10 “Must See” Wineries to Visit in Napa Valley

Napa Valley is renown for its world-class wines, breath taking panoramic views, and sense of elegance and escape from reality. When planning your next trip to the beautiful Napa Valley, don’t be overwhelmed with the hundreds of winery choices across the county. We’ve selected 10 of the many quality and unique wineries in Napa Valley. Whether it’s the architecture, ambiance, gardens, history, or art that draws you to these wineries, they’re all unique in their own way.

The Kuleto Estate Winery

2470 Sage Canyon Road
St Helena, CA 94574
Phone: (707) 963-4859

This winery estate offers tours by reservation only, however, the formality involved is worth the chance to taste the premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Zinfandel that Kuleto offers as their primary wine selection. Pat Kuleto, owner of the estate, is also responsible for many of the Bay Area’s best restaurants.

The Beaulieu Vineyard

1960 St. Helena Highway
Rutherford, CA 94573
Phone: (707) 967-5200

This vineyard was historically innovative in the wine and vineyard industry; Beaulieu made waves by introducing the oak barrel aging process. Beaulieu is constantly updating their Napa Valley events, always eager to keep wine aficionados interested in both the product, and the process.

The Hess Collection

4411 Redwood Road
Napa, CA 94558-9708
Phone: (707) 255-1144

The Hess Collection Winery stands out amongst other Napa vineyards as an opulent jewel, not only for its superior product, but for its unconventional attraction. Not only can you tour, taste, and enjoy the Hess Estate, but you can also experience the art gallery located on the estate as well.

Domaine Chandon

1 California Dr
Yountville, CA 94599-1426
Phone: (707) 944-2892

Domaine Chandon is known most affluently for its sparkling wines and champagne; a favorite of this writer and many other wine aficionados, are its sparkling Rose variety. Chandon’s restaurant, étoile, is nationally acclaimed and the winner of the Best of Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator in August 2009, among many other accolades.

Pine Ridge Winery

5901 Silverado Trail
Napa CA 94558
Phone: (707) 253-7500

This Napa Valley winery focuses on Sustainable Farming in order to develop a superior product. The winery offers tours that begin in the vineyard, travels through the wine production facilities and aging caves, and ends a private cellar for a seated wine and cheese pairing.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

200 Taplin Road
Saint Helena, CA 94574-9544
Phone: (707) 967-9153

Just a bit beyond the usual Napa and Sonoma wine tours, you’ll find the secluded winery and estate of Joseph Phelps, one of the few vineyard owners who still believes in the intimacy involved in the wine making process. Phelps personally oversees and manages the product of his efforts.

Sterling Vineyards

1111 Dunaweal Lane
Calistoga, CA 94515
(800) 726-6136

Sterling Vineyards features the only aerial tram in Napa Valley. Enjoy the unbelievable view from above followed by a tasting and a self-guided tour of the art gallery and the winery.

Clos Pegase

1060 Dunaweal Lane
Calistoga, CA 94515
Phone: (707) 942-4981

This stunning winery combines wine with art and architecture. Clos Pegase offers daily tours and tastings. Purchase cheese in their Visitor’s Center and enjoy a bottle of your favorite Clos Pegase wine in their picnic area shaded by a 300 year old Oak Tree.

The Robert Mondavi Winery

7801 St. Helena Highway
Oakville, CA 94562
Phone: (707) 226-1395

Once you’ve had your fill of secluded California winery estates, and retro-Italian architecture, the Spanish-Mission style Robert Mondavi Winery and Estate awaits. The winery is host to a variety of events such as concerts, art exhibits, and their regular tasting tours.

The Rubicon Winery

1991 Saint Helena Highway
Rutherford, CA 94573
Phone: (707) 963-9099

This estate has its claim to fame by its former name, the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery; it was owned by the filmmaker Francis Ford-Coppola. Under Coppola’s high standards and superior technique, the vineyards were reunited, and the chateau that overlooked its expansive valleys for almost two centuries is once again part of its legendary wine making process. Rubicon is diamond in the crown of Napa Valley wineries.


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33 Responses to “10 “Must See” Wineries to Visit in Napa Valley”

  1. jhon stive says:

    This is really awesome view, each & every place are looks so amazing.
    Nice sharing photos.
    Used Smart Cars

  2. Great blog with awesome pictures. I'm leaving Friday for Napa and planning to visit a couple of these wineries. Hoping to come back with some great HD Video for my wine blog.

  3. David Topper says:

    “Whether it’s the architecture, ambiance, gardens, history, or art that draws you to these wineries, they’re all unique in their own way.” – I really had to laugh out loud when I read this sentence. Guess what's missing?

  4. Thehulas says:

    Do any of these wineries have restaurants for a Saturday eve dinner?

  5. Gina says:

    Domaine Chandon is the only one. They have a restaurant named, “Etoile,” that has received a Michelin star. Etoile is open for dinner from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thurs – Monday.

  6. Love your recommendations, you have got 7 of my 10 favorites.u00a0nYou can get wine tasting passes to these wineries and 75 others on our iPhone App called ‘Tasting Pass Finder’u00a0http://www.econcierges.comu00a0Just flash the App & SAVE!!nnps. quick update to your article, Rubicon Estate is soon changing its name to Inglenook Wineryu00a0http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/2011/04/12/coppola-reclaims-the-inglenook-name/

  7. Jshepp9968 says:

    agree with all but Duckhead and Cakebread are also very good.

  8. Sndred says:

    I just got back from Napa/Sonoma and I only hit one of these vinyards above.u00a0 There are so many and so little time.u00a0 I can’t wait to go back.u00a0 Artesa is really cool too if you like modern.

  9. Shawnadsitt says:

    Duckhead or Duckhorn?

  10. Mark Mcquade says:

    My wife and I are coming to Napa & San Fran for our 20th anniversary,and we will only be there for 3 days. Which of these 10 can we see in just 3 days & which of these 10 are the “must see” wineriesif we could only see a few??

  11. gina says:

    Hi Mark, that depends on where you’ll be staying in Napa and how much time you’d like to set aside for winery visits. Depending on many factors (including the day of the week) a public tasting can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. These wineries spread across multiple appellations. It also depends on whether you think you’d like to stop by for a public tasting or take more time to make an appointment for a special tasting or tour. Special tastings & tours average about 1.5 hours. Kuleto and Joseph Phelps are only open by appointment.

  12. xxChristyxx says:

    you can probably visit all 10 if you are in and out of them and ready to feel “happy”, I was there on sunday and toured 4 of them. Definetly go to the Robert Mondavi and try the reserved wine, best one I had all day.

  13. Lhazen says:

    Vincent Arroyo!u00a0 such a great casual informative place.

  14. Mary says:

    Rubicon is very good…must taste their signature wine. u00a0Plumpjack was by far my favorite and fun. u00a0Pride is excellent and you taste from the barrel. u00a0Joseph Phelps is beautiful. u00a0

  15. Tyson says:

    Is it okay to take children 11, 13 and 16 years old on these tours?u00a0 I assume that even if they are “allowed” to go the tour is completely adult centered?

  16. Lexistar2323 says:

    Sterling Vineyards is a family friendly winery. We went last summer and they kids loved it!

  17. Omurad25 says:

    wine ?

  18. Ballfan18 says:

    Leave your kids at home. This is a wine tasting, not Disneyland. Your kids will be running around, disturbing other people because they are bored. If you want to do a vacation with your kids, take them to Knott’s Berry Farm or on a Disney cruise.

  19. jerijbobelli says:

    These Wine vineyard estates ouru00a0 proven signature and a high standard for wines and inventory fromu00a0 Northern California wineries industry an better yet the world .u00a0 The state of Californiau00a0 Flight of wines and wineries are vast wide variety with Architecture ofu00a0 art designs, theiru00a0 landscape, their homes are consider land marks in the wine industry.nThey all have help set the standards to rise above the just being better but to be the best than the rest with criticizers and useless remarks . These are the best scenic wine estates any where in all the states right here in our back yard of Norther Californiau00a0 and in the world, their selection of beautiful great testing wines and great wine makers facilities, with their history of making great wines they our untouched without questions we applaud them all.nnThese 10 {ten} are some of the very best in the world.

  20. Mike says:

    Artesa is awesome.

  21. Biff says:

    Booooooo. tourist list. Just get some advice from folks who work here. They know best!

  22. Ali says:

    Being a native Californian, who goes back to Napa as often as I can, there are certainly some wineries missing from this list.u00a0 For champagne lovers,u00a0Domaine Carneros (Taittenger)u00a0was a winery we visited as a morning stop, which was absolutely stunning.u00a0 Frog’s Leap, with incredible wines, an all “green” house and organic-oriented grounds and winemaking is another great stop–and the tour is one to take (now they also have “stop-by’ tastings.u00a0 Freemark Abbey, St. Superyu00a0and Merryvale (Starmont) are also great stops for a really nice tasting with great wines in a friendly atmostphere (I don’t takeu00a0tours at these).u00a0 In my upcoming trip, I am taking the Del Dotto cave tour, which I understand to be absolutely fabulous.u00a0 Although I may try to worku00a0a couple of the above into my itinerary (I like to tryp one or two new vineyards each time I go), I can vouch for the ones I have listed as being consistent every time I visit them, so I always find time for them.u00a0 I wanted to provide this information to folks who have time inbetween appointments to know which stops will not disappoint.u00a0nnI would also like to note a couple of other wineries:nDuckhorn–beautiful but expensive for a sit-down tasting (love their wine)nSterling–expensive to take the tram up and, with that, you are kind of stuck there for a whileu00a0(also not a huge fan of their wine)nRaymond-Nice, friendly, great wine–very simplenHall- same as RaymondnPeju-same as Raymond and HallnStag’s Leap-Love the wine, however, when we visited the staff was not very freiendly–or attentive (and we were there mid-week!)nDel Dotto – not the Atlas peak location – the music was overwhelmingly loud opera, so we did not stay.nn

  23. Anonymous says:

    Napa has been selected one of our top 10 U.S. retirement locations for 2013 partially because of its wineries.nnnhttp://retirementandgoodliving.com/napa/n

  24. Carol (Simplywine) says:

    Most of these are a little too touristy for me (I’ve been to over half of these wineries) and would not be on my top 10 list. Pride Mountain Vineyards is my #1, Chappellet Winery is #2 and Hendry #3. You can keep Joseph Phelps on the list and add Vincent Arroyo, Zahtila, Robert Keenan, Spottswoode, Chateau Boswell, Truchard and Jax Vineyard.

  25. Darren Leggett says:

    excellent info…TY!!

  26. Philip Von Wrede says:

    This was a great article. Another great resource is http://www.ultimatewineries.com

  27. chip says:

    has anyone done a tour of the venge vineyard…. is it good

  28. Robert in SF says:

    Hess is rude an waste of time!!!

  29. Steve says:

    Hi Carol. Are you are “Red” or “White” wine fan? My wife and I are primarily red, and enjoy the more bold and robust ones …. We live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and get Pinot’d out ….

  30. Chris Fletcher says:

    Are there any wine events/locations with entertainment?

  31. celticbowman says:

    Mark, I highly recommend Hall, Pride, Cade, and Chappellet. All of them are beautiful and each offers something different. Their wines are fantastic and if you have time to sample some fresh olive oil and wine try Round Pound. You will not be disappointed in any of these.

  32. celticbowman says:

    Hall is a must….

  33. celticbowman says:

    I avoid this place at all costs. Their wines lack the personal touch of the smaller wineries.

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