Those familiar with Napa’s Wine Country, know of Carneros. It is the only American Viticultural Area (A.V.A.) that is in both Napa and Sonoma. It’s also the first A.V.A. you reach if you’re heading towards Napa from San Francisco. I spent a lot of time in this region enjoying the fabulous Carneros Wineries, and therefore really gotten to know various winemakers and restaurants. I know how much you guys appreciate a good Top 10 list, so here are the Top 10 Carneros Wineries I recommend you visit. For those who are not local, visit their respective websites and try some of their wines at home. Also, these are in alphabetical order, they are all fabulous, so check them out and see for yourself!
What to Wear Wine Tasting?
Everyone always asks me what to wear when they’re wine tasting. To help with the planning I’ve created a guide of some of my favorite wine country essentials below when planning a trip to Wine Country!
First up, Anaba Wines. Named after the anabatic winds of Carneros that made Founder John Michael reminiscent of his time spent in the Rhône Valley of France, this winery is fabulous to visit whether you’re a new wine lover or a connoisseur. For more about Anaba Wines, read my Interview with Winemaker Katy Wilson on the blog here. 62 Bonneau Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476
Cuvaison has some of the most incredible wine country views I have yet to experience. I recommend visiting and enjoying a tasting on their patio while taking in the stunning Carneros views and enjoying their delicious Chardonnay & Pinot Noir wines. 1221 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA 94559
The picturesque patio with incredible vineyard and rolling hills views.
Andy Warhol’s limited edition Cuvaison gift set. What could be better than this delicious wine with such a stunning label.
Domaine Carneros is a brand I have adored for a while now. With such a rich history and delicious sparkling wines, you’re sure to fall in love with this winery on your first visit to the chateau. For more information, read my Interview with Domaine Carneros Sparkling Winemaker Zak Miller here. 1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA 94559
Donum Estate is the perfect mix of incredible Carneros wine and a spectacular estate. They have one of the most amazing art collections I have ever seen. Currently, they’re building a new tasting room which should be complete by early Fall of 2017. So, depending on when you visit, you may get to experience the new tasting room during an afternoon exploring some Carneros Wineries. Read my full Donum Estate blog post here. 24500 Ramal Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476
Dunstan Vineyards & Estate
Any serious Pinot Noir or Chardonnay lover knows about Durell Vineyards. They make some of the most highly sought-after grapes in the region. I have had the pleasure of visiting Durell Vineyards and I fell in love with the beautiful rolling hills and Dunstan Estate which is located on Durell Vineyards. Dunstan Estate has a charm that is hard to describe. Offering delicious, high-quality wines with an intimate boutique feeling, Dunstan Estate is a spot among all the Carneros Wineries that you must check out. Note- it is not open to the public, so make an appt or find a friend that’s a wine club member and join for their seriously fun, high-end, delicious, pick-up parties! 1945 Felder Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476
I also highly recommend you visit Etude Winery. For any Pinot Noir lovers, this is a must-try; not only do they have incredible Napa Pinot Noir wines from Carneros, but they also have wine from various other regions in California. Read my full blog post about Etude Winery here. 1250 Cuttings Wharf Rd, Napa, CA 94559
You could not have a Top 10 Carneros Wineries post without including the legendary Hyde Family Vineyards. I have gotten to know Larry and his son Chris Hyde over the years, after having their grapes in various other winery’s production, and I adore the family just as much as their high quality, flavorful lovely grapes. The Hyde’s are really a staple in the Carneros Wineries region. Visit their recently opened Hyde Estate Winery & Tasting Room. 1044 Los Carneros Ave, Napa, CA 94559, USA
The legendary Larry Hyde. I have met Larry multiple times and he’s amazing. Always smiling, happy to share his stunning wines, and answer any questions I have had about his wines, vineyards, and history. Such a Carneros Wineries legend!
Larry’s son Chris. Chris is also amazing, and it’s lovely to see the second generation of Hyde’s grow into the business. Truly a fabulous experience among all my visits to these Carneros Wineries.
Liana Estates is a winery that also offer some great culinary pairings differentiating them from some of their neighbors. When I visited, I enjoyed a tasting in their tasting room, but was also tempted to return to enjoy some of the other pairings such as the Cupcake pairing ($60 per person), Local Wine and Culinary Picnic ($120 per person), or Garden Graze Tasting on Saturdays, where you can enjoy bites on the garden between 11:30 – 3:00pm (prices vary by small bite and wine selections). 2750 Las Amigas, Napa CA.
Enjoying some delicious Liana Estates Carneros Pinot Noir during my visit to the tasting room!
This newly opened outdoor terrace with a bocce ball court and lots of tables for relaxing and hanging out was probably my most favorite part of the visit. You really want to have a glass or bottle of wine, camp out, and never leave this heavenly winery…
Cheers to this bright and fresh Liana Estates Sparkling Wine.
Sangiacomo Family Wines
Sangiacomo Family Wines is another Carneros winery I adore. Owned and operated by the Sangiacomo family, their methods are down to earth and always centered around quality and preservation of the land. For a closer look at Sangiacomo’s winemaking process, take a look at My Harvest Experience with Sangiacomo Family Wines here. Also, be sure to read my Interview with Sangiacomo Winemaker James MacPhail here. 21545 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476
If you’re looking for a more casual, laid-back setting, Starmont Winery is just that. There’s an incredible outdoor seating area and an upbeat, bright, modern tasting room. So, naturally, this is another of the Carneros Wineries that I recommend you explore. Not only do they make Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (typical varietals of the Carneros region), but they have a bunch of other great wines I suggest as well. Read my full blog post about Starmont Winery here. 1451 Stanly Ln, Napa, CA 94559.
For a more intimate winery experience, and a brand that is still family-owned (which is so rare these days) and operated, I suggest you visit Truchard Vineyards. Proprietor Tony and Jo Ann Truchard have managed this vineyard for nearly 40 years, and, in 1989, the Truchards established a winery and began producing wines using their estate-grown fruit. During my afternoon visit I toured the vineyards and enjoyed a tasting in their cool caves, a spot I recommend you see during your visit. 3234 Old Sonoma Rd, Napa, CA 94559.
This is pretty much my idea of a perfect winery visit. A cave tasting followed by a vineyard tour accompanied by a glass of Pinot Noir. Thank you Truchard for the lovely experience you shared with me.
What do you think?