With over 400 wineries and new ones popping up all the time, Napa can be a daunting place to plan a wine getaway if you’re not familiar with producers and the different AVAs. This post is by no means comprehensive, but let it serve as a jumping off point for where to look when booking tastings. These are some of my favorite wineries to visit when indulging in Napa. Enjoy!
Spring Mountain Vineyard
If you are looking for a classic winery that showcases Napa and instantly makes you feel in the heart of this famous valley, look to Spring Mountain. This historic winery was established in the 1880s and some of the original buildings still remain today. In terms of winemaking, they are famous for their Bordeaux varietals and unique, velvety expression of Cabernet Sauvignon (which is even featured on the wine list at The French Laundry). The sprawling estate itself is gorgeous, sitting on Spring Mountain in Saint Helena with each of its buildings beautiful and charming in their own ways (check out the Estate Tasting for a look into all of these). You can’t go wrong with any of the tastings this winery has to offer, nor the wines they pour.
For a more a more avant-garde expression of Napa but equally as delicious, visit Davis Estates in Calistoga. This winery is on the younger side, founded in 2011 by the Davis Family, but there is no lack of tradition and passion despite its age. The estate has a stunning grandeur that becomes instantly apparent after turning into the drive off Highway 29. Upon walking into the visitor’s center, we were greeted with a glass of Chardonnay to sip while taking a walking tour of the grounds and learning the history of the Davis family and estate. The experience concluded with a seated tasting of the remainder of the wines in their cozy lounge with fireplaces lit and a view of the valley. Each wine was paired with a bite prepared by the in-house chef that complemented the wines perfectly! I suggest allowing at least 90 minutes at this property to fully enjoy all that the estate and friendly staff have to offer.
Newton Vineyard (now tasting out of Brasswood)
I first discovered this hideaway gem (also on Spring Mountain) in 2018 when I was an intern at Domaine Chandon as both properties are owned by the same parent company. Even though Newton is owned by a large luxury conglomerate, you would never know it because they have done such a good job of keeping that small, boutique winery feel. I loved Newton for their chic atmosphere and beautiful French-inspired gardens (in addition to their stunning wines, of course). Unfortunately, the entire property burned in the fires of 2020. However, they are rebuilding the entire estate to be a state-of-the-art facility and are still producing wine at a different facility. They are tasting out of Brasswood Napa Valley and you can still purchase and ship wine from them. Newton is famous for their Unfiltered Chardonnay (post on unfiltered wine to come) but I also love their Spring Mountain single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is the perfect chill spot to unwind at on a sunny and warm Napa day. Tucked into the hillside off of the Silverado Trail, Robert Sinskey has a chic interior tasting bar and a sizable outdoor patio (where I prefer to taste) where you can have your tasting. Sinskey puts a large focus on food and wine pairings which I love and pairs your tasting flight with bites that the culinary team curate and prepare. What I really like about this producer is that they are willing to step out of the box of your usual Napa wines and bottle something a little more fun and off the beaten path, like their vin gris of Pinot Noir and Libration magnums series.
Stags’ Leap Winery
This winery (not to be confused with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, its neighbor) has a history dating back to the Prohibition era. The estate first had grapes planted in 1872, and later a prominent San Francisco couple purchased the property turning it into an elite Napa resort for the high society, and was said to have hosted gatherings at the manor during the 20s. Since then, the original manor (which resembles a castle) has been preserved and caves on the property have since been constructed. The grounds boast vineyards and gardens and seem to transport you to an old-world wine countryside.
This will definitely not be the last Napa Tastings post – after living here for almost 3 years I am still discovering more every day!