1. Barrel Oak Winery (Delaplane,VA): Barrel Oak Winery is one of the most kid—and dog!—friendly wineries in Virginia. Little ones are greeted with juice boxes, and fun photographs of dogs adorn the tasting room walls. Parents can sip the 2010 Bowhaus White, a gold medal winner of the 2010 Indy International Wine Competition, on one of their picnic tables as kids roam the hilly landscape.
2. Larson Family Winery (Sonoma, CA): At this Sonoma winery, children can check out farm animals, including pygmy goats and sheep, and cheer on adults as they play bocce ball. Kids enjoy a complimentary juice box and families can picnic on the grounds with a bottle of the winery’s award-winning 2008 Late Harvest Carneros Gewürztraminer.
3. Three Oceans Wine Company Palandri Winery (Margaret River, Western Australia): Any day is a g’day for kids to enjoy one of the area’s kid-friendliest wineries. Inside the sleek, modern winery’s play area, kids are invited to color, read and play with toys while teens have a blast with the Sony PlayStation consoles and pool table. If parents want some sunshine after tasting the winery’s award-winning 2007 Vita Novus Cabernet Sauvignon, they can head outdoors to the large grassy area for a game of volleyball or cricket.
4. Castello di Amorosa(Calistoga, CA): Castello might be smack dab in the middle of the (usually) adult-oriented Napa Valley, but kids will feel welcome to explore this winery styled after a 13th-century medieval castle, complete with drawbridge and torture chamber mockup. While their parents taste one of Castello di Amorosa’s Italian-inspired wines, kids can try the winery’s Riesling grape juice and color at corner tables.
5. Clos Monicord (Vérac, France): If your kids made the trek all the way to France, you can return the favor by taking them to this family-owned and -operated winery in the village of Vérac in Bordeaux. The Bakx family invites kids to munch on a hand-picked apple on the walking tour, sip fruit juice made at the estate and admire the kid-friendly wine bottle labels (drawn by the owner’s daughter) while parents enjoy Clos Monicord’s award-winning wines.
6. Pindar Vineyards (Peconic, NY): This Long Island wine producer has been a family run operation for 30 years. Kids will love the Annual Harvest Festival (in September) which features face painting and hayrides. At other times, kids can color in the tasting room while adults try their Pythagoras, an award-winning red crafted to celebrate the winery’s 20th anniversary. A picnic area is located behind the tasting room and kids can get their wiggles out by playing Frisbee in the field adjacent to the vines.
Family Winery Etiquette
Just because you’re taking your kids to a family-friendly winery, doesn’t mean etiquette goes out the window. Wineries prefer young children to remain attended at all times—especially in that castle!—as little ones tend to dash around or wander off. Also, for safety reasons, encourage your children not to get too comfy while they’re coloring and keep their socks and shoes on. While children probably don’t need to use their super-duper “indoor” voice, try to keep the excitement at a lower decibel for guests who might prefer to taste wine in a quieter setting. Last, a winery’s a great please to encourage proper manners, even if it’s a simple please and thank you upon receiving those juice boxes.