California Wine Country for All Ages

How to navigate any wine region with kids
V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, California
V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, CA, has beautiful picnic grounds that the whole family will love. (Brent Miller/courtesy,

The cheat sheet to navigating any wine region with kids
Plan at least one kid-centered activity each day. You don't want little Caitlin getting too bored while you luxuriate in fine estate-grown Cabernet; so don't lug her between wineries all day long. Try to limit yourself to two wineries a day.

Visit family-friendly wineries. Most wineries allow kids on the property and even entertain the children. Find wineries with animals, caves, or even hayrides. And if all else fails, bring along some toys or a ball for them to play with while you hit up the tasting room.

Don't get tanked. While it may be exciting for you to taste a slew of different wines, it's obviously not safe to drive your precious cargo with you. Find a bottle you like, purchase it, and after the kids go to bed, cap off a bottle (or two) with your sweetheart.

Get a babysitter for a night. That way, you can hit up that four-course prix fixe restaurant, savoring a bottle of Zinfandel without counting the minutes before your kid will ask once again, "Can I go outside yet?"

Don't be apologetic about bringing your kids. Children grow up in wine regions around the world. Just make sure to visit places where they will have as much fun as you will—and in wine country, that isn't difficult.

Published: 3 Aug 2009 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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