People come from near and far to experience the most tart, tangy, or crisp wine in an exquisite setting. In the U.S., more wineries than ever are open and eager for everyone to drop by. Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, and Sonoma County are where you’ll discover the hidden gems of California’s wine country. If you’re a wine collector or a wine novice, learning about wine is a fascinating experience, full of new flavors, new places, and new friends. Whether you’re interested in recreational tasting or a professional buyer, it’s nice to know the best spots in the Napa and Sonoma Valley.
Pride Mountain Vineyard (www.pridewines.com)
Previously named “Summit Ranch,” Pride Mountain Vineyard rewards visitors with a stunning view of rugged Mount St. Helena and vineyards rising skyward in all directions. Pride Mountain Vineyards is a 235-acre estate with a wooden-beamed, modest-sized winery that blends smoothly into its mountainous surroundings and California heritage. The Pride family owns and actively manages the winery and vineyards. Their aim is to make big red wines on the black-fruit side of the ripeness spectrum that nonetheless maintains balance, nuance, and complexity. To schedule an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call at (707) 963-4949
Jarvis Estate (www.jarviswines.com)
A visit to Jarvis Estate is a visit to the country’s first winery built entirely underground and offers an intimate glimpse into the meticulous steps that go into producing their lush Chardonnays, rich Cabernet Sauvignons and velvety Merlots, among others. Jarvis built its entire winery—including the press, barrel room, aging cellar and tasting room— in a huge, doughnut- shaped cave, complete with underground stream and waterfall. Don’t miss out one what was named “One of Napa Valley’s Best Winery Tours” by Food & Wine Magazine. Schedule your winery tour at email@example.com or by calling 1-800-255-5280.
Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery (www.sebastiani.com)
Located in Sonoma County, one of the most diverse wine growing regions in the world, Sebastiani offers a historic winery with a hospitality center, barrel room with antique redwood tanks, grand event space and daily tours and tastings. Sebastiani offers several tours and tasting options along with a wine shop and club. Experience not only Sebastiani’s wines but also foods from some of Sonoma’s most celebrated chefs, cheese makers and chocolatiers. For reservations and more information visit above website.
Schramsberg Vineyards (www.schramsberg.com)
Schramsberg is the grande dame of America’s sparkling wine estatesis and home to the oldest hillside vineyards in Napa. It totals 218 acres with 43 acres planted to vines. Schramsberg has also played a role in world history. The Blanc de Blancs was used for President Nixon’s 1972 “Toast to Peace” with China’s Premier Zhou Enlai. Schramsberg’s sparkling wines have been served at official State functions by every U.S. Presidential administration since. To reserve a tour you can call (707) 942-4558 or visit their website.
With 280 acres, it was the last great undeveloped property in Napa Valley and had all the characteristics of a great wine estate: rolling hills, many different microclimates and a vast diversity of soil types. Their privately hosted experience provides guests with a comprehensive look at our vineyard, winemaking facility and underground caves. If you want to be shown through the Quintessa winery and caves to learn more about their winemaking process call (707) 286-2730 to request an appointment.
Sonoma is the name of a county (Sonoma County), a city (Sonoma) and an AVA (Sonoma Valley), but that AVA is just one of the 16 AVAs that dot Sonoma County’s sprawling 1,600-plus square miles. Sonoma has roughly the same number of wineries as Napa Valley, but they’re spread over twice the land, which makes it feel less crowded — almost undiscovered in parts — when compared to its neighbour. According to people old enough to know, Sonoma County is what Napa Valley was like 30 years ago, before the international fame and the tour buses and traffic that came with it.
The iconic Napa Valley is visited by more than 4.5 million people per year, and represents the glitz and glam of the US wine scene; it’s what Bordeaux is to France and what Tuscany is to Italy. Though it covers nearly 800 square miles, most wineries are clustered in the 35 miles between the city of Napa in the south and the town of Calistoga in the north.
This is the perfect time of year to pack your bags and take a trip to wine country. With the top 5 wineries above, the decision should be an easy one! Enjoy.