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If you’re visiting Napa Valley for the first time or aren’t an experienced wine connoisseur, this iconic California destination can be a bit overwhelming. There are more than 400 wineries that have tasting rooms in Napa Valley, with many more that produce wine but aren’t necessarily open to the public. Choosing a few wineries to visit can be difficult, which is why we’re sharing a guide to some of the best ones to stop by! Of course, there are many more amazing wineries that you’ll love as well, but these are nine of our all-time favorites.
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V. Sattui is a wonderful winery to come and spend an entire afternoon, especially if you have kids or dogs. There’s an artisan deli that carries everything you need to make a gourmet picnic lunch and enjoy outside in the grassy space with tables. This winery dates back to 1885 when Vittorio Sattui started the business that was later revived by his great-grandson. At times, there’s even wood-fired pizza offered at weekend BBQs. These are 45-minute long guided tours that will teach you about the vineyard’s winemaking and conclude with a complimentary wine tasting. Food and wine pairings and blending seminars are also offered here, and events require reservations.
This is an especially excellent Napa Valley winery to visit if you love pinot noir and sparkling wines. It is housed in a French-inspired chateau and has a history that dates back to the late 1970s. All of the wines here come from the Carneros appellation and almost all from its estate vineyards. You can enjoy tableside service on the terrace or in the salon when you visit Domaine Carneros, and tastings are offered daily. Reservations are required for tastings, and you can also enjoy wine by the glass here with caviar and artisan cheese. The 90-minute tours are offered daily to guests 21 and over.
If you’ve ever been curious about what a winery cave is, then plan to visit the Rutherford Hill Winery in Napa Valley. This winery offers cave tours, wine tastings, and picnic spots with lovely vineyard views. Rutherford Hill Winery was founded in 1972, and Merlot is the flagship wine, with about 75 percent of production dedicated to the Merlot varietal. Order a tasting flight or join a cave tour/barrel tasting experience.
This winery is close to the town of Napa and was the first family-owned winery to plant pinot grigio on the eastern hills of the Silverado Trail. This is a bit newer winery, as the winery’s history dates back to 1995, and it is the largest estate-planted pinot grigio and sangiovese producer in the valley. You can visit the winery and do a Signature Tasting, which includes five current release wines, or a Bianca Tasting, which includes all white wines. Reserve tastings are available as well as wine and chocolate pairings, while cheese and charcuterie tastings are offered by appointment.
A big name to know in Napa Valley is Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, which is a historic winery with caves and that is famous for estate-grown cabernet sauvignons. You can come here to visit the FAY Outlook and visitor center, although pets are not allowed on the patio or in the tasting room. The tasting room here is open daily and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars tours and tastings come with a cave tour and small bites. You can also enjoy the Cellarious Kitchen Experience with Chef Travis Westrope for a very immersive experience. The winery occasionally hosts walking tours and culinary demonstrations too.
Castello di Amorosa is definitely one of the most impressive wineries in Napa Valley, thanks to its medieval-inspired Tuscan castle and multi-level winery that offers tastings. This winery offers Italian-style wines and includes access to roam around the two levels and sample premium wines or reserve wines. You can also take a guided tour with premium or reserve wine tasting, a cheese and wine pairing tour, royal food and wine pairing tour, or a Napa Valley Wine Train and tour package.
The history of Inglenook Winery dates back to 1879, and it makes everything from cabernet sauvignon to zinfandel and sauvignon blanc wines. One highlight is trying the flagship Rubicon wine with artisan cheese. You can also stop by The Bistro for a comfortable place to relax and enjoy wines by the glass or bottle, as well as bistro bites, cheese, charcuterie, and cigars.
This is another very popular St. Helena winery that has been growing grapes on its estate since 1972 and making wines organically since 1985. Come here to try cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and syrah. Tours and seated tastings are by appointment only and last for about 90 minutes.
The last winery we’ll mention here is the Chateau Montelena, which is a castle with gardens and was founded in 1882. You can stop by for a walk-in current release tasting and no reservations are needed for this tasting unless you’re coming by with a group of eight or more. Library tastings, estate tours, vineyard tours, and cellarmaster tastings are also available here.