A visit to Sbragia Family Vineyards

The winery with the most stunning views of Dry Creek Valley has to be Sbragia Family Vineyards.   An easy 10 minutes drive from the Healdsburg Plaza, this is the place to relax and enjoy a glass of wine, or bring a picnic and spend a few hours in the sun on their outdoor terrace.

On one side of the terrace you’ll see the sweeping vineyards of the Dry Creek Valley, and the other side, the slopes leading up to the dam at Lake Sonoma.  You may well recognize the Sbragia name due to its accomplished owner, and winemaker Ed Sbragia.  Ed is considered wine royalty in this area, after winning more awards than any other winemaker in history, many during his 32 year history as the winemaker at Beringer Vineyards in the Napa Valley.

Like many of the wine families that immigrated to this area, the Sbragia family also has impressive roots dating back to 1904 when Ed’s grandfather came to the area.

What it lacks in gardens and architecture, the experience here still excels due to the views and location, the knowledgeable, friendly staff, and excellent wines. You’ll find a fairly low-key experience, with plenty of space to  relax both inside and out.

The wines you want to try here are the Zinfandels and Cabernets, many with 90+ point scores.  Here, you’ll definitely get a good sense of the wines that Dry Creek Valley are known for and the tasting room team are also a great wealth of information about the area.  I also found the Rosé to be excellent, but at the time of my visit it was only available to wine club members.

For something special, ask about the “Ark” tasting.  This is their private room with incredible views where couples or small groups can have a private tasting of up to five of their top single vineyard wines.

Expert tips:

  • Pick up lunch at Dry Creek Grocery and have a picnic on their terrace after your tasting.  Sbragia has one of the best views in Dry Creek Valley.
  • Many wines are wine club only.
  • For a relaxing, intimate experience avoid major event weekends (or call ahead to make a reservation.)

WineryCritic Ratings

8/10 Overall visitor experience

N/A Knowledge of guide – no tour

8/10 Location

7/10 Architecture and design, landscaping

8/10 Other experiences: The Ark private tasting experience

9/10 Knowledge of tasting room staff

9/10 Friendliness of staff

9/10 Signage & ease of access

9/10 Quality of the wines poured

Appointment required:  No.  Appointments are required for private tastings in the Ark room.  Tasting room hours are 10:30am to 5:00pm daily.

Address:  9990 Dry Creek Road. Geyserville, CA 95441

www.sbragia.com

Tasting fees & experiences: 

  • $10 – $20 per person: Tasting fee
  • $15 and $25 per person: Terrace Tasting
  • $45 per person: Ark Tasting – a private tasting involving explorative and educational flight of Five Single Vineyard Cabernets. The experience is hosted by a member of the Sbragia team.

Good for:  Couples, picnickers, Zinfandel and Cabernet lovers, dog friendly

Wines produced: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rosé, Merlot, Zinfandel (La Promessa), Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah.

What’s nearby:  Lake Sonoma, Ferrari Carano Winery, Healdsburg Plaza.

District/Appellation: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County

Contact for appointments:  Book through VinoVisit

Date of visit: November 21, 2013

E-mail: mindy@winerycritic.com