Napa Wineries Video Tour
Explore the Napa Wine Country
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Discover the best Napa Valley wineries for you!
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I started wine tasting in the Napa Valley in 1967. Napa Valley was a quiet place then. There were few tasting rooms and a much smaller population, especially on Highway 29. In my late teens (never carded) I developed a deep love for the robust Napa and nearby Alexander Valley Cabernets that are still the kings of the Napa Valley wineries.
There are over 400 licensed wineries in the region but less than half of those are regularly open to the public. Those are the wineries we focus on. Some wineries are never open to the public and some are open by appointment only for large groups. We try to include wineries that are by-appointment but are open pretty much any time you call. Most are small family-owned wineries surviving in the shadows of the famous big ones.
- Jim Preston
The following lists are to help you understand what is available in the region and a great way to jump-start your adventures there. We made these lists for you based on our decades of California wine travel experience.
Must See Napa Valley Wineries - an introduction to the region.
Wineries south of St. Helena
- Darioush Winery
- Architecture and interior - The tasting room is a modernistic palace inspired by an ancient Persian palace. Wow!
- Experience - Traditional Persian hospitality. A little more formal than we are used to in tasting rooms but excellent.
- Ambiance - Rich and fascinating.
- Landscaping - Extensive landscaping with reflection pools and columns.
- Trefethen Family Vineyards
- Architecture and interior - Historic winery with a an old European design. One of Napa's most interesting and beautiful wineries.
- Landscaping - Nice courtyard seating area and a huge cork oak tree.
- Ambiance - Old world winery ambiance. Somewhat dark and intimate inside. Unusual tasting room.
- Peju Province Winery
- Architecture and interior - Charming French Chateau.
- Landscaping - Outstanding landscaping with intriguing art.
- V Sattui Winery
- Picnics and deli - This is the most popular winery picnic site in Napa Valley and probably California. The deli is famous. Do your winery lunch here if you can find room.
- Architecture - Terrific old world design.
- Landscaping - The main attraction are the huge oaks.
Wineries north of St. Helena
- Duckhorn Vineyards - by appointment
- Landscaping - Take a hike around the tasting room. One of the finest winery flower gardens in California.
- Architecture and interior - Beautifully renovated old farmhouse tasting room.
- Wine tasting - Wine flights served at tables.
- Rombauer Vineyards
- Landscaping - Art and flowers in a deep forested hilltop.
- Picnics - Tables set in the forest for solitude.
- Wine - Famous for their Chardonnay.
- Castello di Amorosa Castle and Winery The Castle
- Architecture and interior - A stunning replica of a huge ancient castle with a medieval market, chickens, and wine tasting in the halls.
- Ambiance - Amazing medieval ambiance but much cleaner.
- View - One of the better views of the upper Napa Valley.
- Clos Pegase Estate Winery
- Landscaping - Famous for the art.
- Architecture - Modern and unusual.
- Picnic - Several tables in the courtyard available in artsy surroundings.
Chateau Montelina Winery in the upper Napa Valley with beautiful landscaping, pond, and a real Chinese pagoda from the winery's history. The winery is featured in the movie "Bottle Shock".
Off-The-Beaten-Path Napa Wineries
- The Hess Collection
- Architecture and interior - The historic Christian Brothers winery with the addition of a big modern art collection.
- Location - A beautiful mountain drive and setting well away from the main traffic in the valley.
- Andretti Winery
- Architecture and interior - Tuscan with courtyard.
- Landscaping - Beautiful grounds.
- Experience - Tasting inside and on the back patio. Home-like atmosphere.
- Saddleback Cellars
- Ambiance - On nice days wine is served at the shaded picnic tables. Working winery.
- Corison Winery
- Ambiance - Tasting in the barrel room in a little working winery.
- Setting - A seldom visited winery among the giants of the wine industry on Highway 29.
- Wine - Kathy Corison is very respected for her Cabernet.
- Dutch Henry Winery
- Ambiance - Tasting in the barrel room. Rarely crowded. Working winery experience.
- Setting - Nicely wooded with a small vineyard.
- Bennett Lane Winery
- Ambiance and experience - Quiet, affordable, and very nice staff.
Napa Valley and the surrounding mountains have more quiet by-appointment only wineries than probably all other California wine regions combined. Check our maps and seek the ones with the yellow wine barrel markers. Many of the wineries off the main roads are less visited. Our personal favorite for really kick-back - Rancho de las Flores. Vintner Ralph Wermuth is one of the last old-timers left and he'll pour for you.
Lupines with Cuvaison Winery in the background in the upper Napa Valley
Romantic Napa Wineries
A special ambiance for long quiet conversations and enjoying love. Usually we have a secluded outdoor scene in mind. There are many so we'll select a few to get you started.
- Silverado Vineyards - incredible view up the valley from the patio. One of the best in California wine regions.
- Rutherford Hill Winery - big views of the valley from the picnic area in the oak forest.
- St. Clement Vineyards - picnic tables in wonderfully landscaped grounds of an old Victorian home and tasting room.
- Andretti Winery - Italian courtyard with a quiet back patio area for relaxing with wine.
- Rombauer Vineyards - picnic tables hidden in the dark redwood forest.
- There are many wonderful by-appointment only tasting rooms in estate style settings. We'll add these as we get time, and lots of money. The wine is expensive but you are in essence renting a couple of hours of estate time to dream about.