As a huge wine country lover, I try to visit as much as I can. As a result, in the four and a half years I’ve lived in San Francisco, I have discovered some of my favorite wineries to visit and to recommend. If you’re looking to see more than just Napa, here are my Top 10 Sonoma Wineries, Top 10 Paso Robles Wineries, Top 10 Lompoc Tasting Rooms, Top 10 Anderson Valley Wineries & Restaurants, and Top 10 Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara) Wineries.
To me, a few things make a winery special:
First, the wine. I obviously must like the wine, or I won’t return.
Second, the people and team behind the winery. No matter how good wine is, if the winemaker or the team sharing the wine with you aren’t wonderful, it’s pretty hard to want to return.
Third, the story of the brand and or winemaker’s family. I love hearing how a family got into the wine business or why a particular winery specializes in one particular wine over another.
Lastly, a smaller intimate feeling. I prefer not to visit wineries with large tour buses of people visiting. However, that’s not to say I won’t fall in love with a large winery, but, simply, that I try to find the smaller, more unique ones – like a boutique hotel.
Below is a running list of the Top 10 Napa Valley Wineries I adore. This will be like the Eater 38 list which changes frequently. So visit often as I’ll be updating it with whichever new, favorite spot I’ve discovered! Click on the link next to each winery’s name to read more about the winery. Note: there is no particular order here, just a list of my favorite Napa Valley wineries.
Lokoya Winery is truly the most magical and beautiful winery in Napa Valley. Located on Spring Mountain with some of the most spectacular mountain and vineyard views Lokoya is a Cabernet lovers dream. Winemaker Chris Carpenter creates beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon wines here from four different AVA’s Spring Mountain, Howell Mountain (my personal favorite AVA for Cabernet in Napa), Mount Veeder, and Diamond Mountain. These limited-production wines are 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, fermented with native yeast, and bottled unfined and unfiltered creating the purest expression of place in the four Cabernet Sauvignon wines. 3787 Spring Mountain Rd, St Helena, CA 94574
The warm Ruinart Champagne welcome to Lokoya Winery!
The stunning wine cellar. This room was so spectacular I wanted to stay in here all day admiring the beautiful space and all of the various vintages.
The presentation for my wine tasting & food pairing. Each group of guests had their own sofa and seating area which felt as if you were in someone’s home not in a winery. The guest experience here is just as over the top as the beautiful wines.
Farewell Lokoya Winery. Thanks to Lexus for partnering with me on my Napa trip to Lokoya. Read more about this incredible Lexus and my full blog post about Lokoya Winery here.
One of the more recent wineries welcomed to Calistoga is Davis Estates. Davis Estates was designed by adored Architect Howard Backen and has an on-site chef, as well as a historic barn that was original to the property! Backen and The Davis Family (the winery owners) kept the barn on site, and it was the inspiration for the new winery style and design. Read more about Davis Estates here. 4060 Silverado Trail N, Calistoga, CA 94515
Opus One Napa
As one of the most historic, well-known wineries in Napa, Opus One honestly does not even need an introduction. I have to say, I feel privileged to have been able to visit and experience this winery through a behind-the-scenes tour – typically press are not hosted to Opus One. If you’re curious about this spectacular winery and all that I saw on my tour, read more about Opus One Napa Valley here. 7900 St. Helena Highway, Oakville, CA 94562.
Covert Estate is best described as a hidden gem. The project is led by Winemaker Julien Fayard and his wife, Elain. Julien is quite a legend in Napa as he is also a consulting winemaker for various labels. The Covert Tasting room is fairly new and beyond beautiful. With an incredible design decor, delicious wines, and a lovely team, this is a spot not to be missed. 15 Chateau Ln, Napa, CA 94558
Another favorite Napa Winery I adore is Cardinale located in Oakville. Winemaker Christopher Carpenter makes these stunning Napa Valley Mountain Wines and they’re spectacular. Note they’re close to $350 per bottle so definitely for those wine collectors with larger budgets than most but truly special. Read more about Cardinale Winery and my visit on the blog here. And see the 5 decades Cardinale Winery Tasting I also experienced led by Winemaker Chris Carpenter here. 7600 St Helena Hwy, Oakville, CA 94562.
A warm welcome during one of my Cardinale Winery visits by Winemaker Christopher Carpenter!
Matthiasson is one of the most picturesque Napa wineries. It is family run and led by Steve and Jill Matthiasson. Known as a legend in California’s Wine Country, Steve is amazing, and it was such a treat visiting him and Jill at their winery. See more about the winery and my entire visit to Matthiasson Vineyard here. 4700 Linda Vista Ave, Napa, CA 94558
Winemaker Steve Matthiasson welcoming the group to his vineyard, which is also where their family home is (behind Steve).
The line up of incredible Matthiasson Wines I enjoyed during my visit to their vineyard.
Jill & Steve Matthiasson.
For those of you who adore Howell Mountain Cabernet (me) and beautiful stunning Wineries – Cade Winery is a must see. Located on Top of Howell Mountain, this winery has some of the most incredible views in the valley, plus, their wines are divine. Read more about Cade Winery here, I promise that you will adore this gem and never want to leave. 360 Howell Mountain Rd, Angwin, CA 94508
Ovid Winery may be one of the hardest reservations to score but if you do you will be thrilled that you visited. With some of the most picturesque views of the Valley and equally as beautiful Wines, Ovid Winery is a Napa gem not to be missed! Read my full blog post about Ovid Winery here. 255 Long Ranch Rd, St Helena, CA 94574.
Caymus Vineyards is another legendary Napa winery. Known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, and also family run, this is one of the most intimate and knowledgeable wine tastings I have ever had. I visited with friends who bought as much wine as they could take back on the plane with them. Be sure to plan for some extra time relaxing in the gorgeous gardens here as you will want to buy a bottle of wine and hang out after your visit. Read about my entire visit to Caymus Vineyards here. 8700 Conn Creek Road, Rutherford CA. 94573.
Duckhorn Winery is an adored winery which really is a staple for any Napa Wine Country visit. Located in St. Helena on the Silverado Trail, Duckhorn is great for both a wine tasting and/or a tasting and food pairing. Their gardens are absolutely gorgeous so be sure to plan for a visit long enough to enjoy the wines, food, and beautiful scenery. For details on my entire visit and the incredible food and wine pairing, read more about Duckhorn Winery here. 11000 Lodi Ln, St Helena, CA 94574
Turnbull Wine Cellars
Another family runs Napa Winery I adore is Turnbull. It’s located in Oakville, literally down the street from Oakville Grocery (one of the best spots in Napa to grab a casual bite or picnic). Read more about Oakville Grocery here. A visit to Turnbull is lovely, not only because of the beautiful setting and incredible wines but because of the people. They truly make the experience like no other. Read more about Turnbull and my fabulous Turnbull Wine Cellars here. 8210 St Helena Hwy, Oakville, CA 94562