Perched on a hillside at the entrance to the Sonoma Valley, this strikingly gorgeous winery offers so many amenities, you may find it unnecessary to sip anywhere else. If you're the spontaneous type, you can saunter up to the tasting bar and enjoy wine by the glass ($7-$16) or flight ($15-$20) any time the winery is open. But making reservations opens up a slew of other possibilities, including tours, food-and-wine pairings, events in the demonstration kitchen and a wine-inspired picnic by the pond that will make every other date idea pale by comparison.
The picnics include a wicker basket and red-and-white Ram's Gate blanket (we're desperately coveting one, by the way), and noshes to complement your wine choice. It's $75 for two, but that includes a bottle of one of their Red Label wines, which start at $28. The picnics are a summer treat, so jot a note to book a date in 2014.
The details: The winery, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays, is at 28700 Arnold Drive, Sonoma; more information is at www.ramsgatewinery.com.
The sips: Ram's Gate makes pinot noir, chardonnay, a lovely, citrusy sauvignon blanc and a sparkling brut, which is our new favorite bubbly.
Two more stops: Gloria Ferrer and Jacuzzi, just up the road.
-- Jackie Burrell