True wine connoisseurs teach themselves to distinguish varietals, identify flawed bottles, and cry pure chardonnay. Become one with the grape with today's Groupon: for $25, you get a tram tour and wine tasting for two at Benziger Family Winery (a $30 value), and a tasting for two at their sister winery, Imagery Estate Winery (a $20 value; a $50 total value). Both facilities are located in Glen Ellen.
Benziger Family Winery hosts daily tram tours that depart on the half-hour from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with the exception of noon. Imagery Estate Winery hosts tastings Monday–Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Named Winery of the Year at the 2011 San Diego International Wine Competition, Benziger Family Winery crafts its award-winning wines from grapes grown using third-party certified-organic and sustainable-farming methods. The Biodynamic Vineyard tram tour shuttles visitors through the winery's terraced hillsides, offering an up-close look at the family vineyards and a rare glimpse into the grape dating scene. Groups of up to 20 trail a knowledgeable guide through the fermentation facility and around the crush pad before splitting up to explore the chilly, 30,000-foot labyrinth of the underground wine cave. The 45-minute tour concludes with a special tasting of some the winery's certified Biodynamic wines, cultivated in a closed nutrient system that relies on composting, cover crops, and natural predator-prey relationships instead of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or magic beans.
Sipping duos can also wander next door to visit Benziger's sister establishment, Imagery Estate Winery, for a tasting of around five wines. The facility crafts a selection of limited-production wines, as well as those fermented from lesser-known grape varietals, each plastered with a specially designed label and an autographed photo of a celebrity grape.