Best Napa Valley Wineries to Visit

A look at the vines planted on the Buehler Estate in autumn.

  This guide to the best Napa Valley wineries is part of our wine region series.  Learn about both premier and lesser known wine growing regions around the world.  

Napa Valley is one of the most flavor prone new world wine growing regions in the world.  It’s located about 60 miles Northeast of San Francisco.  While wine has been planted in Napa since the mid 1800’s, it wasn’t until around 1960 that it began to gain significant notoriety, and that has increased dramatically over the following decades thanks largely to wineries that have achieved fame.  Including Mondavi, Beringer and Coppola.

Today, Napa Valley plays host to over 500 wineries, 43,000 acres of vineyard, and numerous wine tours and hotels geared towards making your wine tasting experience memorable.  It’s also worth noting that because of its popularity, prices have increased in recent years for some of these tastings and tours.  We’ll do our best to list the best Napa Valley wineries and wine tours below that won’t break the bank.  We’ll also include a Napa Valley Regional Map (scroll down to view), which depicts most of the wineries located throughout the valley and whether or not they require an appointment in advance.

Best Napa Valley Wineries to Visit

CNN covered a special wine tasting event at Chappellet vineyards last September. The first ever 1,000 point tasting for wines scored by Robert Parker.

  Napa Valley Wineries, Wine Tours and Maps

Napa Valley is a big place, and while Napa Valley itself is an umbrella AVA, there are numerous appellations throughout the valley (eg. St. Helena, Calistoga, Stags Leap District).  Each of these smaller appellations have their own unique characteristics, and some are better suited for specific grape varietals.  You should first decide what type of wine experience you’d like (drive yourself, take a tour, take a train, etc), and then what type of grape varieties you’re most interested in.  You can view our quick guide to Napa Valley wine here, to get a sense for what grows where.  No matter what you choose, you won’t be able to do it all in one trip.  So don’t stress!  No matter what you choose you’ll have a good time, and then you’ll just have to come back for another :).

Best Napa Valley Wineries to Visit

Relax and enjoy a wine tasting at Cade Estate

NOTE: You can SKIP TO any of the following items on this page by clicking the links below:

Click Here for a Full Page Map of Wineries in Napa Valley (PDF)
Unique and Best Napa Valley Wine Tours
Best Napa Valley Wineries
Napa Valley Wineries – No Appointment Required
Napa Valley Wineries – Appointment Required

Unique and Best Napa Valley Wine Tours

The Napa Valley Wine Train
Rating: 4.5
Price: $120-$234
Address: 1275 McKinstry St, Napa, CA 94559
Reservations by phone: 800.427.4124
Hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Book: Select your unique Wine Train Experience at the Napa Valley Wine Train website.

  • The Napa Valley Wine Train has been getting a substantial amount of attention as of late.  Not only is it a wine train, but it’s also a noteworthy Napa Valley restaurant.  They offer tailored experiences ranging from lunches and dinners in select, unique rail cars, to a combination of dining experience, wine tastings and full on winery tours.  Prices vary depending on the experience you choose, but most dining experiences start at $124 for multiple courses, and tours, tastings and winery excursions can be up to $200+.  This company aims to take you back in time a ways, when traveling by train was the standard form of luxurious travel.  They offer fine dining in their train cars as you traverse  picturesque Napa Valley scenery.  The train is for the most part made up of vintage coaches, all of which have been restored to pristine condition.  You’ll travel along a 25 mile track through the heart of Napa Valley wine country, and can opt to stop for wine tastings and tours along the way.

Napa Valley Balloons Bike and Balloon Package
Rating: 4.5
Price: $260-$374 Per Person
Address: Domaine Chandon Winery, 1 California Drive, Yountville, CA 94599
Reservations by phone: 800-253-2224
Book: Schedule your balloon ride and bike tour today!

  • Our personal favorite tour hosted by Napa Valley Balloons is the Ballooning and Biking tour, which, dependent upon the year will cost between $260 and $374. Start your day with an aerial view of Napa Valley, then follow your flight with a half-day guided bike ride. You’ll stop at various boutique wineries for tastings and also a picnic lunch! You can view this package here, or additional tour offerings from Napa Valley Balloons here.

Best Napa Valley Wineries

Best Napa Valley Wineries to Visit

Click to view the Napa Valley Winery map (PDF). Shows wineries that require an appointment as well as those that do not. Map courtesy Winecountry.com.

As there are around 500 wineries throughout Napa Valley, we went out and found a handful of the best ones and included them in the various categories below based on price, wine quality, experience and scenery.  We’ve also organized the wineries listed below by location, so if you’re doing a driving tour or coming from San Francisco, you can navigate from South to North touring and tasting.  We start in Carneros and head North.

Napa Valley Wineries – No Appointment Required

Robert Mondavi Winery
Rating: 3.8
801 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574
Phone: (888) 766-6328, ext. 3
Average Tasting Price: Varies ($25-$35)

  • We included this winery on our list due to requests, and being that it’s one of the earlier and most famous wineries’ in St. Helena, the Mondavi winery is worth visiting.  The architecture throughout the property is beautiful, the wines are well known and consistent.  You can do their signature tour for $25, which includes a tasting at the end, to glean much about the history and terroir of Napa Valley as a whole, as well as the winemaking processes involved for various varietals in this world famous region.

Castello di Amorosa
Rating: 4.0
4045 St. Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515
Phone: (707) 967-6272
Average Tasting Price: Tour + Tasting: $35, Premium tasting (5 wines): $20, Reserve tasting (6 wines): $30 (Specialized tours can be $50+)

  • This winery is always a treat, and quite possibly my favorite in Napa Valley.  Located in Calistoga, Castello di Amorosa will make you feel like you’re in Italy.  The property contains a 13th century styled full on castle and winery.  There are both guided and free roaming tours, and no reservation is required for groups under 20.  The wines are also Italian styled, and La Fantasia is typically a sparkling hit.  This winery is a bit more mainstream due to lots of recent social media exposure, but is worth a visit regardless. It’s best to visit before noon.

Napa Valley Wineries – Appointment Required

McKenzie-Mueller Vineyards and Winery
Rating: 4.8
2530 Las Amigas Rd, Napa, CA 94559
Phone: (707) 252-0186
Average Tasting Price: $20

  • Located in Carneros, this winery is considered to be somewhat of a hidden gem.  A boutique, personal experience, McKenzie-Mueller is a stark contrast compared to many of the overcrowded and touristy wineries throughout Napa Valley.  These winemakers are best known for their Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  They abide by traditional winemaking styles and truly take their craft personally.  Prices are fair, the tasting room has a great vibe and you’ll get to try a large amount of wine.  Tours and wine tastings here are by appointment only, call (707) 252-0186.

Domaine Carneros
Rating: 4.0
1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA
Phone: 800-716-BRUT (ext: 161 for tastings)
Average Tasting Price: $30

  • Located in Carneros, Domaine Carneros is a great spot to start a warm summer day.  This gorgeous, expansive estate, done in a Chateau style offers beautiful views of the property from the estate balconies.  This winery is best known for their sparkling wines.  This is not a boutique personal experience based winery, but rather somewhat of a larger feel.  That said, the staff are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, the wines are delicious (especially their Pinot Noir and Sparkling whites), and the views on the property are some of the best in the valley.  Reservations must be booked by 5:00PM on the day before you visit.

Buehler Vineyards
Rating: 4.8
820 Greenfield Road, Saint Helena, CA 94574
Phone: 707.963.2155
Average Tasting Price: $15-$20

  • A small boutique, off the beaten path family owned winery set high up in the Eastern mountainous region of St. Helena.  If you’re a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon, and or prefer intimately guided tours done by the Buehler family themselves, you’re in for a treat.  You just might be greeted by an assortment of puppies :).  The scenery here is as picturesque as it comes, with hillside plantings taking up much of the 300 acres of vineyard plot.  Appointments are required, please call 707-963-2155 to schedule.
Best Napa Valley Wineries to visit

Picturesque views at Storybook Mountain Vineyard in Napa Valley, Califorinia.

Storybook Mountain Vineyards
Rating: 5.0
835 Highway 128, Calistoga, CA 94515
Phone: 707-942-5310
Average Tasting Price: $25 per couple – waived if bottle is purchased

  • Located 4 miles NW of Calistoga, Storybook Mountain Vineyards and Winery is positioned on a hillside, picturesque property.  Tour the property on foot through hillside plots of organically farmed vines, tall redwood trees and then end your tour in century old caves where the wines are stored.  This is a down to earth, fairy-tale esque experience.  Do not miss, wines have been described as “bottled poetry.”  Tours and tastings by appointment only – call: 707-942-5310.

Have questions or recommendations for wineries to visit in Napa Valley?  Leave us a comment below!  Our community of wine lovers and travelers would love to hear your insight and chances are others may have similar questions.

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