I’ve been asked many times on what’s my favorite/recommendation for Napa wineries, It’s about time to finally sort them all out and put them in one simple list.
Before we start, I want to mention this list is made for a party of 4 to visit, some of the bouquet wineries does not allow (or is incapable of hosting) large party, so it’s always good to inquire and make reservations before you go.
Now, my first question for you is, who are you going with and what are you hoping to get out of this tasting? Are you with a group of novice and simply want a good overall experience, or you are going for the view and relaxing vibe of wine country? Are you looking to discover new, or underrated wineries that you will love, or you need to impress your guest with the biggest name Napa has to offer? My list below is organized by what you are looking to get out of the visit, so here we go!
I’m a novice, I just want to sample a few wineries
Domaine Chandon – especially for the new wine drinker, a whole day of heavy Cabernet Sauvignon could really set in that palate fatigue, Domaine Chandon offers sparkling wines to help bring in some varieties in the sea of super high tannin, massive Cabernet. The winery is centrally located, easy to get to and has a beautiful mushroom (made out of stones) garden and a modern glass tasting room
They don’t require reservation for party smaller than 10 people.
Basic tasting starts at $20 and go up to $55.00 per person for hosted tasting.
Website - http://www.chandon.com/
Inglenook (Formally Francis Coppola) – It’s a winery and a museum! This historic winery (est 1879) was purchased by Francis Coppola in 1975, and he spent the last 40 years reuniting the original vineyards and restoring the chateau. It was reopened in 1997 to the public and in 2011, In honor of this estate and its historical significance, they restored the name Inglenook to the winery.
For their basic Heritage tasting reservation is not required, all other tasting must be reserved in advance.
$45 for the Heritage Tasting and up to $125 for their library tasting and tours
Website - https://www.inglenook.com/
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars– Not to be confused with Stags’ Leap Winery, Stag’s Leap made its name by when a bottle of 1973 S.L.V Cabernet Sauvignon won the now famous 1976 Paris tasting. Besides the legendary wines, the winery also offers cave tour, beautiful scenery and a wide array of different tasting for novice to experts alike. Highly recommended!
Reservation is required for most of their tasting, but you can walk in for their Estate Collection Tasting Flight if you have less than 5 people in your party
$45 for the Estate Collection Tasting Flight to $175 for the lunch and wine pairing experience.
Website - https://www.cask23.com/
I want Spectacular view!
Castello di Amarosa – I almost feel like I don’t need to mention this winery as many people already know about it and the winery does such a great job through marketing and word of mouth it’s a must go for most people despite its location (way up north in St Helena) The entire winery is modeled after a Italian style castle, in fact, every piece of stone used to build the castle was imported from Italy! It’s quite a sight to see! You can spend quite a bit of time discovering and taking photos while sipping on wine feeling like you are transformed to Italy!
They don’t require reservation for party smaller than 14 people
Basic tasting starts at $30 and go up to $95.00+ per person for their Royal Food and Wine Tour. Please note they also charge $20 admission for kids 2~20 years old and they will be offered non-alcoholic grape juice.
Website - https://castellodiamorosa.com/
Sterling Vineyards – Now Talk about one of the best views out of all of Napa Valley! Sterling Vineyards have a unique aerial tram that takes their guests to the top of the mountain for a spectacular view of the valley. The tram ride is included in the price of any of their tastings, and if you are visiting with kids, they get to ride on it for free!
Reservations not required for their basic tasting, but I ALWAYS recommend getting one anyways!
Basic tasting and tour starts at $35, and get up to $75 for their platinum experience which is a one hour food and wine pairing tasting.
Website - https://www.sterlingvineyards.com/
Cade Winery – Tucked away from the busy main road and located on the top of Howell Mountain, Cade winery is perfect for those who wants to relax and be away from the “touristy” stuff. You can sit in the comfortable patio sofa and just take in the view of the valley below. The building itself is clean, modern and beautiful, the wines are solid and worth collecting. It will take you some extra time to get up there, but the view is well worth it.
Tasting and tour by appointments only
$80 per person
Website - https://www.cadewinery.com/
I like wineries with history that taste good!
Heitz Cellars – They were one of the participating wineries of the famous Judgement of 1967, their Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet is one of the most iconic Napa Valley wine with distinctive and delicious taste. They also make a super geeky wine “grignolino”, a native Italian red grape varietal that’s hardly found anywhere in the world!
For part of 6 of less reservation is not required but highly recommended since their tasting room is relatively small. Must reserve for party of 6-12 and they do not accept party larger than 12 people.
$35 for the basic tasting and $75 for high end tasting. However, if you can go visit between Tuesday – Thursday the tasting is complimentary!
Website - https://www.heitzcellar.com/
Freemark Abbey – Established in 1886, Freemark Abbey is one of the oldest wineries in Napa, and one of the first to give vineyard designate to their wines (Bosche and Sycamore vineyard). They are also one of the wineries that be included in the Judgement of 1967. Furthermore, the recent remodeling of the winery added a restaurant (Two Bird One Stone) and updated their tasting rooms, which really add to the overall experience. Lastly, they do have a good inventory of older vintages for customers to purchase, for those of you who might be looking for wines from a particular year.
Tasting starts at $35 per person to $225 per person for their decades library tasting
Website - https://www.freemarkabbey.com/
Robert Mondavi – Known as the father of Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi is a must visit staple of Napa Valley. The winery itself is quite an institution, offering multiple kinds of tasting, tours and food and wine pairings. They are equipped to host large group and can host it in Mandarin, Cantonese, French or Spanish! They have wines ranged from $25 easy drinking Moscato to their $300 per bottle To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet, there is truly something for everyone in this winery!
Tasting starts at $25 and goes up to $375 four decades dinner and wine experience in their vineyard room
Website - https://www.robertmondaviwinery.com
I need to impress my guest!
Opus One – The winery that needs no introduction. Amazing international acclaims and stunning architecture is guaranteed to impress. It does come with a price, a very high price for their tasting, so be prepared for it!
Reservation is a must for party of 7 or more, or if you would like to tasting with tour.
$50 for one glass, 4oz pour of their current release in their tasting room, $85 for their tasting + tour, $140 for their library tasting and tour (you get 2 vintages of Opus One instead of 1)
Website - https://www.opusonewinery.com/
Chateau Montelena – The Chardonnay that won against the best from Burgundy and put California on the map as a premier wine region in 1976 was none other than the Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena. If that isn’t wow enough for you, how about the stone building made in 1888 that resembles an English Gothic castle? Don’t forget to take a walk outside by the pond and check out the Asian inspired bridge as well.
Reservation is not required for their current release tasting at $30 per person. All other tastings are by appointments only.
From $30 for the walk in current release tasting to $95 for the Barrett Dream semi private tour and seated tasting
Website - https://montelena.com
Promontory – Created by Bill Harlan and opened in 2017. This sister winery might just be the closest thing to Harlan for people to go and taste. They only do small group private tour and tasting and it’s by appointments only. The venue is modern and beautiful, and they serve you a glass of Dom Perignon as soon as you arrive. Of course, with VIP treatment like you, you better be ready to fork out $200 per person for this experience!
Private tasting and tour by appointments only, they are usually booked 4~6 weeks out so plan ahead for your visit! Tastings are for intimate groups of 5 or less.
$200 per person includes tour, Dom Perignon Champagne to start, barrel tasting and 2 vintages of Promontory.
--------------- Chinese ---------------------
Domaine Chandon – 特別是對於剛開始接觸葡萄酒的人來說，一整天沉浸在厚實的卡本內蘇維濃裡可能會讓味蕾感到相當疲乏。Domaine Chandon會提供一些氣泡酒，讓你不會被高單寧的厚重卡本內蘇維濃給淹沒。酒莊的地理位置在納帕中心，非常容易到達，園內有漂亮的（石製）蘑菇花園，以及現代感十足的玻璃品酒室。
Inglenook（前身為Francis Coppola） – 這不僅是個酒莊，還是個博物館！這座歷史悠久的酒莊（建於1879年）在1975被Francis Coppola收購，而他花了40年統合原有的葡萄園並重建酒堡。酒莊在1997年重新向大眾開放。為了紀念這座莊園以及其歷史重要性，酒莊在2011年重新啟用了Inglenook原名。
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars – 這間酒莊的名字很容易和Stags’ Leap Winery混淆，但他們早就在當今聞名的1976年巴黎品酒會上，以1973年釀製的S.L.V卡本內蘇維濃這款酒贏得了這個名字。除了深具傳奇性的酒款外，這座酒莊也有洞穴導覽和美麗的景緻，還有能滿足新手和專家的各類好酒。真心推薦！
大部分的品飲都需要預約，但如果參訪人數不到5人，可以直接參加Estate Collection Tasting Flight方案。
Estate Collection Tasting Flight品飲價格為$45；午餐＋品飲價格為$175。
Castello di Amarosa – 我認為應該不用多提這座酒莊，因為超多人本來就知道它，而且酒莊本身的行銷和眾人的推薦也都已經很多了。簡單解釋，這處酒莊對大部分的人來說都是必去景點，雖然位置不太好（太北方而在St Helena）。整座酒莊都以義式風格城堡為藍圖，事實上，用來建造城堡的每一塊石頭都是從義大利進口的！這真的是個值得一遊的景觀！你可以花上不少時間探索、拍照，同時啜飲著好酒，感覺就像已經來到了義大利！
基本品酒價格$30起，另外還可選擇一人$95.00+的美食＆好酒巡禮（Royal Food and Wine Tour）。請留意2~20歲的參訪人需支付$20入場費，而酒莊會提供無酒精的葡萄汁。
Sterling Vineyards – 接下來讓我們來談談擁有納帕谷最美景致的其中一處酒莊！Sterling Vineyards備有獨特的空中纜車，能夠讓參訪者到山頂欣賞整座山谷的壯麗風光。任何的品飲皆已包含纜車票價，如果和孩童一起出遊，那麼孩子們可以免費搭乘！
Cade Winery – 避開繁忙的主要道路、位於豪威爾山（Howell Mountain）的Cade winery，是想來趟放鬆而遠離「旅遊觀光」之旅的首選。你可以坐在舒適的沙發上，放空地將山谷景致一覽無遺。酒莊建築本身相當整潔、現代化且漂亮，他們的酒款整體而言非常平衡，很適合收藏。上山需要花些時間，但景色絕對值回票價。
Heitz Cellars – 他們是參與著名的1976年巴黎品酒會的其中一個酒莊，而他們Martha’s葡萄園所釀造出來的卡本內蘇維濃，以獨特而美味的口感躋身為納帕谷的代表酒款之一。酒莊也有釀造超級奇特的「grignolino」葡萄酒，它是種義大利原生紅葡萄品種，但在全世界都很難找到！
Freemark Abbey – 於1886年建造的Freemark Abbey是納帕地區歷史最悠久的酒莊之一，也是最早採用指定葡萄園（Bosche以及Sycamore葡萄園）釀酒的酒莊之一。他們同時還是入圍1976年巴黎品酒會的其中一個酒莊。除此之外，酒莊最近改建增設了餐廳（Two Bird One Stone）並更新了品酒間，讓參訪者能獲得整體體驗。最後，他們真的擁有很棒的老酒庫存可供購買，如果你想找某個特定年份酒款，千萬別錯過。
Robert Mondavi – 有納帕谷之父稱號的Robert Mondavi絕對是這個區域的必遊酒莊。酒莊本身機能相當健全，提供多種類別的品飲、導覽行程以及美食饗宴。他們能夠接待大團，而且可以選擇中文、廣東話、法文或是西班牙文！酒莊的酒款跨度很大，從$25容易入口的蜜思嘉（Moscato）到每瓶$300的To Kalon Vineyard卡本內蘇維濃都有，每個人都能在酒莊找到自己想要的酒款！
Opus One – 不需要更多著墨的酒莊！全球聞名的讚譽和驚艷的建築絕對能讓人印象深刻。不過凡事皆有代價，酒莊的品飲價格非常高，所以請做好準備！
$50可飲用一杯4盎司的目前販售酒款，品飲＋導覽價為 $85，陳年窖藏＋導覽價則為$140（此方案包含兩個年份的Opus One）
Chateau Montelena – 在1976年巴黎品酒會上贏過最好的勃根地，為加州夏多內（Chardonnay）打響名號，絕對不能不提到Chateau Montelena。如果這還不夠讓你驚嘆，那麼再聽聽這個～於1888年建造的石造建築，形似於英國哥德式城堡。別忘了到酒莊外的池畔邊走走，順便欣賞亞洲風格的小橋。
Promontory – 由Bill Harlan建立並在2017年開啟事業。這座姊妹酒莊大概是人們可以找到、品嚐到最接近Harlan的了。他們只提供小團體的私人導覽以及品飲，並採預約制。場地現代化而美麗，並且會在你們抵達時盡快奉上一杯Dom Perignon。當然，要享有這樣的VIP禮遇，每個人最好先準備好拿出$200以獲得極致體驗！