10 Free Wine Country Tastings for the Budget Conscience Wine Lover

If you’ve visited or are planning on visiting Wine Country, you may have noticed the steep price tag associated with basking in the Northern California sun and sipping on the literal fruits of the ubiquitous wineries labor. A few wine tastings, bottles and wine clubs in to your trip and your bank account will be serving you major side eye as the dollar signs start stacking up.

Born out of my love for a good deal, I compiled a solid list of 10 complimentary wine tasting experiences in Wine Country. Whether you are a early twenty-something looking to experience the beauty of Wine Country on a budget, a finance-conscience couple coming to the area, or just someone who’s in love with a good deal (aren’t we all!), these wineries and tasting rooms provide a free tasting experience when you visit.

The beauty of this free tasting list is that it spans across different areas of Wine Country, from Napa and Sonoma to Healdsburg and Geyserville. Make sure to map out your trip ahead of time to maximize your efficiency and to make sure you’re not trying to skip from a St. Helena winery to a Guerneville winery with only thirty minutes of travel time.

My final tip is to use this list to your advantage, but by no means be tied to it. Whether this is your first Wine Country excursion or your 20th, there’s a lot of great tastings that have a fee so do your own research ahead of time, pick your favorites and spreckle them in throughout your trip!

Note: Please double check with any you choose to visit ahead of time for hours, reservation requirements, etc. Please also support the wineries you visit by leaving them a stellar review, or purchasing a bottle from them!

Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/_drazzari/

Adastra Wines

5 E. Napa St., Sonoma, CA 

Adastra translates to “through striving, to the stars.”

I was seeing stars while visiting their tasting room, absolutely in love with Adastra Wine’s complimentary tasting and gracious, all-star staff. They currently offer a complimentary tasting of at least two wines and an Estate Tasting for $20 which features at least four wines from their organically-farmed vineyard in the Napa Carneros. The Estate Tasting fee is waived with a purchase of one of their bottles.

Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/vinylsandvinos

Alexander Valley Vineyards

8644 Highway 128, Healdsburg, CA

A personal favorite of mine, Alexander Valley Vineyards features to complimentary tasting options. Enjoy samples of their award winning wines, learn about the estate and enjoy the views in their friendly tasting room OR tour and taste inside their 25,000 square foot underground wine cave. Learn about their barrel aging program while tasting some of the young wine from barrels.

My recommendation is the latter!

Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/arafanelliwinery/

A. Rafanelli Winery

4685 W Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA

Since the early 1900’s the Rafanelli family has been growing grapes and making wine in the Dry Creek Valley.  Four generations later they are still keeping with the tradition, growing premium grapes and producing world class wines.  The winery is small, and being family owned and operated, production is limited, with the focus on quality not quantity!

Tastings at A. Rafanelli Winery are complimentary and are by reservation only.

Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/coppolawine/

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, CA

With more than forty wines produced on-site in their state-of-the-art winemaking facility, a restaurant serving up cuisine made to pair perfectly with our wines, all on a property surrounded by sustainably farmed vineyards, they are proud to offer a variety of Tasting and Tour options hosted by educated and entertaining hospitality staff including a complimentary splash of two wines are available daily at our Main Floor Tasting Bar, served in traditional Italian Trattoria glassware.

Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/heitzcellar/

Heitz Cellar

436 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 

Founded in 1961, Heitz Cellar is a true Napa Valley legend that has helped shape the history of Napa Valley winemaking. Pioneering vintner Joe Heitz ushered in Napa’s modern era fifty-five years ago with his iconic, globally-celebrated wines including Napa Valley’s first vineyard-designated Cabernet Sauvignon, the renowned Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard.

Their social tasting which is complimentary and only offered Tuesday through Thursday from 11:00am – 3:30pm. Please contact them to arrange your visit.

Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/wine_country_tastings/

Highway 12 Vineyards & Winery

498 1st St. E., Sonoma, CA

Highway 12 is atypical of other wineries in that they make use of a number of different growing appellations to create their wines. They traverse the iconic appellations of Sonoma, Napa and the foothills of the Sierras to find the perfect grapes, putting long standing friendships with growers to perfect use.

Visitors to their Tasting Room enjoy complimentary tasting and a wealth of local knowledge and tips on must-sees in the area.

Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/tylojoe/

Korbel Champagne Cellars

13250 River Road, Guerneville, CA

Easily one of the most recognizable champagnes out there, Korbel is a must-visit.

The Korbel story is more than a chapter in Sonoma County history. It is the saga of two enterprising families with pioneer spirits and old-world resourcefulness who envisioned the great opportunities emerging from the development of 19th-century America.

Visitors to the Korbel Winery may enjoy a 50-minute tour through their historic champagne cellars and history museum, ending with a complimentary tasting.  

Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/localstastingroom/

Locals Tasting Room

21023 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, CA

With a name like Locals Tasting Room, your sure to get some of the best wines Wine Country has to offer and at no cost to you!

Locals is uniquely able to offer flight tastings allowing you to parallel taste 5 pinots or 6 Zinfandels, for example, all made by different local winemakers. The experience is not only fun, but also allows you to determine the particular preferences of your palate. Locals interviewed over 40 wineries to find the 10 in the room. All of the 75 wines are open and available for tasting.

Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/vinylsandvinos/

Sutter Home Wines

277 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA

While wine snobs may laugh, I’m in no way elitist with my wine and this one is an absolute recommend from me. Their customer service and conversations is always a sell for me. Plus, the bottle is so omnipresent, why not have a story in your back pocket to tell friends when a bottle of Sutter Home inevitable appears at a gathering?

Their base tasting is free, but you can upgrade to their reserve for a mere $3.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to get a picture with their massive wine glass and blow up bottles!

Photo by: https://www.instagram.com/williamsonwines/

Williamson Wines

134 Matheson St., Healdsburg, CA

One of the most unique and one of the best values on this list is Williamson WInes complimenary wine AND food tasting.  

Every wine is served with delicious food creations from our winery kitchen so you can taste the wine alone, then experience how it works with the food pairing.

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I hope that you found value from this list, and that you have a few free wine tastings in Wine Country options to add to your visit repertoire.

Have a free winery tasting you don’t see? I want to know! Shoot me an email or leave me a comment with a recommendation of your own or to let me know about a winery listed that you tried!

 

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