Top Napa Wineries
Ashes and Diamonds
Record producer Kashy Khaledi opened this winery whose splashy glass-and-metal tasting space evokes classic mid-century-modern California architecture. In their restrained elegance, the all-Bordeaux wines by two much-heralded pros hark back to 1960s Napa, too.
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, 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 during elegant tastings—or just sip a glass peacefully at a wine bar with a picturesque courtyard.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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.
Founded in 1895 but planted to grapes even before that, 150-acre Larkmead is one of the Napa Valley's storied estates. Hosts pour collector-quality Cabernets in a chic barn or outdoors in view of grapevines and the colorful garden.
The 19th-century cellars at sparkling-wine producer Schramsberg hold millions of bottles. During a visit you'll 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.
Step back in time at this Spring Mountain winery where two brothers named Smith make wines in a weathered, no-frills redwood barn. Founder Stu has been doing the farming and Charlie has been making the wines for more than four decades at this place with splendid valley views.
Stony Hill Vineyard
The cellar at this winery on Spring Mountain's eastern slope known for Old World–style white wines 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.
Trefethen Family Vineyards
The main tasting space at Trefethen, a three-story wooden former winery building dating to 1886, was completely renovated following the 2014 Napa earthquake. More than a half-century old itself, Trefethen makes Riesling, Chardonnay, and Merlot in addition to Cabernet Sauvignon and a Malbec-oriented red blend.
VGS Chateau Potelle
Small bites from an acclaimed Napa restaurant and Cabernet and other reds made from mountain fruit pair perfectly in Chateau Potelle's whimsically decorated St. Helena bungalow. In good weather, tastings take place under an open-air Moroccan tent. In either setting, owner Jean-Noel Fourmeaux's hospitality shines.