Sonoma Wedding Venue
Address withheld to ensure privacy.
Sonoma, California 95476
Wedding film shot by Certified By The Guide Videographer Thomas Hughes Films
A wedding is about to begin at Nicholson Ranch. Guests arriving at the hilltop winery assemble in its Fountain Courtyard. Off to their left, a lily-speckled pond and distant waterfall glitter in the afternoon sun. While everyone waits in anticipation, the bride and her bridesmaids are upstairs in the winery’s Bombay Room, putting the finishing flourishes on their ensembles. Theirs is a calming view of the valley’s ancient live oaks, as they fan out over the tawny grasses. The groom and his men, gathered on the Fireside Terrace (around the corner and out of view of the Courtyard), are perhaps contemplating how nice it will be to sample the product of the grapevines that trace the contours of nearby hills.
When it’s time for the ceremony, guests are escorted to their seats, facing the courtyard’s ten-foot-wide, hand-carved stone fountain. The band strikes up the wedding march, while the bride joins her groom in front of the fountain. After the knot is tied, guests are invited to the wine caves below the winery for preliminary toasts and tasty hors d’oeuvres. Cool stone walls and oak wine barrels line the two long caves, one of which ends at the Great Room. Bejeweled by four stained-glass windows, framed by stone pillars, this space is well suited for serving wine and mingling. Returning to the courtyard, guests find it all set for dinner and dancing.
At some point, the bridal party might steal away for a photo op at Soc’s Dock—a small Grecian-columned platform that overlooks the pond. The “Soc” of the dock is Socrates Nicholson, a first-generation Greek-American who bought this 160-acre ranch in 1962.
His daughter, Ramona Nicholson, is the winery’s mastermind and visionary. She designed the buildings to be reminiscent of early-California architecture and to fit into the landscape: Thick adobe-like walls are finished with a French lime technique that creates subtle earthen tones, which blend in with the surrounding hills. The variegated slate roof has a deep overhang for afternoon shade, and also tends to fade into the background. Salvaged first-growth redwood was used for the lintels, shutters and trellises—like the trellis that covers the Fireside Terrace.
The Terrace is a wonderful gathering place, even during the cooler months, thanks to a double-sided fireplace. One side warms those enjoying the crisp outdoor air; the other side warms the Vintner’s Room, where a soaring tongue-and-groove fir ceiling steals the show. Simple, elegant wrought-iron chandeliers light the room, and glass doors galore let in the views. The Vintner’s Room would be our choice for a smaller wedding or the cake cutting. When not in use for the crush, the winery’s tank room is available for large indoor receptions. With the stainless steel wine tanks moved to the side, the space is nearly 100 feet long. A balcony along one end is perfect for a live band and wine-enhanced toasts.
When all’s said and done, the newlyweds can slip back upstairs to the Bombay Room and spend their wedding night in its cushy four-poster bed. Awakening the next morning, with a glorious wedding behind them and the beauty of Nicholson Ranch all around, they know their marriage is off to an auspicious beginning.
CEREMONY & MEETING CAPACITY: The Fountain Courtyard or Lakeside Meadow can accommodate up to 150 seated guests. The Great Room seats up to 18 guests, the Vintner’s Room accommodates up to 70 seated guests.
EVENT/RECEPTION CAPACITY: The Fountain Courtyard holds up to 175 seated or 250 standing guests. Indoors, the Winery seats up to 85 guests in the Vintner’s Room and 18 guests in the Great Room.
A 50% deposit is required to reserve your date. The balance is due 30 days prior to the event. Rental fees range $1,000–10,000 depending on space rented. Meals range $30–75/person. Tax, wine and service charges are additional. Setup and breakdown fees apply. Security and liability insurance are additional. Call for details.
Special Events, Parties
Catering: provided by Park Avenue Catering
Kitchen Facilities: n/a
Tables & Chairs: provided for up to 135 guests
Linens, Silver, etc.: through caterer
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: n/a
Bride’s Dressing Area: yes
Meeting Equipment: CBA, extra charge
Parking: ample on-site
Accommodations: honeymoon suite
Telephone: house phone
Outdoor Night Lighting: some
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: CBA
View: vineyards, lake and surrounding foothills
Other: event coordination, wireless internet access
Banquet Hall/Events Facility
Alcohol: wine, sparkling wine and beer only
Smoking: not allowed
Music: amplified OK
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: liability required
Year-round, daily, 10am–midnight.
Alternate Info: Nicholson Winery Nicholsen Ranch Winery Nichelsen Ranch Winery