One of the joys of wine tasting in Napa Valley is the exclusive nature of many of the wineries. Estates roll out the red carpets for their guests, and especially if you’re a VIP, getting insiders’ tours and special tastings make truly memorable experiences.
One of the best ways to get on that VIP list is to work with a professional concierge company like Napa Wine Tours. Your small group of six to eight guests will enjoy preferred access to a variety of coveted wineries, and don’t be surprised if your visit includes a meet-and-greet with the winemakers themselves.
With the Captivating Cabernet Private Tour, for example, you’ll delight into backstage looks at three extremely popular destinations, a catered lunch, and of course, plenty of world-class wines.
Here’s a snapshot of just one of the superb wineries you’ll visit:
Founded in 1964, Sterling Vineyards is one of Napa Valley’s legendary properties, perched 300 feet above the town of Calistoga. Famous for its Cabernet Sauvignons, it also was one of the first Napa area vineyard operations to plant Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.
Construction began on the winery in 1971, as a dramatic, Mediterranean-style white stucco complex, inspired by the structures on the Greek island of Mykonos. It took a year to build-out, and now stands as a brilliant monument against the Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges.
Over the years, the winery has added Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Shiraz to its portfolio, expanding to its current collection of ten vineyard estates.
Today, Sterling is famous for its aerial tram that carries visitors up the hill to the winery, for panoramic views of Napa Valley.
Take note of the winery towers, hung with eight ancient bells from London’s Church of St. Dunstan’s-in-the-East, originally founded in the 10th century. The rich tolling sounds through the Valley on the quarter hour; you’ll certainly hear them as you stroll the walkways and balconies around the winemaking facilities.
Finally, you’ll relax on the graceful outdoor terraces or in the elegant salon, for your guided tasting of top Napa Valley wines.
Details: 1111 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga, 800-726-6136, http://sterlingvineyards.com