Simi Winery16275 Healdsburg Avenue Healdsburg, CA
Flowing water, massive stones, tall redwoods and the aroma of wine quietly aging combine here to create one of the loveliest wedding venues in Wine Country.
Bordered by Foss Creek, which feeds the legendary Russian River downstream, Simi Winery is a landmark in Healdsburg, Sonoma Country’s jumping-off place for world-famous wines, cheeses, produce and scenery. Wedding festivities here often begin in the winery building, where guests descend a wooden staircase (lovingly preserved and polished) from the lobby to the Sala d’Isabelle downstairs. Perfect for rehearsal dinner or reception, this venue has large glass doors that open out to the Landslide Terrace, Simi’s signature space.
Flanked by redwoods, the terrace is peace-ful enclosure, both shady and sun-dappled. Water from a fountain tumbles from one of its high stone walls, cascading past redwoods, flowers and ferns. Halfway down the cascade, elevated above the terrace’s floor, there’s a paved landing ideal for holding a ceremony or as a place for a band to play. Off to one side, an array of professional cooking equipment enables your caterer to prepare food effortlessly on the spot.
A minute’s stroll from the Landslide Terrace is a redwood-rimmed courtyard with a circular stone-and-bronze fountain at its center. Brides often use this space for post-ceremony receptions while the terrace is being staged for dining. It has a fine view across Foss Creek and up a small rise to a great stone façade of the wine cellar. Another courtyard nearby is bordered by 125-foot redwoods that were planted in joyful celebration at the blowout party held on the day Prohibition was repealed in 1933.
Brides might find inspiration in the winery’s romantic history, especially the part about Isabelle Simi. At the tender age of 18, this shy young woman was suddenly forced to take on the challenge of running the family business. She managed it wonderfully well for the next 66 years and made Simi one of Sonoma’s best wineries. Many wedding guests interested in Simi’s story like to take the 45-minute tour of the winery offers, often in conjunction with a rehearsal dinner. A highlight is the stone-walled wine cellars-half built by Chinese laborers and half by Italian artisans-with its long shaded porch, towers, rows of barrels, and one of the most deliciously aromatic aging rooms in Wine Country. (By the way: For couples who’d like to elope, but want to enhance their getaway, or for those who prefer a small, low-key wedding, Simi offers a “Midweek Elopements and Intimate Weddings” package. Talk about a venue with its finger on the wedding market pulse!)
Your photographer will be ecstatic here. There’s no end to places for posing memorable photos (the cellar, redwood trees, central fountain, bridge over the creek..), including three gnarled cork trees, a highly unusual sight in Northern California. Simi’s other pulses keep on coming: This is a green winery that recycles all the organic byproducts from fermentation. Even the huge redwood doors that guard the cellar were made from the remnants of massive storage barrels built more than a century ago.
When brides bream about a serene and sensuous wedding in the Wine Country, many have in mind a place like Simi. It’s nice to know that dreams can come true.