Napa Valley's Standout Tasting Rooms

Home to more than 500 wineries, the Napa Valley has more standouts than we can list here, but this great list will help get you started.

Published: 6/17/2014

Home to more than 500 wineries, the Napa Valley has more standouts than we can list here, but this great list will help get you started.

Bennett Lane Winery

This classy little Cab house on the north edge of Calistoga is a delightful place to taste some amazing wines. Owners Lisa and Randy Lynch like to provide guests with opportunities for interactive education. They invite guests to use iPads mounted on the tasting bar to do research, read winemaker notes, and report on their tasting experience online. Out back, there’s a charming lawn surrounded by vineyards where guests can sit and fully savor their favorite wine. bennettlane.com

Beringer Vineyards

The iconic grounds of Beringer Vineyards speak to the heritage of the entire Napa Valley. The winery, founded by German immigrants Jacob and Frederick Beringer, dates back to the 1870s. Today, Beringer is still a standout. Plenty of tasting options are offered in both the historic Rhine House and the Old Winery Tasting Room. History buffs will appreciate the Introduction to Beringer Tour that leads them through the wine aging tunnels. There’s even a chocolate tasting room where guests can taste Scharffen Berger chocolates paired with Beringer wines. beringer.com

Charles Krug Winery

Charles Krug introduced the tasting room concept to California on its legendary property in St. Helena. Not one to rest on its laurels, this pioneering winery has recently restored its Redwood Cellar Tasting Room and Hospitality Center (built in 1872). Guests are greeted warmly and invited to taste the stellar wines as they learn about the winery’s history, in full view of the original wine tanks and working Family Reserve cellar. The new trattoria serves fresh grilled panini, which can be enjoyed outdoors in the newly landscaped picnic area. charleskrug.com

Clif Family Winery at Velo Vino

What a fabulous idea of Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson, who also founded Clif Bar & Company! This inviting little tasting room seamlessly blends the passions for cycling, wine, and food with a walk-up coffee and wine tasting bar, a variety of areas to sit (including a garden patio in the back), and plenty of great wines and healthy foods to sample. Velo Vino is a regular stop for avid cyclists, so it’s not unusual to hear cleats clack across the hardwood floor as one tastes everything from a crisp Dry Riesling to a supple Red Bordeaux blend. cliffamilywinery.com

Foley Johnson

This sleek, boutique tasting room features several sensory experiences that go beyond wine and cheese. Guests make reservations to attend several Sensory Tasting Seminars with themes like “Free Run versus Press Wine” and “French Oak versus American Oak.” There are other interesting offers like live plant cuttings signed by Winemaker Brad Warner, too. foleyjohnsonwines.com Grgich Hills Estate Personable and welcoming, the Grgich Hills Estate tasting room is a great place to drop in unannounced, but there are several special hospitality experiences worth checking out. Wine and cheese tastings and private tastings conducted in the winery’s library salon are quite popular. What’s more, The Napa Valley Wine Train stops right in front of the winery. Passengers can book a couple of tour options that include a private tour of Grgich Hills. One unique option is the evening winery tour offered on weekends. It’s the only evening tour offered in the valley. grgich.net

Peju

Family founded and family owned, Peju is truly a gem. The winery’s 50-foot tower stands like a beacon in the famed Rutherford district. The family’s dedication to scrupulous vineyard practices, elegant wines, and fine art is evident everywhere. There are actually several tasting rooms located on two floors and each is an experience unto itself. There’s a great tasting menu for drop-in guests, but the best way to experience Peju is with one of its many Premier Experiences (vineyard strolls, culinary explorations, and more), which require a reservation in advance. peju.com

Raymond Vineyards

Playful and imaginative, this winery greets guests outdoors with a two-acre learning garden, the Theater of Nature. It offers very engaging explanations of Biodynamic farming practices and opportunities for guests to test their own “scents-ibility” with aromatic testers and more. Inside, the world of Raymond unfolds with a variety of compelling tasting options, including the velvet-ensconced Red Room (where the Reds flow), the Blending Room, and the Crystal Cellar, which is bedecked with crystal chandeliers. raymondvineyards.com

V. Sattui Winery & Italian Market

This popular tasting room is a favorite of families and small groups who like to purchase picnic foods from the bountiful deli for a leisurely picnic on the winery’s grounds. The portfolio of wines is quite extensive and impressive. Many are award winners and, in 2013, Director of Winemaking Brooks Painter was named Winemaker of the Year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. The bustling main tasting room has an array of tasting bars, and wine club members have their own private tasting room in the cellar of the adjacent stone winery. vsattui.com


As seen in the issue Summer/Fall 2014 of Touring & Tasting Magazine.

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Robert Keenan Winery
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