Sonoma County’s Best Affordable Wines for the Holidays
There’s nothing sweeter than finding a bargain on wine, especially during the holidays when the extra expense abounds. In Sonoma County, we are fortunate to have easy access to an abundance of worthwhile wines made in our own backyard.
Although it has become harder to find affordable Sonoma County wines — due to the rising cost of grapes, land, and production — there are still plenty of affordable options. You just need to know where to look. This is where we come in.
We spoke to some favorite local wine retailers to get their recommendations on the best wine to buy this holiday season. Whether you’re looking for a Sonoma County sparkling or a Petaluma Gap pinot noir, we’ve got you covered—all for under $30 a bottle, and sometimes for $20 or less.
Bottle barn, Santa Rosa
Recommendations from Barry Herbst, Wine Buyer
“During my tenure at Bottle Barn, I have always been able to find a solid number of great values of wine made in Sonoma County,” said Barry Herbst, wine buyer at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa. “They are often made by smaller family wineries with low overhead; no sales team; and no expensive grape contracts. That said, I am often surprised how some of our top producers can also deliver quality wines at very affordable prices.
Herbst’s Holiday Wine Selections:
Barn Raiser, Sparkling Brut NV, Sonoma County ($16.99): “It’s nearly impossible to find a bubbly in Sonoma County under $25, let alone $20, and this is a winner. Two-time winner of the LA Invitational Wine & Spirits Challenge,” Herbst said.
Domaine Allimant-Laugner, Crémant d’Alsace Rosé NV ($15.99): “It’s been our best-selling sparkling wine in stores for at least a decade. Super-consistent every year, bright, lively and very well balanced. 100% Pinot Noir.”
Francis Coppola Diamond Collection, 2021 Sauvignon Blanc ($15.99): “This wine was the winner of the contest at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Bright, fresh and complex. A shining star among Sauvignon Blancs right now.
domain of the wild pig, 2016 Pinot Noir, Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma County ($18.99): “A little-known producer (Daniel Schoenfeld) who makes great wines in small batches on the Sonoma coast. He’s been making wine for 40 years and we’re probably his only account.
Miro Cellers, 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Coyote Ridge Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County ($19.99): “A double gold winner at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Winemaker Miro Tcholakov is producing wine for Trentadue and this is his side project,” Herbst said. “A very classic Cabernet Sauvignon, not overripe or too much alcohol. Just delicious.
Bottle barn: 3331-A Industrial Drive, Santa Rosa; 707-528-1161, bottlebarn.com
Oliver Market, Sonoma County
Recommendations from Richard Williams, Wine Buyer
“Like any wine region, Sonoma County offers both premium and reasonably priced wines, but price is never the only indicator of quality,” said Richard Williams, wine buyer for Oliver’s Markets in Sonoma County. “Keeping our prices competitive is extremely important to us, and having a large warehouse allows us to buy in large quantities to keep our prices low. Although we sell wines that cost hundreds of dollars, we stand behind the fact that customers can purchase excellent quality wines for any occasion without breaking the bank.
Williams Holiday Wine Selections:
Dry Creek Vineyard, 2021 Smoked White, Sonoma County ($12.99): “Year after year, it is one of the most popular wines on our shelves! Wonderful citrus notes on the nose, with hints of tangerine and lemon verbena on the palate and a vibrant, crisp finish. Delicious,” Williams said.
Balletto Vineyards, Teresa’s 2021 Unoaked Chardonnay, Russian River Valley ($18.99): “The key word here is unforested. This is a beautifully balanced wine whose versatility has expanded by letting the fruit shine through. Citrus and minerality give complexity to the wine. There’s no end to the food pairing options here.”
Rodney Strong Vineyards, 2021 Sonoma County Pinot Noir Rosé ($15.99): “Winning Best of Class/Double Gold at this year’s Sonoma County Harvest Fair, this juicy, fresh rosé has tantalizing strawberry notes with vibrant acidity. Ideal as an aperitif or with a wide variety of dishes.
Martin Ray, 2021 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ($17.99): “Looking for a wine that pairs perfectly with everything from salmon to turkey to pork or even a celebratory roast? Look no further,” Williams said. “Earthy notes combined with plum and spice call for food. This wine makes the meal!
Beringer, 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Knight’s Valley, Sonoma County ($26.99): “With the five Bordeaux grape varieties in the blend, it’s the perfect holiday wine, especially if prime rib is on the menu. Aromas of black fruits and cassis give way to notes of dried herbs and cocoa with hints of spice on the finish. A classic.”