Best Napa Valley Wineries for Wine Tasting

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The Napa Valley is one of the most prestigious wine regions in the United States, and is at the top of most wine lover’s must-visit list. It is home to many top-quality producers, with outstanding wines that will rock your world, and with prices to match.

Below you’ll find our recommendations for the best Napa Valley wineries to visit for wine tasting. We’ve been to the area many times and have enjoyed so many Napa wineries. There’s a huge selection to choose from beyond what we’ve included here, but we’re sure these will provide a great experience.

» You might be interested in the 6 Best Napa Valley Picnic Spots.

Napa Valley vineyard

If you’re going to be in the area longer, we recommend also checking out Sonoma County, perhaps staying in the Healdsburg area. Sonoma is vast and covers a lot of miles and many AVAs.

Napa Valley Wine Tasting

If you’re into wine even a little bit, you’ve likely heard of the prestigious and well-known Napa Valley Wine Region, not to be confused with Sonoma County, which lies to the west of Napa and maintains it’s own wine reputation.

Napa is where you’ll find the expensive vineyards that produce equally expensive Cabernet Sauvignons, Zinfandels and Pinot Noirs of California. The soil is rich and fertile – producing an undeniable powerhouse of wine. Real estate is not cheap in the Napa Valley wine region.

Vineyard with Grapes

Wines made from some of the top Napa vineyards earn 95+ ratings and bring in top dollar – I’m talking in the hundreds of dollars per bottle. If you’re making a trip to Napa for wine tasting, it’s good to know what you’re going to get and set your expectations accordingly. (Read this post if you’d like to get a sense of what a weekend in Napa is like.)

The bottom line: It’s going to be expensive. But if you embrace the experience and accept it for what it is, you’ll have a fantastic time. It’s not unheard of for Napa wine tasting fees to be $40+ per person for a few pours – in fact, that’s the norm.

Hotels and restaurants also tend toward the luxury to ultra-luxury side. It’s Napa. It’s a lifestyle!

★ Plan ahead. Book your Napa Valley wine tour here.

napa valley grapes
Napa grapes

How to Get To Napa Valley

Flying into to Napa Valley is fairly easy and there are a lot of options. If you fly into Oakland or San Francisco, the Napa Valley is around an hour and a half drive. You can also fly into the Sonoma Airport in Santa Rosa, CA, and Napa is only an hour drive from there (depending on traffic, of course).

If you fly into Santa Rose, you can hit up both wine regions for the price of one! Also, if you fly into Sonoma on Alaska Airlines, you’ll get the privilege of checking a box of wine on the return flight for free! If you’re driving, Napa is only 1.5 hours from San Francisco and it’s only 9 hours from Portland, Oregon!

How to Get Around

We don’t like having to drive around the wine region when we know we’ll be doing wine tasting, but a car is necessary to get around. If you’re not willing to sip and spit, you might want to consider hiring a driver for the day.

We’ve found taxi drivers are very willing to negotiate a reasonable rate to drive you around all day. You could also go on a private or group wine tour. Here are two great options:

You could also go on an e-bike tour, which can be a fun way to see close-by wineries.

napa valley vineyard

Where to Stay, Taste and Eat in Napa Valley

As Napa is a luxury area, there are also a good number of luxury accommodations where you’ll be pampered and treated like royalty. The first thing you have to consider is where in the Napa Valley you’d like to be located. The valley runs almost 30 miles from Calistoga down to the town of Napa.

If you know of a couple of wineries you’d like to visit, you could base your stay off that. Getting between wineries can be trying with traffic and distance taken into account, so you’ll want to make a good plan in advance. Since this area is so large, I’m going to arrange the information based on area.

Here are the main areas where you can stay in the Napa Valley, from north to south:

  • Calistoga
  • Saint Helena
  • Yountville
  • Napa


Calistoga vineyard

Where to Stay

Calistoga is a small town located at the north end of the Napa Valley. It’s a small town, but it’s charming and packed with great wineries, eateries, cafes and spas. On the more affordable side, there’s Best Western Plus Stevenson Manor within walking distance of downtown, or you can go all out with a luxury stay at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford.

Where to Taste

napa valley winery
Castello di Amorosa

There are more than 50 wineries in the Calistoga AVA region. With one of the warmest climates in the region, plus cool night breezes from the ocean, there are some fun wines to try here,

Definitely make a stop at Sterling Winery and Teachworth Wines – both with incredible views. We also like Clos Pegase and Bennet Lane Winery. And the grandiose Castello di Amarosa, a medieval-style Tuscan castle winery is a popular stop.

Tamber Bey Vineyards specializes in Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Petit verdot, and Chardonnay grown on their estate vineyards. Stop by their family-owned Sundance Ranch for a tasting.

If you like Chardonnay, be sure to stop by the castle-like Chateau Montelena, which helped bring California Chardonnay to the world stage in 1973.

Where to Eat

St. Helena

You’ll find top wine producers and some of the most expensive wines in the region in and around St. Helena. This is where you find those ultra-rich Napa Cabernet Sauvignons that have made this growing region so popular.

saint helena 1
St. Helena vineyard

Where to Stay

To go with the high wine prices, you’ll mostly find high-priced luxury hotels in St. Helena. It’s just what they do best. If you’re looking for a vineyard hotel or a stay among the vines, St. Helena is the place to stay.

  • Wine Country Inn: Romantic and secluded, this boutique hotel delivers the quintessential wine country experience with spectacular vineyard views.   Trip Advisor  |
  • Meadowood Napa Valley: Very high-end, resort with an exclusive, boutique feel  Trip Advisor  |

Where to Taste

St. Helena Winery

Many of the wineries in St. Helena are architecturally stunning. Some of our favorites are Charles Krug, Robert Mondavi (Oakville) and Peju (Rutherford). All of these wineries are worth a visit. Expect tastings to be around $20-$40 a person for 3-4 pours of wine.

My favorite winery to visit on a warm summer day in Alpha Omega. They have a nice patio area overlooking the vines and with a beautiful fountain to look at. In the distance you can see the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Some of my favorites in the area include V. Sattui, Brasswood Cellars, Hall Wines, and Duckhorn. There are dozens of available wineries. You could just go from one to the other and never run out.

Where to Eat

Brix Restaurant north of Yountville in Napa
Brix Restaurant north of Yountville in Napa (Photo by Savored Journeys)

This is a good place to stop for lunch. You have the Oakville Grocery Co for picnic supplies – they have an incredible selection of sandwiches, cheeses and meats – then head over to Alpha Omega to enjoy a picnic with a cold bottle of their incredible Chardonnay that tastes just like a glass of crème brûlée (note: there’s a specific picnic area – food can’t be taken into the tasting room).

Or stop by V. Sattui winery for a picnic. They have a deli where you can pick up lunch, and there are plenty of picnic tables outside. For dinner, Brix Restaurant is one of our favorites.


Yountville vineyard

Where to Stay

Make sure you spend some time walking through the charming little city of Yountville. If you stay here, you’ll be treated to a small-town feel, but with a big-city price tag. Hotels like Bardesonno and Hotel Yountville deliver consistently great experiences. The Napa Valley Lodge is also a great place to stay.

Where to Taste

silverado winery
Silverado Vineyards

You’ll find a different kind of tasting experience in Yountville. Tasting rooms line the main street and you can just pop in for a wine tasting of Napa Valley favorites. There are 15 tasting rooms in walking distance and 7 others nearby.

Some of our favorites in Yountville are:

Don’t let the downtown wineries stop you from visiting some of the other major wineries nearby in the countryside. These wineries have amazing views and huge estates. They’re perfect for sunny afternoons with friends.

Where to Eat

Bouchon Bakery has awesome fresh pastries, but that’s not the only of Thomas Keller’s coveted restaurants. There’s, of course, the famous French Laundry. It’s located directly in the center of Yountville, alongside other world-class restaurants like Keller’s Ad Hoc and Bistro Jeanty.

Don’t miss Michael Chiarello’s Bottega for a plate of the best potato gnocchi I’ve ever eaten. And just outside of town is Brix Restaurant and Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, both with lovely outdoor space. Be prepared for culinary overload in Yountville. There are more wineries and restaurants in a few short blocks than you could hope to get through in one trip.


Napa Winery

Where to Stay

Located at the southern end of the Napa Valley is the city of Napa. It’s the closest to the airports and you might get the impression that it’s not a spectacular because it’s not in the heart of Napa, but the city has had a revival of sorts that has ushered in luxury accommodations like The Meritage Resort & Spa.

Where to Taste

domaine carneros
Domaine Carneros

You’ll find a great winery located right behind the Meritage Resort & Spa, called Trinitas Cellars. To the southwest of town, stop to admire the grand terraces and gardens of Domaine Carneros.

Next to Carneros is an enclave of wineries to visit. We like to sit around the stone fireplace at Bouchaine Vineyards, then admire the views at Cuvaison Estate Vineyard. Their tasting room is all glass walled, with a gorgeous view of the lake.

Where to Eat

Napa boasts top restaurants like Michelin star La Toque and Mustards Grill. Both with very different vibes, but equally great food. We also like the vibe at Compline Wine Bar & Restaurant, where you can have a wine paired menu and then shop for your favorites to take home afterward.

One of our favorite places to browse delicious-looking food items, Oxbow Public Market. The market is home to half a dozen restaurants and a plethora of specialty food and wine retailers, including San Francisco’s popular Hog Island Oyster Company and El Porteno empanadas. If you’re tasting at Domaine Carneros, you might stop by Farm at Carneros for lunch.

Tours to Book:


As you can see, there are so many Napa Valley wineries and it’s incredibly hard to make it to even a small portion of the best Napa Valley Wineries in one visit. You know what that means! You’re going to have to come back again. It’s a tough world, I know. Tell us about your favorite things to do and see, taste and eat in the Napa Valley!

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Best Napa Valley Wineries for Wine Tasting

17 thoughts on “Best Napa Valley Wineries for Wine Tasting

  1. Cherri Megasko says:

    I’m more of a single malt Scotch gal myself, and my husband doesn’t drink. So even though we’ve driven through Napa a few times, we’ve never stopped to enjoy the wine. It is still very beautiful though.

  2. Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru says:

    Such a wonderful part of NoCal tradition, with a mature product that is world-renowned. Your photos capture the magic. While the scenery hasn’t changed, the “landscape” certainly has. Even thirty years ago, when I lived in California, locals (other than Mondavi, perhaps), were just beginning to be recognized on the world stage. How times have changed! The sad aspect of gentrification here, and perhaps it’s to be expected, is the expense load a visit now requires which makes it inaccessible to many. I’m happy I visited then; not sure I could comfortably afford to now. :-/

  3. Gemma Two Scots Abroad says:

    50 wineries and that’s just one of the towns? I must admit I would love to stay at Meritage Resort & Spa, did you get the chance or is that for celebs only?!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Gemma, it’s an expensive place, but certainly not for celebs only. We usually stay further north though, so we can make our way south throughout the weekend, so we’ve never stayed there, we’ve just enjoyed their beautiful grounds.

  4. Lesley says:

    I love the Napa Valley region, especially St. Helena. It’s not exactly a quick weekend getaway for us but we try to visit as often as we can. Some of my favorite wines in the world come from Napa. My all-time favorite is not as far north though. The Justin Winery in Paso Robles is fantastic. Have you been?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Lesley. Yes, we’ve been to Justin Winery and many in the Paso area. I really like their wines too. We’ve got a post or two on here about the Paso wineries. One of my favorites there is Opollo. We’d love to get to that area more often too, but it’s a more expensive flight than Sonoma/Napa.

  5. Katja - globetotting says:

    I went to Napa last year but sadly I was pregnant at the time (not sad to be pregnant I must add, but sad that I couldn’t drink vast quantities of amazing wine!). Fortunately the area is so beautiful that I could still enjoy our trip. I’d love to go back though, and thanks to your post I’ve got some new wineries to try!

  6. Heather Widmer says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Napa Valley! Visiting the wineries and having an afternoon picnic lunch sounds too perfect. Such an ideal location for a honeymoon or anniversary. Enjoying the scenery with good wine & food is the epitome of romance! Thank you for all the recommendations, I’ll be sure to keep this as a reference if (hopefully!) I visit Napa Valley in the future.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Heather – It’s definitely an ideal location for a honeymoon or anniversary. So many romantic hotels, restaurants and wineries.

  7. Veronika says:

    Napa Valley sounds like great place to relax with glass of wine. I come from wine region myself and I think it’s super cool to discover new region via food and drinks! When I go to California, I will pay a visit!

  8. Lindsay Nieminen says:

    I’ve heard so much about Napa and it’s a short flight from Vancouver! I would love to get out here with Hubby for a few days of relaxation!

  9. Stephanie says:

    This is on my bucket list! I recently toured wineries in Georgia. Would love to compare them to Napa!

  10. Pingback: Top Wine Regions in the United States for a Wine Tasting Trip | Savored Journeys

  11. G grit yyyt says:

    The distance from Calistoga is more like 30 miles, not 60, and Cindy’s backstreet has closed

  12. Megan says:

    If you go to Calistoga and don’t go to Tank, you will have missed out. This is the artsy/hipster equivalent of a craft beer taphouse with AMAZING wine every time and a super cool and knowledgeable staff.

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