Having grown up in California, I’ve spent a LOT of time up in Napa Valley. It’s one of the reasons why I started WineClubs.net actually. Most weekends, my friends and I would drive up from the Bay Area and spend the weekend drinking great wine and meeting cool people. Over the years, in the quest to find the best Napa Valley wineries, we visited over 100 different wineries in and around Napa Valley and wish we could have hit them all, but considering there’s over 400 in Napa Valley alone, that right there is a lifetime mission!
Now, if you’ve never been to Napa Valley, then the first thing you need to know is that it’s one of the world’s premier viticultural regions. Aside from their famous vineyard history, Napa Valley is also well known for having top-rated chefs, extravagant resorts, lots of great bed and breakfast accommodations, and last but not the least, hot air balloons for those who would love to see all the great vineyards from above.
The 10 Best Wineries in Napa Valley
So without further ado, here are the Top 10 Best Napa Valley Wineries, based on my own personal experiences over a 20 year stretch.
Beringer is one of the largest and oldest wineries in Napa Valley as it’s been around for over for one hundred and eighty-four (184) years. The winery is one of Napa Valley’s finest producers of wine and best known for being the longest, continuously operating winery in all of Napa Valley.
At 1884 Fieldsome Rhine House, the 17 room mansion with Victorian architecture, holds one of the greatest tasting rooms I’ve ever seen and is the landmark of Napa Valley.
For wine tasting, you can get by on $25 in the old winery tasting room. If you opt for the cave tour and historic tunnels, you’ll have to spend a little bit more: $30. Rhine House has a reserve tasting bar where you get to choose 3 kinds of wine, from the award-winning down to small case production wines for only $40. The estate also has what they call the “Taste of Beringer Tour” for $55. You’ll get to experience winemaking and culinary arts history. If you are a club member, for just $60 you’ll get a private tasting, which I highly recommend. There’s another offer for about $75, in which you’ll get to experience the Rhine House private seated tasting paired with artisan cheese. It’s a bit on the expensive side compared to the other two tasting ($125), but you’ll love tasting the most iconic wines they have, from 2000 vintage up to new release and a $195 for their exquisite library lunch.
Learn more at https://www.beringer.com/
Your LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-Certified winery. Aside from having a panoramic view of the Napa Valley, it is also an environmental-friendly vineyard. Using only organic materials as natural cultivation is their main priority.
For those who are wine lovers, Cade Estate is a must-see place. They also held private events with custom menus paired with their full portfolio of wines.
For wine tasting experience, you need to book an appointment. They are open from 10 am to 4 pm, seven days week. Tour tasting fee is under $80 (per person) for parties up to 6 guests. $125 (per person) if there are 7 or more person attending as a group.
Learn more at https://www.cadewinery.com/
In 1970, Caymus was Napa’s first “Cult Cabernets”. In 1972, it became the first vintage Sauvignon Cabernet or well-known as the most widely recognized red wine grape variety around the world. In 1975, Caymus released its first special edition of Sauvignon.
Their wines are superb having named by the Wine Spectator Magazine as “Wine of the year” twice during 1984 and 1990. That’s quality at its finest.
If you want to visit and try their best wines, $40 for the all-around tour and $25 for wine tasting. But if you’ll buy 3 bottles, wine tasting fee will be free. If you plan to bring 6 or more, you must make a reservation in advance and this will be $50 per person.
Learn more at https://www.caymus.com/
Kronos Vineyard is one of the last old Cabernet vineyards in Napa. Cathy Corison, the owner, produced wines that had power and elegance.
Corison was also widely recognized for its consistency and longevity. The secret for its great tastes is in the way it was farmed. Careful canopy management matching with meticulous handwork retains its natural acidity and a moderate amount of sugar.
“Great grapes make great wine”, according to one statement in their site. True to the point. It will not be recognized if the quality is not superb.
If you’d like to try, $40 (per person) for the sample wines and surely you will not regret the experience. If you also want to try their Tour and Tasting experience, it’ll just be $55. But if you’ll purchase 3 bottles plus membership, the tasting fee will be free of charge. Scheduling of appointments is done through credit card and is booked 24-hours in advance. Fees are nonrefundable.
Learn more at https://corison.com/
Duckhorn was the pioneer of Napa’s modern age. Dubbed as one of the top 100 wineries by Wine and Spirits is already saying it’s also one of the best there is. It was also 2017’s “Wine of the year” by Wine Spectator.
They are committed to selecting only the finest fruit and carefully handle it making it one of the best.
Wine tasting is on the line for just $40 for five current release, or if you want to opt for various limited editions. They also have an elevated experience by appointment only, it’s called “A day of Duckhorn” an all-around package experience for parties of 4 to 12 person.
Learn more at https://www.duckhorn.com/
Far Niente Winery
Well known for having California’s oldest bottle of wine found in the cellar in Martini county, California. It is also the National Registered Landmark in 1885. The Nickel family owned and restored the historical landmark and they even dug their own wine cave and plant their beautiful gardens.
Far Niente’s estate bottled Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines are known to have the ability to change as it ages. The older it was stored, the different and better taste you get.
Tor them to acquire such high-class wine, they always store it under a constant temperature of 58-60° F, plus the natural humidity of the room.
For Tour and Tasting, you can acquire it for only $80 and you’ll get to experience their historic tri-level winery and wine caves for a 90-min tour. Also under $80 is the Estate Tasting. You’ll get to try their newest vintage alongside with their hand-selected wines. Another elevated experience is the Cave collection library wine tastings for about a $100. You’ll also get to experience their current release Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon along with their extremely limited cave collection of wines.
Learn more at https://farniente.com/
Frank Family Vineyards
Now we have the Frank family’s masterpiece. Napa Valley’s most sought after tasting rooms that were voted ‘best’ for 8 years in the bay area’s A-list. Not only that, but it is also awarded as “Winery of the year” on 2012 by Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine.
Frank family had reserved wines that were produced in small quantities making their wine limited and up-for-grabs. Their wines are only available at their family’s winery and selected restaurants and wine shops, including their Patriarch and Winston Hill Red Blend.
If you wanted to taste their masterpiece, you get by for $40 wine taste, or if you opt with a bit different, you’ll get exclusive wines paired with artisanal cheese for only $85.
Learn more at https://www.frankfamilyvineyards.com/
Here comes Inglenook, Napa’s icon in the 1800s. Gustave Niebaum, a Finnish sea captain, an entrepreneur, and a wine connoisseur came to Rutherford to build the ever known wine estate that would compete against Europe’s finest. Years later in the industry, it became well known internationally.
In 1975, Francis Coppola purchased the historical chateau and continued the legacy that he wanted. “Our goal has always been to make one of the world’s great wine”, says Coppola. Indeed, he is on the right track.
Wine tasting is a must in this historical landmark. For the Heritage tasting, it’s $55 (per person) limited up to 8 persons. The Food and Wine preparing is $165 (per person) and is limited to 10 persons. They also have the Inglenook Experience which is only $65 limited to 10 persons with 25% discount to nondrinkers, and also you can bring minors, but only up to 12 years old. If you have children younger than that please call ahead to discuss other tour activities. If you want to try the Private experience, you need to make a 24-hour advance notice. The fee will is $85 (with a minimum tax of $300) and a 25% discount to nondrinkers, in this you can customize your experience throughout the estate.
Aside from that, Inglenook also had a Rubicon Exploration where you’ll get to tour around the vineyards to learn the heritage and an infinity cave to discuss the aging process for only $175. There’s also a Private Library Experience; the Estate Library Experience and the Rubicon Library experience, for about $150 each.
Learn more at https://www.inglenook.com/
Napa’s First wineries on Spring Mountain and is one of the wineries that is sustainably farmed. The technique used was unique with meticulous handling using an old-world style includes natural fermentation and bottling without filtration.
Their wine was awarded “Best in Show” as Newton’s 2015 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Yountville.
The winery was custom designed to allow less handling of the fruit. Naturally fermented thus offers one of the finest wines in the world.
For Tour and tasting, Newton discovery is for only $75 (per person) maximum of 8 per party. This includes trying their unfiltered Chardonnay, unfiltered Pinot Noir, and unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon. You can also try their Single Vineyard Immersion for just $125 (per person) maximum of 8 per party. This experience includes trying their Single Vineyard Chardonnay, Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. They also have a Vineyard Exploration, a private exploration available only from May to October. $250 (per person) maximum of 5 per session. It may be expensive but the experience will be worth it.
Learn more at http://www.newtonvineyard.com/
Grgich Hills Estate
Mike Grgich’s piece of art in the wine industry gained him recognition on his first award at the “Paris Tasting” in Paris, 1976. One of his masterpieces, the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, renowned as the finest white wine in the world. Thus, making Mike one of the greatest winemakers globally. He was also put up in the “Vintners hall of fame” last 2008 in honor of his many contributions to the wine industry.
His secret to having a world-class wine is through sustainable farming and natural wine growing.
For the Tour and tasting, Grgich Hills Estate is open daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, except New Year, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day.
Walk-in visitors are welcome. An Intro to Grgich is only $25 while the Miljenko’s flight is $40, all in their wine tasting room. They also have a walking tour and tasting for just $35, reservations are required. A Private tasting on one of the exquisite rooms located in the winery for just $50. There is also a Tour concludes seated tasting of cheeses paired with five limited productions and specialty wines for only $65. If you’ll up your taste for something rare, your $90 is not gonna be wasted. For $90, you’ll get to taste Grgich Hill Estate best-kept secrets. Your personal host will give you a tour through a personalized flight of six older vintage and limited production of wines paired of with artisan cheeses. This is also your chance to taste and purchase their wines that were rarely released from the winery vault.
If you wanted to stain your feet, Grgich Hills Estate a seasonal grape-stomping experience where you get to have your stained foot pressed on a white shirt with a label “I stomped at Grgich Hill”.
Learn more at https://www.grgich.com/
Which Winery Should You Visit First?
For those who are planning to visit Napa Valley, make sure to try ALL of these top wineries in the area. You will surely have the experience of a lifetime!