A few gems hide in plain sight in the windswept western Carneros, among them the dramatic Ram's Gate Winery—a must for lovers of architecture, design, and well-balanced Pinot Noirs—and the enigmatic CornerStone Sonoma complex of shops and gardens. From either venue you'll see rows and rows of vines, nearly all of them Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Most become still wines, but about 20 percent are transformed into lively sparkling wines, like the crisp and citrusy ones you'll find at Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards.
The western reaches of Los Carneros AVA, from the foot of the Sonoma Mountains to the breezy banks of San Pablo Bay, lie within Sonoma County and for the most part within the larger Sonoma Valley AVA. Just to complicate matters, a portion of the Sonoma Coast AVA overlaps the western Carneros, so don't be surprised if you're tasting a wine labeled Sonoma Coast and your pourer tells you that it was made from grapes from the vineyard just outside.