Top Napa Wineries
You can tour the 1885 stone winery and view gleaming classic cars before sitting down to taste Far Niente's famed Cabernet Sauvignon blend and Chardonnay. The small size of the tour groups, the beauty of the grounds, and the quality of the wines make expensive Far Niente worth the splurge.
Artesa Vineyards & Winery
The modern, minimalist layout of this winery blends harmoniously with the surrounding Napa landscape, yet Artesa makes a vivid impression with its outdoor sculptures and fountains. You can savor the wines—and the vineyard views—from tasting bars, indoor seating areas, or outdoor terraces.
Stony Hill Vineyard
The longtime winemaker at this winery on Spring Mountain's eastern slope crafts Old World–style, mostly white wines in a low-tech cellar that looks like something out of The Hobbit. The dense woods on the drive up to the winery and the steeply banked vineyards surrounding it reinforce the sense of timeless perfection each bottle expresses.
The main building of this Napa winery was modeled after an 18th-century French château owned by the Champagne-making Taittinger family, one of whose members selected the site Domaine Carneros now occupies. On a sunny day, the experience of sipping a crisp sparkling wine on the outdoor terrace feels noble indeed.
History buffs won't want to miss Inglenook, which was founded in the 19th century by a Finnish sea captain and rejuvenated over the past several decades by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. You can learn all about this fabled property on a tour or while tasting in an opulent salon, or just sip peacefully at a wine bar with a picturesque courtyard.
The19th-century cellars at sparkling-wine producer Schramsberg hold millions of bottles. After you learn how the bubblies at this Calistoga mainstay are made using the méthode traditionelle, and how the bottles are "riddled" (turned every few days) by hand, you can enjoy generous pours.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards
In good weather, there are few more glorious tasting spots in the Napa Valley than the terrace at this St. Helena winery. Phelps is known for its Cabernet Sauvignons and Insignia, a Bordeaux blend. The wine-related seminars here are smart and entertaining.
The Hess Collection
Before heading to this Napa winery's tasting room to sip excellent Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays, take the time to wander through owner Donald Hess's personal art collection, full of works by important 20th-century artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Francis Bacon.
This winery produces one wine a year, a Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon blend, at its Oakville location. It’s poured at tastings along with the Cabernet-dominant blend made at Silver Oak’s other winery, in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. Tastings also include older vintages for comparison.
Kirk Venge consults on the blending of several exclusive wineries' Cabernets and other wines, but his own winery is delightfully casual, and the cost of both tastings and bottles is reasonable given the quality. With its vineyard views, the ranch-house tasting room's porch is a magical perch. Book ahead to visit here.
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