If you want wine made out of your choice of grapes in small quantities—like maybe just a barrel, then Judd's Hill is the place you need to visit. The winery is owned and managed by Finkelstein family on the principle of 'small is beautiful.' They are quite happy to make wines on a made-to-order basis and according to customer specifications. They have a wine club where members have additional benefits and are invited to Judd's Hill events in Napa Valley. A combination of art, heritage, finest grapes and hand crafted wines is what Judd's Hill is all about. Picturesque and sunny, a visit to this winery is a great way to spend a lovely afternoon.
This is considered by many to be the most beautiful 18th-century chateau in North America. The chateau also has one of the most prominent vineyards. Domaine Carneros produces award winning sparking and Pinot Noir wines. You'll feel just like a king in the Louis XV-style salon with gracious service to match. Snuggle up to a warm fire during the cold winter months or enjoy the summer air from the terrace. Check out the in-house store, where you can pick up a number of vintages for friends and family. The tasting tours are offered daily.
Founded in 1973 by former photographer Jack Cakebread, this winery has produced a plethora of award-winning vintages. The winery produces 85,000 cases annually and is best known for its classic rich Rutherford Cabernets, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The entire family is involved with the winery operation, which includes promoting healthy food. The Cakebreads founded the American Harvest Workshop, an annual four-day event that promotes local agriculture and involves chefs, winemakers and farmers. The family also sells organic produce grown on winery grounds when available. Tours and tastings are by prior appointment only.
If you want to taste some of the best wines, then a visit to Del Dotto Vineyards in Napa Valley is a must. Del Dotto Vineyards is a family-owned business and has been functional for more than ten years. The selling point of this winery is that it is the only place that bottles wine right out of barrels. The barrels here are housed inside the caves which gives a mystical touch to the wine touring and tasting experience. The caves here are tiled with marble and are a great place to taste the rich wines produced here.
The CIA's (Culinary Institute of America) West Coast campus resides in the former home of the Christian Brothers winery—an imposing three-story building over a hundred years old. This is a masters-level training center for working, certified chefs. Visitors can take part in cooking demonstrations and sample the chef's creation. Visit the website for demonstration times and days. CIA's Campus Store stocks an impressive supply of cookware and cookbooks for the serious cook. You may also want to dine at the campus Wine Spectator Greystone restaurant—the view of St. Helena from the terrace is grand.
A picnic ground and trailhead at the base of the hill lead to steep trails up to the boulder-strewn valley rim. Hikers and horse riders to the Skyline Wilderness Park are greeted with pretty views of the valley and a respite from the wine-soaked tourist crush of the valley floor. Some moderate degree of cardiovascular fitness is advisable before setting off.
Etude Wines specializes in two classic reds – Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. They firmly adhere to sustainable farming and care is taken in every stage of wine making to ensure the ecological balance is not harmed in any way. Even wild animals have been given a safe passage between the vines. Ripe and ready-to-be-picked grapes are protected from hungry starlings by a falconer and a team of trained falcons. This is a lovely place to spend a day learning about wine and tasting some of the best wines in the Napa Valley. On weekdays you need to call ahead for a tour of the estate or just walk in if it's a Saturday.
The Saintsbury Winery was named after George Saintsbury, a British man of letters and wine connoisseur. It has come a long way since it was founded in 1981—in the last few decades it has accelerated its turn-out from 3000 cases to over 55,000! It specializes in the making of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and turns out select varietals of the latter occasionally.
Truchard Vineyard is a small wine-making estate that uses traditional approach to produce delicious wines. The field holds 270 acres (109 hectares) of planted area, where ten different varieties of grapes are produced. Truchard's wines, particularly from the 1994, 1996 and 1997 vintages, are a great hit among one and all. The cellar here boasts of 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon that hold a unique fruity tinge to their taste.
Madonna Estate wines is owned by the Bartolucci family, the third oldest wine making family in the Napa Valley. Situated in the well-known Carneros Region, the Bartoluccis make sure that only the best organically grown grapes are used for their wines. For four generations, the family has been providing wines of the richest flavor. Now with a new label design and fresh distribution arrangements they hope to do more. You're in for a treat, as wines range from the versatile Pinot Grigio to the Pinot Noir and the intensely flavored Chardonnay to the Dolcetto, the latest addition to the wine family that comes in raspberry and cranberry fruit flavors.