The 10 Best Winery Tours in Napa Valley
With more than 400 wineries throughout the region, picking the best winery tours in Napa Valley can be, simply put, a bit daunting. Luckily, we’ve combined our insider knowledge with the top online reviews to put together a list of the best of the best, so you can focus on what matters most — the wine. Here are the 10 best winery tours to experience in Napa Valley.
Walk This Way
William Hill Estate Winery
1761 Atlas Peak Road, Napa, CA 94558
Tucked off the Silverado Trail along Atlas Peak Road, William Hill Estate Winery was founded in 1976 by vineyard developer William Hill and has continued to produce chardonnay and Bordeaux varieties from throughout Napa Valley. For an intimate look at the winery, book the 90-minute Estate Tasting and Tour, an in-depth walking tour and tasting. The experience starts with a guided walk through the most scenic areas of the estate vineyard, followed by a tour of the cellar and barrel room. You’ll learn about William Hill’s unique farming and winemaking techniques before sitting down to enjoy a tasting of limited-production current release and library wines, accompanied by a cheese and charcuterie plate.
Insider Tip: To explore the wines without the walking tour, opt for the Estate Tasting, which includes a variety of Napa Valley chardonnays and estate-grown Bordeaux varietals paired with culinary bites. In fact, wine and food are a big part of the William Hill philosophy, so much so that they even have an entire section of their website dedicated to wine and seafood pairings.
Storm the Castle
Castello di Amorosa
4045 St. Helena Highway, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 967-6272
It’s not everyday that you get to taste wine in an authentically-styled 13th century castle, which took owner Dario Sattui over 15 years to build using Medieval methods and antique bricks from now-defunct Hapsburg palaces. Explore the castle with roaming access to two levels during the General Admission tasting, but to up your winery tour experience, spring for the Diamond Estate Tour & Reserve Tasting. This guided tour will take you through the Castello’s production area and underground cellars, as well as the torture chamber, armory, and Grand Barrel Room, where you’ll taste cabernet sauvignon directly from the barrel. Afterward, sample six current release wines from a private tasting space.
Insider Tip: For an even more exclusive experience, reserve the Royal Food & Wine Pairing Tour to learn about the vineyard’s high-end, limited-release wines, which is guided by the winery’s dedicated Certified Sommelier.
8445 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 967-7700
Mumm Napa has been a destination for traditionally-made sparkling wines since its inception in the late 1970s. During the hour-long Winery Tour, you’ll visit the winery’s demonstration vineyard, tour the winemaking facility and cellar, then finish in their Fine Art Photography Gallery for wine while perusing the artwork. The gallery is home to a collection of original Ansel Adams prints (on loan from the Adams family), as well as works from local and international artists.
Insider Tip: If you’d rather have a more leisurely experience without the tour, book a tasting on the Oak Terrace to sip bubbly outdoors overlooking the vines.
1111 White Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-7774
While known for its wine and food experiences, V. Sattui’s Tour and Terrace Tasting is a nice way to learn about the winery’s rich history while savoring the al fresco setting. After a guided tour of the winery, where you’ll hear about V. Sattui’s early days and its rebirth in 1976 after Prohibition, you’ll sit down for a tasting of five wines on the private terrace. You can even add a cheese and charcuterie plate to enjoy alongside the wine, all while taking in the picturesque vineyard views.
Insider Tip: While their on-site deli offers a wide range of delectable picnic-worthy fare, it’s all about barbeque food and Italian-style pizzas when the V. Sattui food truck parks it on the weekends. You can’t go wrong with a Tri Tip sandwich or grilled ribs, but the Porchetta Sandwich is a fan favorite.
Cabernet & Caves
Pine Ridge Vineyards
5901 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 252-9777
Situated in the heart of the Stags Leap District, Pine Ridge Vineyards — which has been making wine for over 40 years — offers several wine tasting experiences worth exploring. For a complete vine-to-glass tour, though, check out the 90-minute Wine Tasting And Cave Tour, which begins with a look in the demonstration vineyard. You’ll also visit the wine cellar and impressive wine caves, where you’ll enjoy a barrel sample followed by a seated wine and cheese pairing.
Insider Tip: Pine Ridge Vineyards has gained a loyal following for its cabernet-based wines, including their flagship cabernet, FORTIS, which is only available at the winery.
Art + WineCliff Lede Vineyards
1473 Yountville Cross Road, Yountville, CA 94599, (707) 944-8642
You don’t need a reservation to pop in for a tasting at this Yountville winery, but it’s worth planning ahead to enjoy the elevated Backstage Lounge Tasting. Though not technically a wine tour, this reservation-only wine tasting includes Cliff Lede’s most limited-production wines, which you’ll sample from the tasting room’s comfortable indoor lounge. Expect rock music playing on the speakers — after all, Cliff Lede’s vineyard blocks are named after rock songs — and rotating art on the walls in which to admire, like the current “Reflections: The Art of Bernie Taupin” exhibit that has been extended through October.
Insider Tip: If you’re looking to post up close by, book a room at Cliff Lede’s own Poetry Inn. Perched on a hillside overlooking the Silverado Trail, this private, five-room inn perfectly blends romance and seclusion with luxurious amenities to ensure a restful stay in Wine Country.
CADE Estate Winery
360 Howell Mountain Road South, Angwin, CA 94508, (707) 965-2746
Nestled high above the valley at an elevation of 1,800 feet, Howell Mountain’s CADE Estate may not be the easiest place to get to, but it’s worth the drive for a look at this modern estate winery. During the hour-and-a-half Estate Tour & Tasting, you’ll get to explore the LEED Gold Certified Winery and expansive caves built into the hillside. After, enjoy stunning views of Napa Valley during the seated tasting of current release wines in the contemporary lounge or outside in the courtyard.
Insider Tip: If looking to add some older vintages to your cellar, check out CADE at 13th Vineyard, one of the oldest and historically significant properties in Napa Valley. At the still-intact 1886 winery — the 13th bonded winery in California — you’ll sample CADE’s library vintages from within the hand-laid stone walls.
3104 Redwood Road, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 226-8320
With its intimate setting and welcoming staff, it’s easy to feel like an extended family member at this small, family-owned winery. During the three-hour Seminar Tour led by owner/winemaker George Hendry, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the family’s winemaking philosophies and long history with farming, followed by a sampling of seven wines. If you’re short on time, the Seated Tasting — which is less of a commitment at an hour and a half long — provides a somewhat abbreviated, though still educational experience.
Insider Tip: No family is truly complete without a dog, and the folks here are happy to welcome your well-behaved furry friends on the property. Babies and kids, on the other hand, aren’t allowed, as all visitors to the winery must be over 21.
A Dose of History
Far Niente Winery
1350 Acacia Drive, Oakville, CA 94562, (707) 944-2861
Surrounded by 13 acres of landscaped gardens, Napa Valley’s Far Niente Winery is a beautiful sight, but to really experience it all, book the 90-minute Tour and Tasting. This intimate tour will take you through the historic tri-level winery and wine caves, followed by a seated tasting of current releases. To cap it off, you’ll sample the celebrated late harvest wine, Dolce, produced by Far Niente’s sister winery.
Insider Tip: History buffs will especially enjoy paying a visit to Far Niente Winery, which was established in 1885 and prospered until the start of Prohibition. In 1979, Gil Nickel purchased the winery and began a three-year restoration, resulting in the winery being placed on the National Register of Historical Places.
1581 Sage Canyon Road, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 286-4219
The oldest winery on Pritchard Hill — an area known for its acclaimed cabernet wines — Chappellet is a worthwhile place to visit in Napa Valley. During the special Signature Tasting and Estate Tour, your host will guide you on a private walk through the winery and organic vineyards, after which you’ll sit down for a tasting in the barrel room to sample Chappellet’s iconic Signature Series wines.
Insider Tip: Due to the demand of Chappellet’s limited wines, there’s a wait to join their allocation list, so you may want to purchase while visiting to ensure you get to enjoy a bottle or two later.
Disclaimer: This artical was originally published on napavalley.com by HANA-LEE SEDGWICK on OCTOBER 21, 2019