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  • Theresa Downs

Arista Winery - Another Reason Why You Should Love Chardonnay

Part of Wine By Appointment Chardonnay Winery Series

Image Arista Winery via Wine By Appointment LLC

What's Their Story:

Al and Janus McWilliams created Arista Winery in 2002 with the express intention of creating Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines that reflected the fabulousness of the Russian River Valley. This winery is truly a family affair, as the McWilliams' sons took over the day-to-day operations in 2012.

This winery celebrates the Russian River Valley spoils and transparency in the winemaking process, from utilizing natural, native yeast to bottling. Judging from the constant stream of accolades they receive from such entities as Wine Spectator (their wines consistently rate in the 90s range), I would hazard a guess that they've succeeded.

Image Arista Winery via Wine By Appointment LLC

Why The Winery Made The Grade:

Arista Winery makes really is exceptional. Arista's wines exhibit the typical notes of Chardonnay from warmer areas: apple and lemon citrusy notes with hints of tropical and stone fruit (nectarines). Arista Winery shows restraint on the use of oak so you don't end up drinking a toothpick. All in all, they are lovely wines.


Arista Winery offers guests a glimpse into the Far East with its Asian-inspired architecture and glorious Japanese gardens. The tasting rooms are surprisingly cozy despite the lavish or, in addition, to the elaborate grounds and perfect for more intimate wine chats with knowledgeable wine concierges.

Since the pandemic, Arista Winery has added outside tasting areas to enjoy their gorgeous grounds better. We particularly liked their new tasting "kiosks."

Image Arista Winery via Wine By Appointment LLC

Image Arista Winery via Wine By Appointment LLC

Which Winery Visitor Type Would Love It :

I will say that all types of visitors would enjoy spending time at the winery.

Oenophiles because of the quality of the wine.

Authenticity Seekers : would enjoy meeting the knowledgeable staff and sampling the terrific wine

Luxury Seeker: this might not be over-the-top enough for some in this category, but the beautiful grounds and incredible wine should please most.

We always enjoy a visit to Arista for both their amazing wine and beautiful grounds.


Address: 7015 Westside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Phone: 707-473-0606

Hours: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Daily

Tours/Tastings Offered: Arista Winery offers several types of tastings and is one of the few wineries that don't require appointments (I always recommend you make one). I highly recommend the Signature Tasting as a way to get acquainted with their wines. Light bites accompany most of the sit-down tastings.

Cost: $30.00 to $95.00 per person, depending on the type of tasting.

Don't miss the next winery in this series: Benovia Winery

Or read all of the Chardonnay blogs in our new guide, Chardonnay Wineries of Sonoma and Napa.


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