Bonny Doon: Care for some Aliens with your Wine?

Update: this tasting room has closed.

Note: this article is about visiting Bonny Doon’s Tasting Room. We’ll review some of the wines in the near future.

Not your grandmother’s tasting room (Though Grandma may enjoy it!)


Bonny Doon’s wine tasting room offers up hearty notes of extraterrestrials, with hints of Banana slug, spaceships, and a lingering aftertaste of philosophy and fishnets. This fantastical winery is the brainchild of Randall Grahm, a philosophy major turned winemaker, on a quest for the perfect Pinot Noir.

As the designated ‘Millenial’ of Great Big Reds, Bonny Doon was my favorite tasting room I visited on our most recent trip, and well, really, my life.

While providing great wine and a wonderful experience, Bonny Doon takes the pretension out of wine tasting – it is unabashedly *fun*. Our charming (and heavily tattooed) server regaled us with the remarkably intertwined history of wine growing and aliens, a tale which I won’t spoil on this blog, but makes for a great introduction to a wine. Other wines are named for philosophers, and some for the Banana slug, mascot of Grahm’s alma mater.

The Banana Slug Red, enjoyable to many species.


If this isn’t enough ambiance for you, you can channel your inner alien by climbing into Bonny Doon’s very own spaceship for a photo complete with customizable green screen background. (Ever wondered what you’d look like fleeing a spacecat with laser eyes? Wonder no more.)

For this reason Bonny Doon is one of few tasting rooms I would recommend bringing children to – there’s plenty to look at and props to dress up in, as well as comfortable couches in a corner to retreat to with an electronic device.

The wines themselves had enough character to stand up to their fantastical environment. Team Great Big Reds recommends and went home with a couple of bottles of the Jespersen Syrah, and (as the only non-red drinker of the group) I enjoyed the crisp and refreshing whites and roses that I tried. Wines are offered at a range of prices from $50 to some budget friendly options under $20.

Overall, Bonny Doon is a must visit for a unique tasting experience and a welcome break from the standard winery spiel.

Recommended for: families, young people, funky individuals, aliens.

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