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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, 2 for 1, or upgraded tastings to DDWA Members.
Membership is just $60/year. Join and take advantage! The benefits pay for the membership in a flash, but only if you want to have fun. If fun’s not your bag, then don’t worry about it.
NOTE: 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
Part One – Sonoma & Carneros – Five Wineries You Should Visit
Poseidon Vineyard/Obsidian Ridge***
At Cornerstone Gardens & Marketplace on Highway 121 in Carneros. Outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from their Carneros vineyard, and Cabernet Sauvignon from their Red Hills, Lake County vineyard. Open for walk ins. $20/person to taste. DDWA Reviews Here and Here
Located at 531 E First St. in Sonoma, a half block off of Sonoma Square. Owner/winemaker Adam Webb makes outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. That said, my favorite wines of his are his Rhone-Style red and white blends. Open for walk ins every day except Monday. Flights are $20 and change often. DDWA Reviews Here
Located just off Sonoma Square (2 blocks from Cochon/Odisea Tasting Bar, as a matter of fact). Sojourn makes world class Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons. Sit down, intimate tasting “experience.” By appointment. $35/tasting. DDWA Reviews Here
Located among the vines in the Carneros on the Napa side, about 10 minutes from Downtown Napa. They still make delicious Chardonnay and back it up with mighty fine Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and more. Cuvaison also owns and makes Brandlin Ranch, Mt Veeder wines. You get a lot for your tasting fee at Cuvaison, including the view! By appointment. $35 and $50/tasting. DDWA Reviews Here
Y Rousseau Winery
Y is for Yannick: Yannick Rousseau, owner & winemaker and do-it-all business owner. I love all his wines, especially the two wines he makes from grapes of Gascony, France origin: Colombard and Tannat. (Yannick was born and raised in Gascony and has a 2nd home there). He also makes outstanding Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon…all produced in tiny amounts. By appointment, at least 72 hours in advance. $55/tasting and includes cheeses & charcuterie to match the wines. One tasting fee waived for every $300 purchase. Y Rousseau winery is located in Napa’s “warehouse district.” Not quite Carneros, but super-close. DDWA Reviews Here
Part Two – Southern Napa Valley, 4 Wineries You Should Visit
Part Three – Middle and Northern Napa Valley, 5 Wineries You Should Visit