Pardon me while I gush a little. Jordan Winery is a family-owned operation that has earned my greatest respect. In fact, I might be one of their biggest fans. Every time I visit, I’m more impressed with what the founder's son John Jordan is doing with the place. The visitor center and winery are in a beautiful, vine-covered chateau-style building.
Lucky me, I get to visit a lot of noteworthy wineries and call it work. I always feel luckiest when my working day includes a visit to Jordan. They never disappoint.
The Most Amazing Experience at Jordan Winery
It might be easier to say what's not amazing at Jordan than to list everything that is, but I'll limit this to just one thing and mention other options below.
Before I get you too excited about the Estate Tour at Jordan, you should know that it's given only from April through November. Slots fill up fast, making planning a must.
From the visitor center, you'll ride in a comfortable custom-built vehicle across Jordan's 1,200-acre property - an area 1/25 the size of the city of San Francisco - through vineyards and olive orchards, past grazing longhorn cattle and into areas kept in their natural state.
The experience starts with a chance to meet the winery's cuter-than-cute miniature donkeys and stroll through the garden. It's a chef's working garden, stuffed with a profusion of heirloom and unusual vegetables, fruit trees and vines that seem like enough to fill a whole farmer's market with their produce.
At the first of two wine-tasting stops, you'll sample Jordan olive oil and Chardonnay, paired with seasonal bites, then stroll down to visit the fishing pond.
The pinnacle of the experience (and the property) is the hilltop tasting pavilion. It overlooks the entire Jordan estate, giving you panoramic views of the Mayacamas and Vaca mountains. Wine tasting at the pavilion features Jordan's Cabernet Sauvignon, paired with more of the chef's creations.
This tour is one of the best I've experienced in California, giving you a rare chance to be immersed in the world of the increasingly rare privately-owned winery. The landscape is gorgeous, their wines outstanding and the tour gives you chance to spend much of your time outdoors, experiencing the land that produces the wine and food you're tasting. I'm also very impressed with the thoughtfulness that went into creating the tour and the excellent training the tour guides receive.
On a practical note, the food offerings on the tour aren't quite enough to substitute for a meal, unless you're an extremely small eater. Take a snack along in case you're still feeling peckish afterward, or plan to stop for a bite at a local restaurant to keep yourself fueled up for the rest of your day.
More Amazing Things at Jordan Winery
The seated tasting in the library draws comments like these at Yelp: "Opulence and accessible elegance," and "You'll feel like you've left CA and entered a Southern France vineyard."
One of the best things I’ve done on a fine summer night is attending a hilltop dinner at Jordan Winery in Healdsburg. Their chef is as extraordinary as their wines, matched by vineyard views at sunset. Seats are limited, and they only do a few each summer. Get on their mailing list to be sure you don’t miss out.
Join their Estate Rewards program and earn rewards points that you can redeem for special wine tasting and dinner events.
Jordan Winery Will Be Great For You If:
If you're a serious wine lover, Jordan earns the highest praise for its wines. For you, the only reason not to go would be if you don't like Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay.
If you love food, you'll fall head over heels for Jordan's chef, who grows a garden full of heirloom vegetables and creates food pairings that are as gorgeous as they are delicious.
If you love animals, you will be thrilled when you get a glimpse of the miniature donkeys that live just below the winery.
Reviews of Jordan
Fodors.com editor Nicole Campoy says: "For the best view of the Alexander Valley, stop at Jordan Winery."
Thespruce.com's wine writer Stacy Slinkard notes that Jordan is a winery "worth seeking out" in her overview of the Alexander Valley.
You can also read visitor reviews of Jordan at Yelp.
The Wines at Jordan
Jordan keeps things simple: They produce one Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and one Russian River Chardonnay each year. It's an approach that pays off in quality.
Jordan wines are food-friendly, made from grapes picked for flavor rather than sugar content, resulting in somewhat lower alcohol percentages.
What You Need to Know Before You Go
For tours and wine tastings, make reservations online. They can't accommodate pets or guests under 21 years old (including infants).
It's a bit of a long drive to Jordan from Healdsburg, and the entrance sign is easy to miss. GPS should help, but so will paying attention as you get close.
Getting to Jordan
Jordan Winery is located in the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County, just north of the town of Healdsburg, outside the town of Healdsburg, California.
1474 Alexander Valley Road
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary tour and wine tasting for the purpose of reviewing Jordan Vineyards. While it has not influenced this review, TripSavvy.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.