Choosing the best wineries in Napa Valley is no easy task since there are close to 500 of them spread throughout this lush and scenic winemaking region. Even so, some simply stand out among the many due to their landmark status with stately mansions, chateaus or even castles that hark back to the beauty of Bordeaux or Tuscany.

    There are also great winery tours to be had at some of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley, which not only introduce you to legendary wines but also some intriguing history and some of California’s most breathtaking mountain and valley landscapes. Here are the top places to go for your next winery tour in Napa Valley.

    1

    Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

    A historical wine winner

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    • Geschiedenis

    Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is a must-visit for true wine-lovers, simply for the mark it had made in Californian wine history. It won the Cabernet Sauvignon competition in the famous blind tasting event known as the Judgment of Paris just 6 years after it was founded in 1970. The Napa Valley 1st-growth estate produced its 1st vintage of S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon in 1972, with which it shared triumphs with another California winery, Chateau Montelena, at the famous event.

    Stag’s Leap’s current CASK 23 Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine collector’s item. It now offers a variety of experiences, from paired dinners and a guided tour of its scenic winery and a wine cave to tasting flights through the estate’s collection. Note that ‘Stags Leap’ is the name of the district. A few other wineries are similarly named after it and have been caught in long legal battles.

    Locatie: 5766 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558, USA

    Openingstijden: Daily from 10 am to 4.30 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +1 707-261-6410

    Kaart

    foto door Adam Engelhart (CC BY-SA 2.0) bewerkt

    2

    Chateau Montelena Winery

    A California wine icon

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    • Geschiedenis

    Chateau Montelena is one of the top Napa Valley wineries that won the famous Judgment of Paris blind tasting event in 1976. Chateau Montelena was established in 1882, 88 years before Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, the other Napa winery that it shared the victory with. Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay came out as the winning white.

    Today, you can tour the rooms of the forest-surrounded chateau and see the historical documents and the winning collection from the Judgment of Paris. You can also explore tour options covering the beautiful vineyard or estate – all with tastings. If you’re staying in Downtown Napa, journey up-valley first to Calistoga, visit Chateau Montelena, then work your way down the valley throughout the rest of your day. Bookings are recommended.

    Locatie: 1429 Tubbs Ln, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA

    Openingstijden: Daily from 9.30 am to 4 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +1 707-942-5105

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    foto door Kazuho Okui (CC BY 2.0) bewerkt

    3

    Castello di Amorosa

    Visit ‘old Tuscany’ in the heart of Napa Valley

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    Visiting Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga is like entering 13th-century Tuscany, all thanks to its authentically styled castle. The winery was built by vintner Vittorio Sattui to honour his Italian heritage. He was a pioneering winemaker who founded St. Helena Wine Cellars back in 1885. Sadly, the Prohibition laws of the 1920s brought an end to that business.

    His great-grandson reopened the family winery half a century later and it has now become one of the must-visit wineries in Napa Valley. The castle is a treat for the eyes and is very welcoming, even for families with kids. Mum and dad should try out wines like the classic Italian Sangiovese varietals or the pleasantly bubbly, sweet and fruity vino frizzantes.

    Locatie: 4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA

    Openingstijden: Daily from 11 am to 5 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +1 707-967-6272

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    foto door Jim G (CC BY 2.0) bewerkt

    4

    Domaine Carneros

    Drink Champagne in a stately chateau

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    Domaine Carneros is a Napa winery that’s best known for its grand and elegant chateau and its traditional-method sparkling wines. The winery was founded by the family behind the world-famous Champagne Taittinger. The scenic drive through the Los Carneros is breathtaking and the stunning chateau on the 400-acre estate serves as one of the winemaking region’s most iconic landmarks.

    For a deep experience at Domaine Carneros, book a tableside service on the terrace or in the salon, or join The Art of Sparkling Wine Tour series that takes you on a vineyard tour as well as showing you the winemaking process at the chateau with a tasting of their classic sparkling and red wines.

    Locatie: 1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA 94559, USA

    Telefoonnummer: +1 707-257-0101

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    foto door linademartinez (CC BY 2.0) bewerkt

    5

    Vincent Arroyo Winery

    A fun and engaging Napa winery

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    • Groep

    Vincent Arroyo Winery in Calistoga is one of the few places in Napa Valley where you can come as a small group and enjoy down-to-earth winery tours and tastings. That doesn’t mean that their wine isn’t on par with those made by the stately chateaus in the area, though. Their top selection features full-bodied yet balanced Petite Sirah, standing out among the ocean of Napa’s Cabernet Sauvignons.

    The unique wine experience is complemented by the small, differing details. Be greeted by the tail-wagging winery dog – most wineries in Napa have a ‘no pets’ policy. And besides the friendly and welcoming staff who will happily talk to you about the winery’s history and wine selection, you can enjoy a free tasting (if you come as a group of 4 or less) while seated in a rocking chair made from an old wine barrel.

    Locatie: 2361 Greenwood Ave, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA

    Openingstijden: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +1 707-942-6995

    Kaart

    foto door Peter M. (CC BY-SA 2.0) bewerkt

    6

    Beaulieu Vineyard

    Napa Valley’s bit of French passion

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    • Geschiedenis

    Beaulieu Vineyard is a historic winery along Napa Valley’s main St. Helena route in Rutherford and dates back to 1900. The winery was founded by a French couple who fell in love at their first sight of the land, hence its name that means ‘beautiful place.’ The Prohibition era hit Napa Valley wineries badly, yet his business thrived by selling sacramental wine to the Catholic Church.

    Visiting the winery, you’ll find a tasting room furnished with attractive dark wood, heavily decorated, and which has a skylight. A separate room hosts premium tastings. Beaulieu Vineyard’s first vintage, the 1940 Beaulieu Vineyard BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, is its flagship.

    Locatie: 1960 St. Helena Hwy, Rutherford, CA 94573, USA

    Openingstijden: Wednesday from noon to 4.30 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +1 707-257-5749

    Kaart

    foto door Ben (CC BY-SA 2.0) bewerkt

    7

    Beringer Vineyard

    A California wine forerunner

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    Beringer Vineyard is the oldest continually operating winery in Napa Valley, which dates back to 1868 and has strong German roots. Brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer of Mainz, Germany, found that the rocky hillside and fertile soil resembled that of the German vineyards back home. They then bought 215 acres of land to establish one of the first wineries in Napa. Even the elegantly gabled and stained-glass windowed mansion at the heart of the grounds was built to resemble their Rhine house.

    Experiences offered range from a 1-hour tour of the beautiful property as you learn about the history of the winery and its winemaking process, concluded with a flight in the Rhine House’s kitchen with special reserve wines.

    Locatie: 2000 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, USA

    Openingstijden: Wednesday from 10 am to 2 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +1 707-257-5771

    Kaart

    foto door Jim G (CC BY 2.0) bewerkt

    8

    Inglenook

    A chateau and vineyard home to Napa’s historic wine grapes

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    • Geschiedenis

    Inglenook is a grand Napa Valley wine estate in Rutherford that was established in 1879 by Finnish seafarer and winemaker Gustave Niebaum. He died in 1908 and the Prohibition hit the valley in the ‘20s. After picking up again with winemaking system upgrades, Niebaum’s family managed to revive its glory in the ‘40s and produced wines that were to be known as among the best in the Valley.

    With the success of The Godfather (1970), Francis Ford Coppola bought the estate in 1975 and had the Victorian chateau and winery meticulously restored to perfection. Now, it’s a go-to spot for cinephiles, oenologists, and the wine-loving community in general. Fascinating tours and wine tastings are on offer, presenting a rich selection of wines including their flagship Rubicon Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Locatie: 1991 St Helena Hwy, Rutherford, CA 94573, USA

    Openingstijden: Daily from 10.30 am to 5 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +1 707-968-1161

    Kaart

    foto door Steven Damron (CC BY 2.0) bewerkt

    9

    Round Pond Estate

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    Round Pond Estate was established in the ‘80s but had long been active in the wine scene before that by supplying their fruit to other wineries. From their 357-acre vineyard in Rutherford, they also harvest top-quality olives. Check out the property’s impressive visitors’ centre, where you can head to an upper terrace with gorgeous views to the Mayacamas Mountains.

    This setting is perfect for trying out their aromatic red wine blends or smooth Sauvignon Blancs. Round Pond Estate goes well beyond wine, as the MacDonnell family behind it are also well known for their olive-oil. Besides vineyard tours, you can visit their olive oil press across the road and discover extra-virgin and infused oils that are also surprisingly aromatic.

    Locatie: 875 Rutherford Rd, Rutherford, CA 94573, USA

    Openingstijden: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +1 707-302-2575

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    foto door Christopher Sessums (CC BY-SA 2.0) bewerkt

    10

    Rutherford Hill Winery

    High valley views with great wine

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    Rutherford Hill Winery is one of the wineries in Napa where you can sample legendary wine with spectacular views of the Valley. Since the hilly soil and climate resembled that of Pomerol in Bordeaux, in 1972 the founders deemed it was well suited to Merlot.

    Experiences on offer include private oak grove table tastings by the bottle or glass with cheese platters. On regular tours, you’ll have a guide who’ll show you through the history of the winery and he’ll show you inside the wine caves. It involves a Merlot sampling straight from the barrel. For a wondrous walk, check out the gravelly trail through their 6-acre olive grove near the picnic area – it’s also a great spot for picnics, though reservations must be made well in advance.

    Locatie: 200 Rutherford Hill Rd, Rutherford, CA 94573, USA

    Openingstijden: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +1 707-963-1871

    Kaart

    foto door Jim G (CC BY 2.0) bewerkt

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