It can be very overwhelming when it comes to planning out your itinerary for your Napa Valley trip. I’ve compiled my top 4 from my trip to wine country - these are the top four for where you should go to enjoy wine tastings, pairings, tours, and beautiful views. The following wineries and tasting locations are geared towards sparkling wines and whites because your girl is not a huge fan of reds. When I began researching places to go, it seemed almost endless, so it became really important for me to create a guide of top-notch wineries to go to. The prices range, but truthfully, the experiences were priceless.
Gloria Ferrer Winery
Since we hired a driver to pick us up from San Francisco, we decided to put two renowned wineries on our itinerary that day before being dropped off at our hotel in downtown Napa Valley. We had to drive through Sonoma, so we made that our first stop at Gloria Ferrer Winery. The most beautiful views I had ever seen as it had a long driveway up to the wine tasting and you overlooked Sonoma while diving right into your pairings. We chose to do Taste on the Terrace, which allowed us to try 4 different wines and incredibly prepared food that was beyond my palette. There are many options for tastings so be sure to browse their website for what works in your plans. Also a pro tip - most vineyards and wineries are only open until 3pm - 5pm so you’ll have to start early.
Domaine Carneros Winery
Since we hired a driver (which I highly recommend), he waited for us to finish our 12:30pm tasting at Gloria Ferrer and took us over to Domaine Carneros Winery, which was basically a breathtaking castle. The pictures just don’t this place justice, but the pairing and tasting options were high quality and worth the price of admission. We did the Bubbles & Bites - Journey To Spain for $95 a person, which by this point, we were quite tipsy and absolutely loved every second. Their tastings are constantly changing, so stay up to date with them on their website and social media. We were set after 2 wine tastings, and definitely couldn’t have handled a third for the day.
Robert Mondavi Winery
One of the most epic scenes and classic look was the infamous Robert Mondavi Winery and we splurged and did the Vineyard to Table lunch which included a tour, lunch, and a delicious tasting geared towards red wine lovers. The culinary experiences are what they are known for, and this is a great spot for couples, honeymooners, and smaller, more intimate groups. Culinary Experiences | Robert Mondavi Winery It was on the pricier side by being $165 per person, but browse their selection to see what experience fits into your price range. The grounds were beautifully kept and the tour really made the experience top notch, whereas most tastings didn’t involve a tour or walking around. Robert Mondavi Winery was established in 1966 and proudly brands this quote all over their website:
“Walking through To Kalon, admiring its contours and vines, smelling the richness of its soil, I knew this was a very special place. It exuded an indefinable quality I could not describe, a feeling that was almost mystical.”
JaM Cellars - Sponsor for the renowned BottleRock Festival
I truly saved the best for last with JaM Cellars, as they put a hip, new spin on wine tasting and entertainment. Known for their delicious buttery Chardonnay and concerts at their wine tastings, JaM Cellars is also the sponsor of the BottleRock Festival, which is one of the coolest festivals to attend. While JaM Cellars hosted me at a wine tasting, their electric energy was undeniable - the nicest people worked there, the wine was so good that we had to buy some and ship it home, and the concerts they have are the perfect balance between entertaining and chill. It’s also located downtown Napa Valley and is a must visit. Fun fact for you all, the J in JaM stands for John and the M stands for Michelle because they started this winery together and they even have a podcast called JaM Happy Hour. You can easily shop their wine online and order it right to your door steps.
Enjoy your wine tastings and as always, drink responsibly.