Think a day at a winery is an adults-only affair? Think again. These days, more and more vintners understand that it’s not always easy for mom and dad to get a weekend away from the kids to enjoy a little wine appreciation. With bocce ball courts, special kids rooms and alpacas for petting, these vineyards have all the perks you need to keep the kids entertained while you enjoy some Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. Keep reading to see our top spots.
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Pennyroyal Farm—Booneville, CA
This goat farm and vineyard is the perfect spot to stop on your way to the Mendocino coast. The kids will get a kick out of meeting the goats and sheep and learning that each one has a name! Book a farm tour to meet the animals. All tours end with a cheese tasting for all, wine tasting for parents and sparkling grape juice for the little ones. They even have bunnies and small playground equipment to keep everyone busy.
Black Star Farms—Suttons Bay, MI
Sure, Mom and Dad will go to taste the signature chardonnay, riesling and pinot noir wines made at this 21-year-old estate located just off the bay of Lake Michigan on the Traverse Wine Coast, but kids will be more into the stuff outside the walls. The vineyard's 160-acre grounds are home to a variety of easy to moderate hiking trails, an outdoor garden, a petting zoo, a café with family-friendly dining and a gorgeous equestrian center. Kids also enjoy the outdoor fun with paella night that they can watch come together. This occurs on the patio of the café, complete with kids' menu.
Hint: Come May to October when the vineyard's Hearth and Vine Cafe offers wood-fired pizzas, pasta, farm fresh appetizers and special dining events.
Alexis Bailly Winery—Hastings, MN
Minnesota may seem like an unlikely spot for grapes to grow, but “making wines in the world’s most difficult climate” has become Alexis Bailly vineyards’ triumph. And since it’s only open April through October, owners of the 45-year-old vineyard want families to enjoy their time in the sun: visitors are encouraged to picnic in the fields or bring bicycles to explore surrounding bike trails. Those who want to stick close to where the wines are can play bocce ball in the courtyard or explore the outdoor sculpture garden.
Insider Tip: Got little movers? Kiddos can groove to live jazz on Sundays in July and August.
Prairie Berry Winery—Hilly City, SD
If seeing stone-faced American presidents has your mouth watering for good, sweet wine, head to Prairie Berry Winery. Known for its fruit and berry wines, including the aptly named, "Red Ass Rhubarb," Prairie Berry is located about 10 miles from Mount Rushmore. With an on-site restaurant, visitors can enjoy a free tasting then have a meal on the porch with a view of Black Elk Peak. The restaurant caters to sophisticated—and four-year-old—palates, featuring everything from beer-braised pork to PB&J. Now, back to those presidents: Which four were carved onto that mountain again?
Hint: If beer is more your speed of beverage, the Miner Brewing Co. is right next door, and offers lawn games and munchies for the kidlets and a plethora of specialty and seasonal beers on tap for thirsty parents.
Barrel Oak Winery—Delaplane, VA
The owners of this Piedmont countryside winery believe that wine-tasting trips shouldn't be reserved just for people without kids. Consequently, kids are handed juice boxes and scavenger hunt maps upon entrance to this award-winning vineyard. Littles can play with outdoor toys and games, and families are encouraged to pack a picnic and spend the day.
Bonus: This spot is also a farm-crafted brewery for those who prefer beer to wine.
Get the scoop on more wineries in the D.C. area here.
Stoller Family Estate—Dayton, OR
It sounds like “Stroller” so it must be kid-friendly, right? You decide—the Stoller Family Estate has all the ingredients for a perfect day out with the kids: there’s a disc golf course, a tire swing hanging in a scenic spot (hello, Instagram!), picnic tables set on a hilltop and, of course, award-winning pinot for the parents.
Hint: Want to spend more than the day? Weekenders can stay at one of three houses on the property.
Find more family-friendly OR wineries here.
Castello di Amorosa—Calistoga, CA
Unleash your knights-in-training on this replica 13th century Tuscan castle. Little ones can race across the drawbridge over a real moat to explore eight levels of fairy tale ambiance (four above and four below ground), including 95 rooms devoted to winemaking. The 121,000-square foot castle features secret passageways, towers, torture chambers and more. While you’re there, keep an eye out for wandering emus and peacocks and be sure to visit the dungeon tasting room where grown-ups can sip signature Italian-style wines while kids sip grape juice and go to work on coloring pages that are provided.
Good to know: Strollers are not allowed in the castle.
Check out this post for more NorCal wineries where kids are welcome.
Dierberg and Star Lane Vineyard Tasting Room—Rita Hills, CA
This winery in the Santa Ynez Valley offers an expansive lawn that's perfect for bocce ball while the parents do some wine tasting. A flight of five wines will cost your $20, and it showcases the diversity of three estate vineyards. The unique climates of each of the three vineyards allow for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. Send the kids out to the garden to look for lizards while you enjoy all that the region has to offer.
There's no shortage of wineries in this area, find more of our favorites here.
Martha Clara Vineyards—Riverhead, NY
The 200 acres of Martha Clara Vineyards is considered one of the most family-friendly wineries in Long Island. Little animal lovers can get up close and personal with the critters at the petting zoo, enjoy horse and carriage rides and have a picturesque lunch or snack in the outdoor picnic area. For parents worried about muddling the winery's peaceful vibe, there are private tasting rooms (for an extra cost) where you and your clan can buckle down and taste away.
Snowy Peaks Winery—Estes Park, Co
This winery doesn't look like much from the outside, but it's worth a stop if you're mountain-bound with your brood (Estes Park is known as a base for the Rocky Mountain National Park). Need a break before the big hike? Your kids will be happy to hang in the "No Wine-ing Zone," a small playroom stocked to the brim with toys, books, crafts and games (and located just next to the tasting room!).
Hint: If you're looking for something fun to do besides marvel at the exquisite wilderness (moose, elk and bears are all nearby residents), this awesome outdoor adventure park, featuring bungee trampolines, miniature golf, giant slides and go-karts, is just around the corner.
Pindar Vineyards—Peconic, NY
Pindar's cut-your-own sunflower fields are so picturesque that you might want to haul your small rays of sunshine here just to snap a pic. While there's no dedicated child space at this 35-year-old family-run vineyard, kids are welcome to tag along in the tasting room, and wiggle worms will love the wide open space adjacent to the vines.
Hint: Come on select Saturdays and Sundays (see the events calendar) to enjoy live outdoor music from 1-5 p.m.
Larson Family Winery - Sonoma CA
The Larson Family Winery goes all-out to make families feel welcome. The family rents out a farmhouse in the grounds of their Sonoma estate, set among rows of chardonnay vines. There are farm animals on site as well as friendly dogs for petting. There's a bocce ball court and there's a huge lawn for games like tag and corn hole. When the winery has tastings during the day there are coloring sheets for the kids while parents test their wine palettes.
The Lake House Inn—Geneva-On-The-Lake, OH
Head to The Lake House Inn if you are looking for a weekend getaway to go with your wine tasting. Families will especially love the three beachside cottages for setting up their home away from home. Paddling and pebble collecting on the shore are popular with little ones, and families are encouraged to check out nearby Geneva State Park with its lakeside swim beach, volleyball courts and trails. You won't get views of vines from the inn (the grapes are grown elsewhere in the Grand River Valley), but you will get top-notch small batch wines including dry rosés and darker reds, plus a sweet apple cider wine and a peach wine produced from local fruits. Tastings take place daily at the Inn's on-site family-friendly restaurant.
Tobin James Cellars—Paso Robles, CA
Kids can sip sparkling grape juice and play arcade-style video games while parents wine-taste at this funky, western-style winery that was once an old stagecoach stop. Tots (accompanied by parents) will enjoy the large lawn on the property.
Got a pup? This place loves pooches and well-mannered doggies are welcome to join in the fun (they're allowed almost everywhere except the tasting room).
Chisholm Trail Winery—Fredericksburg, TX
Nestled in the Texas Hill Country outside the charming town of Fredericksburg, Chisholm Trail Winery has the casual feel of an Old West saloon. Grown-ups can sip on “Bad Ass Blush” (it’s a sweet, pink wine) while kids chow down on fresh, wood-fired pizzas. Outside, relax on the porch, challenge your little ones to a game of horseshoes, or give a pat to one of the winery’s friendly pet donkeys.
Be sure to check the calendar for special events including live music, grape stomping and jazz brunches.
Bernardo Winery—San Diego, CA
San Diego’s oldest operating vineyard isn't just a winery, it's more like an old-world village. You can wander through artists shops to catch a glimpse of everything from mosaics and oil paintings to botanical soaps. After soaking in the village, grab a cheese plate and a glass of wine. If you want to take advantage of the wine tasting with chocolate pairings (who doesn’t?), grab a table on the patio and kick back as you listen to live music and your kids get their groove on. Stop by on Friday mornings for the Farmers Market where you’ll find local produce and lots of other families.
Insider’s Tip: It’s okay to bring light snacks for young kiddos, but the winery does not allow outside food or drinks for adults.
We spill the beans on other favorite San Diego wineries here.
The Biltmore Village Hotel—Asheville, NC
The Biltmore Village Hotel is a family-friendly starting point to explore the impressive 8,000-acre estate in North Carolina which was the home of the Vanderbilts for generations. There are castle tours, landscaped gardens, bike rentals and trails, hiking, horseback riding and farm animals to keep the family busy as well as diverse dining options (all of which have kids menus) and of course, wine tasting. Complimentary tastings are included with Biltmore admission, and kids aren't forgotten—they get free grape juice! There are additional wine experiences on offer like behind the scenes tours of the production facility, a visit to the vineyard or curated wine and chocolate pairings.
Harbes Family Farm—Mattituck, NY
This place is equal parts farm and vineyard. Grown-ups will probably want to get right to sipping the vineyard's signature (award-winning) steel-fermented chardonnay; kids will want to head for the Barnyard Adventure, a farmhouse-style play zone featuring hay rides, pig races, a petting zoo and tractor trikes. Kids will especially love the “Jumbo Jumpers”, large inflatable bouncing pillows, a sports zone with football and baseball tossing games, and a “Li'l Farmers Play Land” that’s geared for tiny tots.
Hint: Try to visit in the fall, when there’s a pumpkin patch and a huge corn maze. And, don't leave without trying the homemade apple cider donuts.
Open from mid-May through November.
Potomac Point Winery—Stafford, VA
Kids can watch DVDs and play games in the winery’s “Lil’ Buds Room” (located right next to the tasting bar!) at this scenic estate 45 minutes south of D.C. Hungry? There’s a full-service bistro with a kids menu serving lunch and dinner. Try to visit in the fall, when the kids can stomp some grapes of their own at the annual Harvest Festival, which also features face painting, bounce houses and carnival games. Oh, and don't forget about Fido—dogs are welcome here, too!
Good to know: The third Thursday of the month during the school year brings the Moms & Merlot lunch—just what you need!
Longshadow Ranch Vineyard & Winery—Temecula, CA
Kiddos can rub noses with the horses, play on the jungle gym and check out the alpacas and goats at this Temecula winery. Up for a late night? The vineyard hosts bonfires on Saturday nights from April to October, featuring face painting, mechanical bull-riding and a bonfire.
Ponzi Vineyards—Sherwood, OR
Little ones can color at the kids' table while grown-ups taste award-winning reds at this vineyard just minutes from Portland. Pack a picnic, pop open a bottle of pinot and enjoy the outdoor tables and bocce courts. Rainy outside? Plop the kids in front of the large window overlooking the winemaking and bottling facility.
—Kate Loweth & Melissa Heckscher
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Editor’s Note: Red Tricycle wants parents to have fun and be safe with their kids. Please drink responsibly and always designate a driver.