Food, Wine

Discover the Top Wineries in California with In-House Chefs

Wineries are raising the culinary bar in California with elevated food and wine pairing experiences. Check out some of the top wineries with chefs.

top wineries with chefs

California wine country offers more than just world-class wines – it also boasts some of the state’s most exciting culinary experiences. To elevate their food and wine pairings, more and more wineries throughout The Golden State have hired resident chefs to create unique menus for visitors. Many of these chefs use fresh produce from winery gardens or local farmers. Read on to learn more about some California wineries with world-class chefs.

Chef Derick
Chef Derick Kuntz at B Cellars

North Coast

At B Cellars in Napa, Derick Kuntz, formerly with Brix restaurant in St. Helena, crafts small bites to pair with wines from multiple Napa Valley appellations.

Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley offers The Perfect Pair tasting, which begins with a tour of the estate vegetable garden and includes dishes created by winery chef Brian Streeter.

Far Niente Winery in Napa Valley recently launched a culinary program with a pairing menu created by executive chef Phillip Moratin, formerly with Angèle Restaurant & Bar in Napa and Thomas Keller Restaurant Group.

J Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma presents its iconic Bubble Room for “Shifting the Lens”, the winery’s guest chef series that aims to expand on traditional food and wine pairings that have historically been overlooked by traditional winery, culinary and pairing programs. This 5-course culinary experience provides a greater understanding of the possibilities of flavor and texture combinations.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa Valley offers culinary experiences and a Chef’s Tasting Menu created by chef Tod Kawachi, the former executive chef at Brix in St. Helena.

Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena hosts a seated Wine & Food Pairing experience featuring bites prepared by the winery’s in-house chef, using ingredients from the winery’s organic farm.

Lynmar Estate in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley offers seasonal culinary experiences inspired by the winery’s kitchen garden, created by chef David Frakes, formerly of Applewood Inn in Guerneville.

Prisoner Wine Company tasting room in Napa Valley offers experiences that are creative, contemporary, and unexpected including a selection of dim sum inspired culinary bites prepared under the guidance of winery chef Brett Young.

At Ram’s Gate in Sonoma, the Seasonal Wine & Food Experience includes a guided wine tasting with dishes created by executive chef Ruby Oliveros.

wineries with chefs

Central Coast  

Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard in Solvang offers a Farm Bites menu, crafted by executive chef Peter Cham using ingredients from Buttonwood’s farm and orchards. 

Halter Ranch in Paso Robles presents signature tasting menus and a farm-to-table culinary menu prepared by the winery’s executive chef Paul Aragorn. 

Le Cuvier Winery in Paso Robles hosts wine and food pairing experiences created by Rachael Zollo, a veteran of Paso Robles restaurants. 

Presqu’ile winery in Santa Maria features small-plates pairings prepared by winery chef Julie Simon, formerly the chef at Foremost in San Luis Obispo. Ingredients come from the estate garden and local purveyors.   

Robert Hall Winery in Paso Robles pairs Cavern Select wines with a seasonal, organic menu of small plates prepared by chef Michael Learned. 

Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery in Paso Robles hosts a wine-and-food pairing experience featuring small plates by winery chef Joshua Jones.  

Sierra Foothills 

Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys in the central Sierra Nevada foothills hosts Elevated Experiences, which pair reserve and limited-release wines with fancy canapés crafted by the winery’s culinary team.  

Inland Valleys 

Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards in Acampo in San Joaquin County offers an Elevated Tasting Experience with a selection of wines paired with savory bites by in-house chef Rebecca Forrest.  

Southern California 

Bernardo Winery in San Diego offers pasta-making classes in the winery barrel room with chef Ross Rizzo. Participants enjoy wine and small bites, plus instructor-made pasta.   


Farmers Markets in Wine Country 

In addition to fresh produce grown in their estate culinary gardens, winery chefs source ingredients directly from local farms and farmers markets. Wine country visitors can also access this bounty to create farm-to-table feasts at home, paired with California wine.  

Check out farmers markets in the Mendocino County towns of Boonville, Mendocino and more. Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena hosts a November through April onsite farmers market featuring the ranch’s own organic produce, meat and honey. Napa Valley also boasts farmers markets in Napa, St. Helena and Calistoga. Sonoma County sells its local bounty at farmers markets in Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Sonoma and more. In Sierra Foothills wine country, peruse farmers markets in Murphys and Placerville. California’s Inland Valleys host markets in Lodi and Fresno. Farmers markets abound in the Central Coast, including options in San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and more. In Southern California, farmers sell their fresh produce at markets in Temecula and San Diego.  

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