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“Kid-friendly winery” may sound like an oxymoron, but astute vineyard owners are getting wise to the fact that wine tasting is a popular and rapidly growing ‘sport’ among mommies and daddies. So they’re creating activities and spaces just to entertain the little ones while the adults imbibe. From “wine” (grape juice) tastings to petting zoos to outdoor sports, here are some of the best kid-friendly wineries in the US.
Let’s face it. Wine tasting is a popular activity these days for parents, but some wineries aren’t the most family-friendly places. No worries. Guest Author Beth Graham pinpoints some of her favorite wineries where kids are not only welcome, they’re guaranteed to be entertained. She visited these wineries with her kids in tow when they were younger and now returns as an empty nester to watch other families enjoy the experience.
From petting zoos to tree swings to Frisbee golf, these wineries will keep the kids busy while you taste the wines.
Fun Kid-Friendly Wineries to Visit in Virginia
King Family Vineyards
If you’re looking for a winery in the DC metro area that’s kid-friendly, I’d suggest a visit to King Family Vineyards in Charlottesville. Make sure you bring a camera because the winery is set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains creating the perfect place to snap a few family photos. Winery owner David King is a huge fan of polo so he’s converted part of his land into a polo field where real competitive matches take place.
That means there’s plenty of space for the kids to run around as parents sip some true Virginian wines while watching a rousing game of polo. Matches take place on Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through mid-October.
Traveling Mom Tip: October is Virginia Wine Month so the winery can get a bit crowded.
My kids grew up in Northern Virginia so they’re no stranger to day trips making our way through all of the state’s cool historical sites. The Monticello region of Virginia is known for its history, but you might be surprised to learn it’s also known for its wine. So why not combine the two – especially for younger kids who love to explore the outdoors? At Barboursville Vineyards, the kids can get a bit of a history lesson at the ruins of the Barbour Mansion, a home designed by Thomas Jefferson that’s also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are beautiful gardens so you might want to take a picnic lunch and some lawn games to let the kids play while you enjoy the wines.
Kids Can Play With Animals at This Kid-Friendly Winery in Texas
The Texas Hill Country is one of my favorite destinations having lived in San Antonio for many years when my kids were toddlers. I visited this winery when I returned for a visit and we took my friend’s seven and nine-year-old kids and they had a blast. Hilmy Cellars is a real working farm where the animals have the tough job of ‘vineyard management‘. The kids can chase the goats and guinea fowl and play with the owner’s two Great Pyrenees. Although the winery is family-friendly, other dogs are not allowed on the grounds since it is a real working farm with other animals.
Traveling Mom Tip: The tasting room is small so kids won’t be allowed in. Plan to sit and taste the wines on the patio where you can keep an eye on them.
Swim, Climb and Explore at These Kid-Friendly Wineries in California
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Leave it to Francis Ford Coppola to create a terrific family destination in the heart of California’s wine country. It’s more like a resort with two large swimming pools, a bocce court, teepees and play areas for the kids. I’d recommend starting with enjoying an afternoon at the pool and end with a wine tasting. You’ll need to keep an eye on your kids at the pool and the tasting room is located in a separate area.
There is also a poolside cafe and water stations but heads up, no pool toys (only approved flotation devices) are allowed. For older kids, a museum onsite houses props from some of Coppola’s famous films. Wine lovers can taste from more than 40 wines.
If your kids are into lawn games, I’d recommend a visit to this winery, located on California’s Central Coast. Castoro Cellars took lawn games to a new level. My kids love a good game of Jenga and Castoro Cellars takes this game to new heights! There’s a giant, life-sized wooden Jenga game, made out of two-by-four planks of plywood. There’s also cornhole and an 18-hole disc golf course and kids of all ages can play. Castoro has picnic tables and coloring books for the smaller kids to enjoy while parents are nearby in the Mediterranean-style tasting room.
Traveling Mom Tip: If this one is on your list, check the calendar before you go and plan to visit when they’re hosting one of their outdoor music festivals.
Castello di Amorosa
For friends who visit California wine country with kids, I always recommend this family favorite. It was the first winery I ever took my kids to visit. On a recent stop at Castello di Amorosa, I was happy to see a number of families enjoying the grounds.
Plan an entire afternoon to tour this 121,000 square foot castle, built over several years to resemble an authentic 13th Century Tuscan castle. Opt for one of the guided tours where you’ll get to visit the castle’s secret passageways, torture chambers (don’t worry, it’s not too scary for young ones), and cross a drawbridge over the moat while spotting the resident gargoyles and knights in shining armor.
Don’t be afraid to venture into the dungeon, the actual tasting room, either. Kids can sip on grape juice there. While parents feast on the libations, kids can play with the winery cats. They can also chill out in the designated play area.
If you’re traveling sans kids with just the girls, consider this winery in the Texas Hill Country.
For a great couples getaway in California, check out the South Coast Winery Resort and Spa in Temecula.
Play Frisbee Golf at this Kid-Friendly Winery in Oregon
Stoller Family Estate
If you’re just looking for a quiet family picnic in wine country, I’d suggest an afternoon at the Stoller Family Estate winery. It’s in the Mt. Hood Valley. Pack a lunch and pick up a bottle of wine (hint: they’re known for their earthy Pinot Noirs) in the tasting room. Then spread your blanket out on the grassy field under the trees. You’ll easily keep an eye on the kids whether they’re on the Frisbee golf course or the old-fashioned tire swing.
Everyday is Like a Fall Festival at this Kid-Friendly Winery in New York
Harbes Family Farm
My kids were always big fans of fall festivals (and as young adults, they still are). Harbes Family Farm feels like a festival all year long. Much of the farm is dedicated to Barnyard Adventure, an expansive farmhouse-style play zone. There’s pig races, musical hayrides, a petting zoo, bounce houses and even a singing chicken show – think old-school country fair.
For older kids and teens, there’s a challenging hedge maze to keep them occupied. And for the adults, I highly recommend tasting the farm’s award-winning, steel-fermented chardonnay wines.
Traveling Mom Tip: They also offer season passes if you frequent the area.
About the Author
Having young kids didn’t deter Beth from pursuing her culinary adventures. When her kids were just 7 and 9 years old, she moved them to Italy. She wanted to inspire them to want to explore the world. Today, her kids are young adults with an incredible sense of wanderlust. She tries to take an adventurous trip with the family at least once a year. Most recently, they visited Australia to dive the Great Barrier Reef. Beth embarks from her home in Los Angeles in search of unique food and wine adventures as MomUncorked.