It’s summertime and we’re all planning our vacations because let’s face it, we need to get away from the daily grind and relax for a minute or two.
An extended visit to a winery sounds like a nice way to leave your cares behind. But if you have kids that option is off the table, right? Wrong! Thanks to someone who loves kids, an empathetic parent who also happens to own a vineyard or perhaps a visionary who knew that wine is the way to a parent’s heart made the decision that family-friendly wineries should be a real thing. And frankly, I couldn’t agree more.
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I know what you’re thinking: “How? Where? It seems to good to be true!” I get it. When you think of strolling through row after perfectly manicured row of grape-bearing vines in a quiet and idyllic setting, followed by copious amounts of wine sampling, it does sound the exact opposite of kid friendly. But trust me, there are wineries that have seriously stepped up their game!
Now, I’m not suggesting you pack your bags for a week-long, all-inclusive stay in wine country, because that may be asking a bit too much from your little ones. You don’t want a revolt on your hands, which is exactly what would happen if you said, “Hey, kids! We’re going to wine country instead of Disney this year!” You just want to strike a nice balance between activities that will appease your offspring and activities that will interest you, the adult who’s most in need of this getaway and the one generously funding it. The winery merely gives you a starting point. Once you’ve decided on the location, you can branch out and find other activities to fill up a long weekend trip to suit everyone’s tastes.
Here are some suggestions to get you started.
The Francis Ford Coppola Winery – Geyserville, CA
This winery boasts not one but two pools. So after tasting some of your new favorite wines, you can let the kids unwind as they cannonball to their heart’s content while you relax and soak up the sun. When everyone has been sufficiently waterlogged, you can mosey on over to the complimentary bocce ball courts or engage in a friendly game of chess (or checkers) at the outdoor tables.
Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves – Healdsburg, CA
Yes, you read that right, wine caves. Enjoy your wine tasting in a cool cave that sits directly underneath the vineyard. Your kids will get a kick out of this experience! When your tasting is complete you can sit outside in the shade of the oak trees while the kids run around the ample lawn area, playing with the hula hoops or beanbag toss game that have been generously provided for their amusement.
Longshadow Ranch Winery – Temecula, CA
This unique winery offers horse-drawn carriage rides, a playground, and on Saturday nights during the summer, they have a bonfire with kid- friendly activities. Bonus: They’re located just a short drive from the beaches of Southern California. With all of these perks, your kids won’t even realize you brought them to a winery.
Castoro Winery – Paso Robles, CA
Come prepared to have fun! The disc golf variety of fun. Yes, this is a winery that also offers disc golf and your kids will love it. You get to wander through the beautiful wine fields while searching for your next target. If this isn’t enough, they offer complimentary glasses of unfermented grape juice for the kids to sample, and crayons and coloring pages are available upon request.
Now start Googling flights and putting in for time off, there are plenty of wineries just waiting to welcome you and your entire family. Cheers to that!