Don’t Miss These Favorite Destinations for Tasting and Sightseeing in Wine Country
No trip to California wine country is complete without at least a few wine tastings and vineyard tours. Plan a visit to these vineyards that are highly ranked in Google Reviews, and be sure to book one of the highest-ranked Napa hotels, too, to make the most of your trip to this picturesque and idyllic locale.
Caldwell Vineyard & Winery – 4.9 Stars on Google
With 23 grape varieties and 28 estate wines, Caldwell Vineyard & Winery promises to be a hot destination for people who love their vino – and want a fascinating history to go with it. Learning about winery founder John Caldwell’s foray into the wine business will lead enthusiasts down a long path filled with exciting stories that amaze you. This exclusive vineyard and winery offer tastings by appointment only. Visit them at 270 Kreuzer Lane in Napa, CA.
Gamble Family Vineyard – 4.9 Stars on Google
One of the younger vineyards in Napa, Gamble Family Vineyard, was founded in 2005 – but the founder’s family has been deeply rooted to agriculture in the valley since 1916. Tom Gamble has ensured his winery and vineyards operate as green as possible, earning Napa Green and Fish Friendly Farming certifications. The small-production winery offers private 75-minute tasting experiences with a flight of four of their best, most elegant wines. You can waive the tasting fee by purchasing three or more bottles of wine to take home with you. Reservations are required to attend a tasting. Visit Gamble Family Vineyard at its private address in Oakville, CA.
Truchard Vineyards – 4.9 Stars on Google
The Truchard wine tradition began in the late 1880s in Texas – although few records exist. In the 1970s, Tony Truchard and his wife purchased land in Napa Valley and focused on selling their grapes to other wineries. They began producing their wine in 1989 – adding an 11,000-square-foot wine cave in 1998. Today, their most popular wines include Chardonnay, Roussanne, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and more – all estate grown. Prior reservations are required, and tastings include a walking vineyard tour. Visit Truchard Vineyards at 3234 Old Sonoma Road in Napa, CA.
Robert Biale Vineyards – 4.9 Stars on Google
Robert Biale Vineyards is another winery with deep roots and a fascinating backstory. In the 1940s, ancestor Aldo Biale sold his family’s homemade Zinfandel to Napa Valley residents using code words on an old “party line” phone system. If someone asked for a “Black Chicken,” Aldo knew they wanted a jug of his family’s bootleg wine. Today, Robert Biale Vineyards is the revered standard for Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, offering 20 wines, including the flagship Black Chicken Zinfandel – the industry benchmark for the varietal. Appointments are required for tastings, with special reservations available for Black Chicken Society members. Visit the vineyard at 4038 Big Ranch Road in Napa.
Monticello Vineyards – 4.8 Stars on Google
Inspired by Thomas Jefferson, Jay Corley designed his winery estate house after the former president’s Monticello – in the Palladian style of the Italian Renaissance. Corley felt a connection with Jefferson and his passion for wine over ale. Since Monticello Vineyards’ establishment, they’ve continued to handcraft wines in small batches, from barrel to bottle. Choose from two tasting options – The Garden or The Reserve. Reservations are recommended for everyone but required for groups of eight or more. Visit them at 4242 Big Ranch Road in Napa, CA.
Hendry Ranch Wines – 4.8 Stars on Google
Hendry Winery calls itself “unpretentious,” and its ranch setting is one of the more rural ones on the list. But despite being “unpretentious,” Hendry practices environmental responsibility by adopting ethical harvesting and land management practices, including reducing reliance on herbicides and pesticides in their vineyards. Established in 1939, this winery and vineyard offer a wide selection of wines and multiple tiers of tasting experiences by appointment only. Visit them at 3104 Redwood Road in Napa, CA.
Palmaz Vineyards – 4.8 Stars on Google
Founded in 2001, Palmaz Vineyards is a relatively young winery and vineyard, although it’s owned and operated by a family whose wine roots go back to the Gold Rush years. With its Bauhaus-inspired architecture and 18-story cavern in Napa Valley, Palmaz has eliminated mechanical pumps from its winemaking processes, using gravity only to preserve the wines’ molecular structure. You must make a reservation in advance for a private tour and tasting of their subterranean winery. Find them at 4029 Hagen Road in Napa, CA.
3 Important Tips for Winery Visits
If you’ve never visited Napa Valley or participated in exclusive wine tastings before, follow these tips to enjoy your experience better:
- Dress appropriately for the weather outdoors and in wine cellars. You may wish to wear layers.
- Abide by the dress code at each winery you visit. For most Napa Valley wineries, neat jeans and sundresses are acceptable, but more exclusive wineries may have different requirements.
- Vineyard visitors must be at least 21 years old; children, including infants, cannot visit many of the vineyards in Napa Valley. Some vineyards can accommodate well-behaved, leashed dogs. Check each vineyard’s policies before booking your reservations.