california wine country

Visiting California Wine Country?

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Below are some of my top suggestions for the Northern California Area. Cheers!


Suisun Valley: Visit Rustic Wine Country

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Wooden Valley – This is where I work and where we have our vineyards 🙂 We are known for our Sweet Whites, Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy a tasting of 5 wines of your choosing. Our friendly tasting room staff is happy to help you pair the wines to your palate preferences. Enjoy a glass or bottle of wine out on the patio or visit us for one of our Food Truck Fridays. {walk ins welcome}

Tasting Room Hours: 11:00AM – 5:00PM Everyday (closed for specific holidays)

Tastings: Walk Ins Welcome

Tasting Fee: $10.00 to taste 5 wines, the fee is refundable if you purchase a bottle of wine

Tours: By Appointment

Location: 4756 Suisun Valley Rd, Suisun Valley, CA 94534

Napa:

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Ceja Vineyards– Ceja Vineyards is an ultra premium Latino owned Carneros winery. The family originally started working in the vineyards as grape pickers. Over time they were able to purchase their own property and start their own winery. The Ceja’s have a tasting room located between Sonoma and Napa with a Brewery attached. The wines are all incredible. Make sure to try the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Red Blends.

Tasting Room Hours: Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday from 11:00AM – 5:00PM

Tastings: Walk Ins Welcome

Tasting Fee: $20.00 to taste 5 wines

Tours & Carneros Vineyard Property Tastings: By Appointment Only

Location: 22989 Burndale Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476

LAIRD

Laird Family Estates – The Laird Family is one of the oldest families in Napa Valley. They are the largest custom crush facility in Napa and house many high end wines. You could say they are the “care takers” of some Napa’s premium small winery brands. Along with storing some of Napa’s great wines they make a fabulous wines for themselves. Make sure to try the Chardonnay, Cabernet, Syrah, and Red Blends when you visit.

Tasting Room Hours: 10:00AM – 5:00PM Everyday

Tastings: Appointment Only

Tasting Fee: Standard Tasting – $20.00, Pyramid Tasting – $75.00

Tours: By Appointment

Location: 5055 Solano Ave, Napa, CA 94558

 

Antica Napa Valley – Fabulous wines & fun private tours. This is their second label as they are owned by an Italian company. So you can expect a lot of flavor from these wines!(http://www.anticanapavalley.com/) – need an appointment

Mumm – They have great sparklings and a really pretty view. You can have snacks here and hang out. They also have an art gallery you can check out on the property. (http://www.mummnapa.com/index.cfm?method=homepage.showpage) – walk ins welcome but it gets busy so I would suggest setting up an appointment

Raymond Vineyards: This is Napa’s “hipster” winery. They have great wines and funky tasting rooms. One room is totally encrusted in red velvet, another has crazy mirrors everywhere, and another has a 007 theme. An interesting tasting experience. (http://www.raymondvineyards.com/) – appointment only

Domaine Chandon: Also great sparklings. They have a funky and swag like atmosphere. Whenever I go here I end up chilling most of the day. Great outdoor patio, good food, and fun tastings. I would suggest making an appointment here because it gets busy. (http://www.chandon.com/) – walk ins welcome but it gets busy so I would suggest setting up an appointment

Chimney Rock: Fanatsic single vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon’s. Really pretty and relaxed tasting room. Make sure to make a reservation. http://www.chimneyrock.com/

Cade: This has been by far and away my most favorite cave tour. The wines are delicious and the views are incredible. I would suggest splurging for this tour. Request Kevin Green as your tour guide if you can. You need a reservation as they only service 40 people a day. http://www.cadewinery.com/

Del Dotto Vineyards: They have two places you can taste. The wines are great and I have heard great things about their tours. http://www.deldottovineyards.com

 

 

St. Helena/Calistoga:

Schweiger Vineyards They are on Spring Mountain (so high elevation and pretty view). They have a great barrel room tour and you can bring a picnic. Delicious Cabernet’s!  (http://www.schweigervineyards.com/index.html) – need an appointment

Benessere Vineyards: Really quaint winery. They make Italian style wines in the Napa area that are delicious. Really intimate tasting with an Italian vibe. You should make a reservation but they will most likely take walk ins. https://www.benesserevineyards.com/

Sterling – They have a tram that leads up to the top of their property. Great wines and a gorgeous view. It’s a little touristy but still a lot of fun. Very friendly staff. – walk ins welcome (http://www.sterlingvineyards.com/home)

Schramsberg: Best Champagne wine tour in the valley. You must make a reservation in advance. The wines are spectacular. http://www.schramsberg.com/

 

 

Sonoma:

Styker Sonoma – Very well known for their Zinfandels. They have a fabulous patio with a view as well. Super nice staff, can bring your dogs. Laid back with great wines.  (http://www.strykersonoma.com/) – need an appointment

Sonoma Cutrer- They have a Chardonnay in big grocery outlets, however they make some fabulous single vineyard wines. My favorite Chardonnay of theirs is Les Pierres and they have some fabulous Pinot Noir. Also they have a croquet court you hang out and play on while you sip wine and eat cheeses. (http://www.sonomacutrer.com/) – need an appointment

Gloria Ferrer– Fabulous view of Sonoma and great sparklings!! You can buy some cheese and meats from their store and chill on the patio with bubbles (http://www.gloriaferrer.com/) – walk ins welcome

Scribe Winery- They are very well known for their Pinot Noir’s. I would consider this Sonoma’s “hispter” winery. Most of the staff has crazy mustaches. Its a super laid back place. (http://www.scribewinery.com/) – appointment only

Domaine Carneros – They are owned by Tattinger. Super great sparklings. They have snacks for you if want while you taste. Also they have an interesting tour you can take which teaches you how to make champagne. I actually think it’s a very informative and fun tour. Also the view is incredible. It kind of reminds me of a palace. (http://www.domainecarneros.com/index.cfm) – need an appointment for a tour, but can walk in for a tasting

Three Stixx Winery at the Adobe

Restaurants:

Napa:

Oxbow Market – They have many small restaurants in the market as well as a wine shop, and mini grocer. It is one of the most well known culinary spots in the Napa Valley. Many winemakers and growers frequent her for lunch, dinner, and drinks.

Gott’s Roadside Grill – Fantastic gourmet burgers and tacos.

Angel Restaurant & Bar – This is one of Frank’s favorites! They have fantastic American dishes – steak, chicken, duck, and pasta to name a few. Also, great cocktails if you need a break from wine.

Brix – I haven’t eaten here but Frank loves it. I’ve heard they have really great brunch too.

Celadon – Great for a steak and American food. It feels like you are eating in a “secret garden”

Rutherford Grill – This is my favorite in the Napa area. Get the Rib-eye, seriously. Also, there is no corkage fee so you can bring your own wine if you prefer.

 

St. Helena:

Goose & Gander: Really great food and fun atmosphere. You can eat inside in the dark dining area or outside on their pretty patio.

Farmstead – Great food and really pretty restaurant. You can eat outdoors or indoors. Outdoors has a cool fireplace!

Cindy’s Kitchen – It’s on the back side of downtown St. Helena. Really great fresh dishes.

 

 

Yountville:

Bouchon – You need to make a reservation but it is delicious French food!

AdHoc – Great place for lunch if you are in the area. The fired chicken is insanely good, best in the valley.

Bistro Jeanty– Another place for great French food

Lucy’s – It is in the Bardassono hotel. I’ve only had appetizers here but it is a cool vibe, kind of reminds me of Miami and really great food.

Bottega’s – This is my favorite in Yountville. It is owned by Check Michael Chiarello and it never disappoints. Get the meatballs and the polenta in a jar! So good!

 

 

Below is a link to all the restaurants in the valley. I’m sure people will have other suggestions but these are some of my top places. And really you can’t go wrong with food out there.

 

Guide to Wine Country Restaurants: http://www.napavalley.winecountry.com/thingstodo/dining/featured.html

 

 

Other things do besides wine taste…

 

 

 

 

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