Viansa Sonoma – Bay Views and Italian Heritage Wines in Carneros

Located just north of the San Pablo Bay spanning the southern tips of Napa and Sonoma Counties, Los Carneros – the rams in Spanish – is a popular viticultural area known for its cool-climate wines and spectacular views. In the early days of California wine production, Los Carneros attracted a number of European winemakers who knew the region’s frequent fogs and shallow clay soils were perfect for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay cultivation. Today, the region is home to more than 20 premier wineries offering incredible wine tasting experiences. 

About Viansa Sonoma

Viansa Sonoma was founded in 1989 by Sam Sebastiani. Originally the head of his family-run Sebastiani Winery, Sam Sebastiani was fired by his own family due to conflicting visions for their winery’s future. He established Viansa with the goal of producing award-winning wines from Italian grape varietals. Sam Sebastiani oversaw Viansa for 16 years as it grew into one of the most popular tourist sites in Los Carneros before handing off ownership to his children in 2014. 

Ideally located at the southern entrance to Sonoma Valley, Viansa Sonoma is just 33 miles north of the Golden Gate bridge. The property includes 33 acres of estate vineyards and 97 acres of natural wetlands, perfectly positioned on a hilltop to allow stunning 270 degree views of the surrounding landscape. The winery produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sangiovese from grapes grown on their estate vineyard, as well as other types of wine using grapes sourced from other local vineyards. 

Sangiovese grapes in dormancy at the end of winter
View of Viansa’s vineyard from the tasting room
A rose in bloom at Viansa

Tasting Room

Viansa’s tasting room is reflective of its Italian roots, with classical Tuscan architecture modeled after centuries-old villas. Visiting Viansa feels as though you have been transported to the Italian countryside, with immaculately landscaped grounds dotted with olive groves and gurgling fountains. Frescos adorn the walls of the tasting room, which was built using materials imported from Italy. It is no surprise that Viansa’s romantic architecture makes it a popular wedding venue. 

Viansa’s olive groves

Wetland Restoration 

After retiring from running Viansa Sonoma in 2014, Sam Sebastiani turned his focus to restoring the large section of wetland extending from the vineyard out towards the bay. Wetlands are a vital ecosystem in California that are unfortunately in steep decline across the state. With the assistance of a number of local biologists and wildlife experts, the wetland is returning to its former health and is teeming with wildlife. A paradise for birdwatchers, over 500 bird species have been identified on the wetland, including a number of rare species. A number of covered outlooks are available for rent at Viansa, perfectly positioned to observe wildlife on the wetland while enjoying a glass of wine. 

Covered outlooks for birdwatching

Viansa Sonoma Wines

Exploring Viansa’s beautiful property will likely be the highlight of your visit, but the high-quality of their wines is not to be overlooked. Viansa produces a wide variety of wines, so there is something for everyone. No reservations are required for basic tastings. 

Here are the tasting options from our visit in March of 2020:

The Classic Tasting – $15

  1. 2018 Vermentino – $24. Lime zest, honeydew and bright minerality
  2. 2018 Muscat Canelli – $22. Aromas of honeysuckle, peach and fresh pineapple
  3. 2015 Merlot – $28. Nutmeg, vanilla and chocolate covered cherries
  4. 2016 Reserve Grenache – $45. Aromas of allspice, raspberry and pomegranate

The Reserve Tasting – $20

  1. 2017 Reserve Chardonnay – $24. Juicy pineapple, papaya and butterscotch. 
  2. 2014 Reserve Pinot Noir – $45. Black cherry, hints of smoke and herb
  3. 2014 Reserve Malbec – $45. Cherry, currant and blackberry. 
  4. 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – $45. Black cherry, mocha and tobacco. 

The tasting fee is waived with the purchase of two bottles or more. Wines by the glass or bottle are also available for purchase at the winery to enjoy with your picnic or while lounging on the terrace. Private tasting experiences are available for $30 – $75 per person. Reservations for private tastings must be made 48 hours in advance.

Colorful wines ready for tastings

Italian Marketplace

Viansa’s Italian Marketplace stocks a variety of Italian pantry stables and kitchen tools including pasta, oils, sauces and tapenade. The marketplace also houses a small deli, where you can order sandwiches, salads, cheese and charcuterie plates. Their stone pizza oven is also fired up on weekends during the warmer months. Viansa is the perfect place to come for a delicious lunch paired with some awesome wines overlooking one of the best views in wine country. 

Final Tips

Viansa’s wine club offers a variety of shipment options for quarterly and bi-annual reds, whites, and mixed boxes of wine straight to your doorstep. Benefits of their wine club also include preferential pricing on tickets to events, menu items at the tasting room and additional wine shipments. 

If you can’t make it to the tasting room, you can order Viansa’s wine online at

Due to coronavirus, shipping is currently just 1 cent with an order of 12 or more bottles. Since the tasting room is closed, you can order a special “Viansa at Home” tasting pack of four wines and participate in a virtual tasting with winery staff.

You can read our tips on how to support local wineries during the coronavirus here.

If you’re looking for more wine tasting to do in the area, we recommend Gloria Ferrer, Cline Cellars and Domaine Carneros.

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