Our round up of family friendly wineries around the world. From Canada to Mexico, from Italy to Australia, here are some of the best wine tasting experiences for families with kids.
Relaxing with a glass of local wine looking onto rows of vines stretching into the distance is my idea of a perfect day. I think of good quality wine as one of the great life pleasures and I know I am not alone.
Wine tourism is steadily growing as a sector and thanks to an increasing number of kid friendly wineries, families can be part of this trend too.
Our first encounter with a family friendly winery was in Ontario but over time I have come to know of many wineries welcoming to families with children. I have also met many fellow family travel writers and friends with positive experiences in wine regions and we always say if we ever manage to meet off line, it would be with the accompaniment of a glass of Bacchus’ nectar!
For this round up, I have asked them to share their favourite experiences and locations: here their top picks of family friendly wineries around the world.
Our first recommendation comes form our own experience in Sonoma, California.
We have very fond memories of our time in Wine Country, California. World famous for its beauty and wine production, Sonoma valley lies just to the north of San Francisco and is a delight to visit both with kids and without.
The valley is dotted with vineyards and many of them welcome children or even offer special tours and activities for them.
Our favourite place in Sonoma was Cline cellars. The cellars are just at the entrance of the valley and have a lovely estate and friendly staff. Kids are welcome and you can spend a day here lounging in their beautiful grounds: they have shaded lawns, an aviary, a mission museum and the biggest attraction of all for children: a pond with fish and fish food dispenser!
The whole area is geared to welcome families and if you are spending several days you can explore many more establishments, including the famous Francis Ford Coppola Winery which is built specifically with families in mind. You can have a look as some of your favourite family friendly wineries in Sonoma here.
Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Katja from Globetotting introduces us to Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Mexico might not be an obvious destination for oenophiles but the land of sunshine and tequila is also home to a number of wine-growing regions.
One of the biggest and best is El Valle de Guadalupe, located just 90-minutes from the Californian border. This is a truly beautiful corner of Mexico that produces some of the country’s best wine, including both big name brands and smaller, boutique names that can be ordered in some of Mexico City’s best restaurants.
The wonderful thing about Valle, however, is how authentically Mexican it is. There are no fancy tasting rooms or sky-high tasting prices, rather you’ll find simple but characterful wineries, incredible restaurants and people with a real passion for what they do.
Like pretty much everywhere in Mexico, kids are welcome and there are plenty of gardens for them to explore, or tacos for them to eat, while you get down to the serious business of tasting just how good Mexican wine really is.
You can read more about Globetotting’s exprience in the Valle here
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Keri from Ourglobetrotters makes us travel to the African Continent and the region of Stellenbosh
Visiting the stunningly dramatic Stellenbosch region, just 50km east from Cape Town for a wedding, we had a few days to spare to try the best the region had to offer in wine farms (as they are called in South Africa).
Quite different to the ‘hit and run’ style wine tasting that we frequently experience in Australia, the South Africans turn their wine tastings into a sit down experience where only a limited number of wines are sampled for a sitting fee. Thinking this would bore the kids, far from it – they are encouraged to partake in the experience too.
Top votes from our kids went to Spier where the kids joined us having a chocolate tasting plate with their sparkling grape juice, along with a side of colouring. After a tasting experience, you can then explore the grounds which includes “Eagle Encounters” – where they rehabilitate birds of prey.
Older kids can also enjoy a Segway tour of the estate and there are on site dining options as well as a summer farmers market.
We were impressed by how many of the wine farms offered everything from play equipment to colouring, grape juice tastings and even animal encounters! You can find a listing of our Stellenbosch family favourites here
Margaret River, Australia
Marianne from Mum on the Move brings us to another famous new world wine region, Margaret River.
Margaret River in Western Australia is one of the best wine regions in Australia. Although the region produces just 3% of Australia’s wine, that results in 20% of its premium wine production, meaning you know you are looking at a lot of high quality wine here.
There are over 200 wineries here, but my favourite for visiting with kids is Will’s Domain. Located overlooking the Gunyulgup Valley, Will’s Domain has it all: fabulous views over the vineyards, award-winning wine, delicious cuisine, and a playground to keep the kids busy while the grown ups enjoy a leisurely lunch. What I particularly love about Will’s Domain is that you don’t have to sacrifice a quality lunch just because you are visiting with kids.
Renowned as having one of the best restaurants in the region, Will’s Domain is setting the standards for Mod Oz cuisine in Margaret River. The a la carte menu is filled with interesting concoctions such as Glazed Short Rib, kimchi and roasted nashi pear – or alternatively you can opt for the multi-course tasting menu, served with matching wines, of course. They have a good kids menu too, including cute little lunch boxes.
Andrew and Brenda from Dish Our Town introduce us to the stunning region of Umbria, Italy.
When the words vineyard and Italy are put together in a sentence it conjures up images that have been portrayed romantically by many authors of books, photographers in food and travel publications, and director’s in a film.
Like meeting your idols, these images when brought to reality can often disappoint. Such a thing did not happen when that dreamscape was realized during our trip to Umbria. It was precisely the manifestation of everything one could have dreamed.
This region, with a spiritual core, and features that are as close to the Garden of Eden that you can find in the country is brimming with the most beautiful vineyards that produce some of the best wines in the world. Though vineyards aren’t typically looked upon as stuff made for families with kids, it should be considered. A trip to vineyards can be quite educational for kids, and few settings are more beautiful.
Of the vineyards, we visited in Umbria, the best for families is Cantina Goretti. It’s a wonderful property replete with a medieval tower, helicopter landing pad, a cooking school, and acres upon acres of grapevines. It’s a family-run winery, and it is precisely this fact which makes children feel welcome. Visitors can easily feel the love of the process when spending a day there. Lastly, they also happen to produce some outstanding wines, especially their Sagrantino. Easy to get lost for a bit and want to drop everything to pursue the life of a vintner.
Christine from Tapped Out Travellers introduces us to a region you may have not considered for wine tasting but welcomes families to kid-friendly wineries such as Hofkellerei des Fürsten von Liechtenstein, Winery in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.
Established in 1436 and acquired by the city in 1712, the Hofkelleri in Vaduz harvests only the greatest quality grapes. Open year round for tastings, events and weddings, the grounds and grand hall are worth the price tag.
The wine itself was incredible: 3 different ages are served and complimentary grape juice for the little ones was also available. Luckily the baby was sleeping and the oldest was happy drinking his juice long enough for us to get through a few glasses before it was time to leave.
In the end, their store room has more than enough variation to keep a Wine-o happy for a very long time. Myself, we bought a case and found a way to load it into the car for the long road trip ahead of us.
You can read about Christine’s travel experiences in Vaduz here
Alta Alella, Spain
With Lisa from Travel Loving Family we visit the region of Barcelona.
Alta Alella,near Barcelona, is a family run vineyard known for providing organic wines to some of the best restaurants of the world. During our visit we experienced wine tasting, a fascinating tour of the vineyard and a dessert making demonstration.
The vineyard has a lovely family friendly atmosphere and entertains young visitors with games and workshop: you can pretend to be a grape, make chocolate truffles stuffed with a grape and taste different grape juices!
Tours for families are available in Catalan during school holidays and tours and workshops in English can be arranged upon request.
You can read about Lisa’s experience in this stunning area in her envy-inducing travel article here
Wine country Ontario
I am going to close this list with the first wine region we aver visited with kids: Ontario!
We discovered the wine production of this area by chance: while searching for a bus tour from Toronto to Niagara Falls we noticed many offered a stop in Ontario wineries offering ‘ice wine’ tasting and got quickly intrigued.
It was a lovely discovery. The Ontario wine region is beautiful and well equipped for families. Withing easy reach from Toronto, the countryside is beautiful and relaxing, made of vast green landscapes and beautiful architecture.
The Niagara Falls are nearby and so is the lovely town of Niagara on the Lake that seems popping out of a fairy tale book for olden times. The wineries in the area are numerous and many cater for kids: some offer grape juice to young visitors, others have family friendly pique-nique areas for a fun family day out and some even have kid friendly tours.
I hope you enjoyed this quick wine tour around the world. Happy tasting!
Please note: the cellars and location mentioned in this article have been chosen by the featured bloggers on the basis of their personal experience. We have no commercial relationship with the establishments mentioned nor received compensation for inclusion in this list.