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Jordan Winery
Photograph: Flickr/John Weiss

The best farm-to-table dinners in Wine Country

Want to experience fresh food with a scenic view? Head to one of these alfresco winery dinners

By Shoshi Parks
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There are dozens of impressive farm-to-table restaurants in Wine Country that pay homage to the region’s agricultural bounty but only a handful of wineries, farms and ranches turn farm-to-table into a regular celebration. Some of these events, like Kendall-Jackson’s farm-to-table dinner experience, are dripping with rustic elegance while others, like Full Belly Farm’s monthly outdoor pizza nights, cultivate a laid-back, family-friendly vibe. A range of prices make these unforgettable feasts under the setting summer sun accessible to everyone.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best Napa restaurants

Best Wine Country dinners

Kendall-Jackson Winery
Photograph: Flickr/Anthony Quintano

1. Kendall-Jackson Winery

It’s no surprise that Kendall-Jackson won Wine Enthusiast’s 2018 award for American winery of the year; the estate combines the best of Sonoma: complex wines, a working organic farm and sustainable vineyards for days. From May through October, the winery brings together these three elements for monthly farm-to-table dinners among the vines ($175/person). At each meal, Kendall-Jackson teams with local meat and cheese purveyors (like July’s upcoming collaboration with Snake River Farms’ kurobuta pork and wagyu beef and Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery) to create the ultimate wine country feast complete with fresher-than-fresh veggie side dishes prepared with the help of an outdoor wood-brick oven. Guests begin the evening with sumptuous hors d'oeuvres before moving to the long, elegant outdoor table to share the night’s specialties family style. Live music and plenty of estate wine, like Kendall-Jackson’s fruity 2015 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, with its savory notes of spice, keep the conversation flowing.

Seghesio Family Vineyards
Photograph: Yelp/Seghesio Family Vineyards

2. Seghesio Family Vineyards

Seghesio’s intimate farm-to-table Summer Suppers ($30/person) make the most of languid summer evenings. Every third Thursday from June through October, the winery hosts 30 guests at a long table on their Tuscan-inspired terrace for a family-style meal of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and fresh garden vegetables topped off with an irresistible dessert. Bottles of Seghesio’s well-loved Zinfandels, like the 2016 Home Ranch Zinfandel with blackberry and black plum on the nose and “graham crust” undertones, are among the wines available for purchase by the bottle.

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Full Belly Farms
Photograph: Flickr/Basheer Tome

3. Full Belly Farms

For nearly 30 years Full Belly Farms has been producing fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts and flowers on 400-acres of certified organic farmland in Guinda. Every March to November, veggie lovers have the opportunity to sit down at a monthly outdoor Farm Dinner ($80/adults, $40/kids under 12) showcasing the season’s freshest produce alongside responsibly raised and wild-caught meats. The popular Farm Dinner fills up fast but even slackers have a chance to enjoy a sunset meal on the farm at monthly Pizza Dinner nights, a casual meal of wood fired pizza, side salads and farm-fresh ice cream for dessert. No reservations needed for these laid-back Friday night events and, if the tables are full, you can lay out a picnic blanket on Full Belly’s beautiful lawn.

Jordan Winery
Photograph: Flickr/John Weiss

4. Jordan Winery

Jordan takes a slightly different approach to farm-to-table dining with a weekly harvest lunch series in September and October ($25-$50/person). In a lavish outdoor buffet, Jordan celebrates the season’s bounty with side dishes pulled straight from the winery’s garden like summer squash, farro and roasted shallots with a tarragon vinaigrette that perfectly complement meaty mains like roasted New York strip and grilled chicken piccata. If you’d like to get to know your veggies a little better before digging in, their farm-to-table interactive cooking autumn luncheons ($200/person) puts guests to work harvesting produce, putting together a three-course meal, then enjoying it family-style with with wines like the lemony, pear-y, kumquat-y 2016 Jordan Chardonnay.

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B.R. Cohn
Photograph: Yelp/Steven M.

5. B.R. Cohn

Rolling vineyards and olive groves form the backdrop of B.R. Cohn’s summer farm-to-table dinner series ($75/person). Twice a month, the winery sets the long table in their open air barn for a fresh, seasonal meal prepared by The Girl and the Fig catering with dishes like summer zucchini seasonal salad and Sonoma porchetta. Each meal is perfectly paired with estate wines like the blueberry, plum and roast meat flavored 2015 Cabernet Franc and olive oil harvested and pressed on site.

Carmel Valley Ranch
Photograph: Flickr/albedo20

6. Carmel Valley Ranch

At this incredible retreat, guests come to play, relax and, of course, indulge. Carmel Valley Ranch has fresh farm-to-table indoor dining year-round, but it’s their frequent Wine Dinner Series that elevate the concept by bringing it outdoors. The gourmet meals arranged by executive chef Tim Wood and sommelier Mark Buzan showcase Monterey County wine and meat alongside organic veggies from the Ranch’s garden in rotating locations around the estate.

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Photograph: Courtesy Napa Valley Balloons

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We get it—you're in town for the best Napa Valley wineries. Of course! But after a few days of swirl, sip, spit, repeat, your tastebuds will get a little weary.

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