30 for the snacks). A call to Buena Vista Winery confirmed that they are family-friendly.
We loved our trip to Gundlach Bundschu when my son was a couple months old and not only because it's just a very fun name to say. The winery is the oldest family-owned winery in California and has an expansive outdoor seating area overlooking the picturesque grapevines and a lake. According to their website, they're "open every day 11am-5:30pm for tastings and tours (max. 6 guests per reservation). Our property is family-friendly and dog-friendly." A flight of five wines starts at $40 per person.
There is so much to love about Viansa Vineyards: the gorgeous atmosphere, their wood-fired pizza oven, their accommodation of both children and furry friends, and their Summit Tasting at $30 per person. According to their website, "Guests of all ages and dogs are welcome at Viansa, but we kindly ask that they remain with their chaperones at all times." Reservations are required for a guided tasting, but you can stop by anytime without a reservation to enjoy their wines and some delicious food.
Not only are Deloach Vineyards family-friendly, they encourage guests to take their Theater of Nature self-guided tour. "the half-acre culinary garden includes vegetables and herbs as well as medicinal plants such as yarrow, chamomile and dandelion, which are used in Biodynamic compost preparations. Our chickens, sheep and goats encourage biodiversity as well as serving as entertainment for our younger guests. Enjoy a selection of artisanal snacks from local Sonoma County purveyors and Oakville Grocery while picnicking in our garden or under the shade-friendly sycamore trees." Their tastings start at $35 for the Appellation Exploration package.
Matanzas Creek Winery
I was dying to make a stop at Matanzas Creek Winery during our last trip to enjoy some wine in their lavender fields. Alas, there are more wonderful wineries than we had time for. At Matanzas Creek Winery, "kids are allowed in the picnic area daily and on the tasting deck Monday-Thursday. Due to the nature of our property, we can only receive guests of legal drinking age, 21 and older, Friday-Sunday on our tasting deck." If you're traveling as a family, plan your trip during the week in late June or early July to fully appreciate this incredible winery when the lavender is at its peak.
Paradise Ridge Winery
Remember how I said we made reservations at two wineries on our wine tasting day and had to skip the second one because of cranky, hungry, tired toddlers? Our second reservation was at Paradise Ridge Winery and I am so bummed we missed it this time around. I was so looking forward to exploring the art around the property in addition to the wines.
Healdsburg and Beyond
At Bricoleur Vineyards in Windsor, CA, you’ll be able enjoy a full range of bubbles, whites, rosés and reds with your entire family. Their children and dogs policy is clearly stated on their website: “We are a family-friendly environment and welcome children and dogs at all times. We kindly request that children are kept under strict adult supervision at all times.” Tastings of their wines start at $65 for The Roots package which includes four glasses of wine that are paired with bites from the kitchen.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
If there was ever a winery designed with your children in mind, it’s Francis Coppola Winery. "When we began to develop the idea for this winery, we thought it should be like a resort, basically a wine wonderland... A place to celebrate the love of life,” said the famed filmmaker. The winery is truly a wonderland for families where little ones can go swimming in the pool while parents enjoy their wines. The pool is open June 15-October 24 and cabines are available for rental. Wine tastings start at $30 per person.
On our last trip from Los Angeles to Healdsburg, we took our two toddlers wine tasting at Martinelli’s Vineyard. While they don’t specify on their website that they’re kid-friendly, I called them before booking to make sure that we can take our toddlers. They were so friendly and accommodating with our kids and flexible with the timing and explanation of the wines when one of us had to step away to handle my son’s tired and hangry tantrums. If we had been more prepared with snacks, we would have had a much more enjoyable time. Tastings at this sustainable winery start at $35 per person.
Have you been wine tasting with your littles? Do you plan to go in the near future? I’d love to hear about your experiences and your plans in the comments!