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 national park is the preserved home of one of the United States' most famous naturalists and conservationists, John Muir. Muir, who passed away in 1914, founded the Sierra Club and is considered the father of the National Parks system. The site consists of Muir's 17-room Victorian mansion and surrounding fruit ranch, his gravesite, the Martinez Adobe, and the recently added Mount Wanda area that features the John Muir Nature Trail. Take the self-guided tour of the grounds. There are special events around Christmas and on John Muir's birthday, April 21.
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.
Robert Mondavi is one of the most renowned vintners in Napa County, producing affordable and complex wines. The Robert Mondavi Winery offers several tasting tours varying in depth and price. The Taste of Wine is a two-hour formal tasting dedicated to training your palate as well as learning about various wine characteristics. Reservations are required all tours and tastings. In addition, the winery hosts countless concerts, art exhibits and community events. Visit the website for details on tours, tastings and events.
Take an unforgettable hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley. A typical adventure includes an hour-long balloon ride with your pilot narrating the sights, followed by a garden champagne-brunch. Launches begin at sunrise. Enjoy incredible aerial views of Napa vineyards. Rates vary, call for details.
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.
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.
Hop on to a motorized trolley that looks like a San Francisco cable car and get ready for fun. The Napa Valley Wine Trolley is a six hour tour that takes you to four wineries where you can taste the different batches as well as provides a catered lunch. As you ride on this open-air trolley you'll have a great view of your surroundings and your friendly guide will be sure to point out all the interesting sites. Get ready to learn about the history of the valley and, more importantly, learn about wine.
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.