As a huge wine country lover, I try to visit as much as I can. As a result, in the four and half years I’ve lived in San Francisco, I have discovered some of my favorite Wineries to visit and to recommend. If you’re looking to see more than just Napa, here are my Top 10 Sonoma Wineries, Top 10 Paso Robles Wineries, Top 10 Lompoc Tasting Rooms, Top 10 Anderson Valley Wineries & Restaurants and Top 10 Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara) Wineries.
To me, a few things make a winery special:
First, the wine. I obviously must like the wine, or I won’t return.
Second, the people and team behind the Winery. No matter how good wine is, if the wine maker or team sharing the wine with you aren’t wonderful, it’s pretty hard to want to return.
Third, the story of the brand and or wine maker’s family. I love hearing how a family got into the wine business or why a particular winery specializes in one wine vs. another.
Lastly, a smaller intimate feeling. I prefer not to visit wineries with large tour buses of people visiting. However, that’s not to say I won’t fall in love with a large winery, but, simply, that I try to find the smaller, more unique ones – like a Boutique Hotel.
Below is a running list of Top 10 Napa Valley Wineries I adore. This will be like the Eater 38 list which changes frequently. So visit often as I’ll be updating it with whichever new favorite spot I’ve discovered! Click on the link next to each wineries name to read more about the Winery. Note: there is no particular order here, just a list of my favorite Napa Valley Wineries.
One of the more recent wineries welcomed to Calistoga is Davis Estates. This was designed by adored Architect Howard Backen and has an on site Chef, as well as a historic barn that was original to the property! Backen and The Davis Family (the Winery owners) kept the barn on site which was the inspiration for the new winery style and design. Read more about Davis Estates here. 4060 Silverado Trail N, Calistoga, CA 94515
Opus One Napa Valley
As one of the most historic, well-known wineries in Napa is Opus One, and it honestly does not need an introduction. I have to say, I feel privileged to have been able to visit and experience a behind-the-scenes tour – typically press are not hosted to Opus One. If you’re curious about this spectacular winery and all that I saw on my tour, read more about Opus One Napa Valley here. 7900 St. Helena Highway, Oakville, CA 94562.
Covert Estate is best described as a hidden gem. The project is led by Winemaker Julien Fayard and his wife, Elain. Julien is quite a legend in Napa as he is also a consulting winemaker for various labels. The Covert Tasting room is fairly new and beyond beautiful. With an incredible design decor, delicious wines, and a lovely team, this is a spot not to be missed. 15 Chateau Ln, Napa, CA 94558
Matthiasson is one of the most picturesque Napa Wineries. It is family run and led by Steve and Jill Matthiasson. Known as a legend in California’s Wine Country, Steve is amazing, and it was such a treat visiting him and Jill at their winery. See more about the winery and my entire visit to Matthiasson Vineyard here. 4700 Linda Vista Ave, Napa, CA 94558
Winemaker Steve Matthiasson welcoming the group to his vineyard, which is also where their family home is (behind Steve).
The line up of incredible Matthiasson Wines I enjoyed during my visit to their vineyard.
Jill & Steve Matthiasson
St. Supery is a fabulous winery for both Napa newcomers and those returning pros. They have extensive options in terms of tastings, I recommend the more curated upstairs tasting which is led by a guide and usually includes a food and wine pairing. I was fortunate enough to also visit St. Supery and participate in their harvest so learned a ton about this winery during that experience. Follow along on my St. Supery Harvest experience here or read about their various tastings and my recommendations at St. Supery here. 8440 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford CA. 94573.
For those of you who adore Howell Mountain Cabernet (me) and beautiful stunning Wineries – Cade Winery is a must see. Located on Top of Howell Mountain, this winery has some of the most incredible views in the valley, plus, their wines are divine. Read more about Cade Winery here, I promise that you will adore this gem and never want to leave. 360 Howell Mountain Rd, Angwin, CA 94508
Caymus Vineyards is another legendary Napa Winery. Known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, and also family run, this is one of the most intimate knowledgeable wine tastings I have ever had. I visited with friends who bought as much wine as they could take back on the plane with them. Be sure to plan for some extra time relaxing in the gorgeous gardens here as you will want to buy a bottle of wine and hang out after your visit. Read about my entire visit to Caymus Vineyards here. 8700 Conn Creek Road, Rutherford CA. 94573.
Duckhorn Winery is an adored winery which really is a staple for any Napa Wine Country visit. Located in St. Helena on the Silverado Trail, Duckhorn is great for both a wine tasting, and/or a tasting and food pairing. Their gardens are absolutely gorgeous so be sure to plan for a visit long enough to enjoy the wines, food, and beautiful scenery. For details on my entire visit and the incredible food and wine pairing, read more about Duckhorn Winery here. 11000 Lodi Ln, St Helena, CA 94574
Another family run Napa Winery I adore is Turnbull. It’s located in Oakville, literally down the street from Oakville Grocery (one of the best spots in Napa to grab a casual bite or picnic). Read more about Oakville Grocery here. A visit to Turnbull is lovely, not only because of the beautiful setting and incredible wines, but because of the people. They truly make the experience like no other. Read more about Turnbull and my fabulous Turnbull Wine Cellars here. 8210 St Helena Hwy, Oakville, CA 94562