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Wine Country hospitality has a little something for every type of wine, food or nature lover. It’s impressive that the $500/bottle Napa Cab buyer can enjoy lunch out next to a non-wine drinker who’s visiting Napa for its soft natural beauty. This is why when I’m asked, “what wineries do you suggest I visit?” I have to ask a few questions. “What wines do you like? How much wine do you expect to buy during your visit? What’s more important: understanding the wine you’re drinking or soaking in the landscape?” That sort of thing.
Now, DDWA Members can contact me and I’ll suggest a visit or two based on their answers (and most likely suggest a winery that comps tastings to my members…don’t you want to join?)
Non-members are hardly left out in the cold, though, for I’ve compiled a fantastic, 12 winery wine-tasting guide and build-your-own wine tasting itinerary, broken up into three geographical groups. Each group is featured in their own dedicated post.
These are all wineries that are set up, one way or another, to receive guests either same day or next day, in most cases. Remember it never hurts to call ahead to make sure the winery is available to see you, because, you know, things happen. For a great tasting day, pick one winery from each of the three groups and contact them to make an appointment (or just let them know you’re coming…you usually get even better service when the winery is expecting you.) And come back another time to try the others. I’ve really laid out 4 great tasting days in Napa and Sonoma for you. It’s my gift, from me to you.
This virtual tasting moves from south to north. I suggest no more than 3 winery visits in a day as each visit usually is 1 or 2 hours, and you want to take a break in between for a bite. Of course, you don’t have to pick just one from each group. I suggest picking one from each so you can see more of our beautiful wine country.
Each winery links over to their website.
*** means this winery offers either complimentary or 2 for 1 tastings to DDWA Members.
Membership is just $60/year. The benefits pay for itself in A FLASH.
Costs of tastings are subject to change. Most wineries have a policy to waive tasting fees depending on how much wine is purchased. Ask the winery about this.
Free wine advice from a former Napa wine shop owner & sommelier
Wine Tasting Guide, Part Three – Mid and Northern Napa Valley (Five Wineries You Should Visit)
Frog’s Leap Winery
In Rutherford, middle of The Valley. Enjoy great wine as you learn about Frog’s Leap intensive biodynamic, no irrigation farming. They are vineyard geeks 100%. The goal is to make wines that “aren’t too ripe,” usually resulting in under 14% alcohol, brilliant, age-worthy wines (whites and reds). By appointment. $35/tasting. DDWA Reviews Here
Tres Sabores Vineyard & Winery**
This organic Estate vineyard on the Rutherford Bench is stunning and comforting at the same time. Owner/winemaker Julie Johnson crafts balanced, delicious whites and reds. By appointment. $40/tasting. DDWA Reviews Here
Behrens Family Winery***
Taste at their Tasting Room in St Helena. Big, rich, no-holds-barred reds (mostly) from Napa Valley (a little bit of Sonoma too). By appointment, available every day except Sunday. $50/tasting. DDWA Reviews Here
Palladian Vineyard & Winery***
Meet up with winemaker David Mahaffey for a tasting on the Estate Vineyard in St Helena AVA on the Silverado Trail. Try the Bordeaux-esque Palladian Cabernet and, quite likely, David’s other wines under the Miss Olivia Brion label (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). $40/tasting. DDWA Reviews Here
Larkmead Vineyard & Winery
Taste at the Estate Vineyard property on Larkmead Lane between St Helena and Calistoga. Try the awesome Cabernets and Red Blends made by their talented winemaker, Dan Petroski. By appointment. Open every day except Wednesday. Around $50/tasting (not sure). DDWA Reviews Here