Let’s talk about one of the best cities (not Austin this time). I’m thinking about Napa Valley. Where else can you get the beautiful rolling vineyards, the friendliest people, and copious amounts of wine?
Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to take a few day trips to Napa. One time, my family even rented segways and segway-ed around a few vineyards! When I see segways, all I envision is Mall Cop. Paul Blart and I can now be best friends.
I have compiled a list of my favorites for anyone heading to the area (or anyone wanting to go). I included bigger named wineries such as Castello di Amaroso and Mumm Napa. These were nice and have great tours, but I actually prefer the smaller wineries. I like the ones that aren’t very crowded because you get to chat with the winemakers and hear the family history behind all the wine.
Sometimes I love a winery, not because of how good the wine was, but because the staff was so friendly and fun. The wine is only as good as the company you share it with.
I absolutely love family owned and operated wineries and tasting rooms. Such as Baldacci Family Vineyards. To this day, this has been my favorite tasting. We ended up talking to the pourer (who is a Baldacci son) for over an hour. We loved this place; it has a small tasting room and a very cute patio. The patio is quiet and overlooks the vineyard; I was in heaven. I haven’t been back since, but I sure need to.
Mumm Napa– They have a fun tour here, there are coupons available online for 2 for 1 tours, make sure to grab one.
Castello di Amorosa: Oh, the castle! This place was really fun and has a cool history tour. You get to see the barrels and have a neat underground tasting. They also have a phenomenal Cabernet that I still think about… but you can only buy it on the grounds, so don’t miss your opportunity! (and buy 2 bottles, you won’t regret it)
Jacuzzi Vineyards– Jacuzzi still has my vote for best outdoor patio. It is so large and beautiful… perfect for a wedding. They have wine tastings and olive oil tastings! Cline (their sister vineyard) is right across the street. (This is in Sonoma)
PlumpJack Winery: DO NOT walk away from here without the 2009 PlumpJack Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. I love it, I think we bought three of these bottles (whoops! But totally worth it). Here you can try CADE and Plumpjack wines in a smaller tasting room that is very fun and personal.
Artesa Winery: This place is absolutely beautiful. The tasting area can get a little crowded and hectic but you should come here at least for the views.
Robert Sinskey: I love the food aspect here! They have little snack bites, which we got, and also make fantastic food (so I’ve heard). The upper outdoor patio has a great view, overlooking vineyards.
Regusci Winery: Gorgeous grounds and really great wine. A little pricier, but fantastic wine and grounds.
V. Sattui: This is a big, crowded tasting room, but lots of fun. Once you get through the tasting, grab a bottle of wine, some sandwiches at the shop inside, and have lunch at the picnic area outside. It’s a fun place for groups!
Christopher Creek: The guys that own CC are great and love to have a good time. We talked to our pourer for awhile and got to hear some great stories. This family winery has been passed down and is “only to be drank with friends and family”. This is why you can’t find the wine in stores, you can only find it at the winery, if you are a club member or at one of their traveling wine parties with their club members.
If you are headed to Napa, prepare for an amazing time… it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself.
If anyone has any feedback, recommendations, comments, or notes on other wineries, please leave a comment or send me an email. I would love to try them out for myself!
Also, I will be going to the Saint Ynez Valley for my birthday in a few weeks. I would LOVE some recommendations!