Napa Valley Vineyards

Wine Tasting

Views from a Winery...

O.K. it's all true. You can go to winemakers in a beautiful valley and drink incredible wines. The views are beyond belief and the wines are the finest in the world. Napa Valley is a great way to spend the day. Make sure to plan on a lunch and to see around three to five wineries. Large wineries have more extensive facilities and tours, but small wineries can provide a personal experience.

Drive to the Napa Valley and see beautiful and tours. Highway 29, North of the City of Napa is where most wineries are concentrated. For real fun & relaxation, stay over in Napa. If possible, avoid weekends when it is extremely busy in Napa. Also, Napa Valley is MUCH hotter than San Francisco so dress accordingly.

A More Relaxing Choice is Sonoma...

An alternative for the Underground Traveler, is the less busy and more personal area of Sonoma County. Sonoma also has many wineries, farms and restaurants and a historic downtown. Even on a weekend, winetasters can enjoy a much more laid back and enjoyable experience in Sonoma than the congested, high-priced, tourist trap of Napa. Unlike Napa where there's just one long valley where everyone goes, Sonoma is made up of many beautiful and individual winegrowing appellations.

You could think of them as the neighborhoods of the wine country. There's the valley of Sonoma itself (with the town of Sonoma and the old Mission), Alexander Valley (one of the choicest grape growing regions in the world), Dry Creek Valley (near Healdsburg and the beautiful Lake Sonoma), and the Russian River Valley near Clear Lake.

In addition, most wineries in Napa, nowadays, are charging for tasting! It's true that tourists hardly ever hear about Sonoma, but that's what makes it such an "underground" winetasting destination.

The USA Today agrees in an article, "Sonoma County's Serene Scene". The bland rag recommends Sonoma over "Traffic and tourist-choked Napa" with a resident's quote: "Napa is a beautiful place, but they have that tourist mentality. Sonoma is more farmer's country, more family-oriented. Workin' people." Check out the road less traveled my friends -- Andy.

Best Napa Winery Tours

Wine Country Lodging

Napa Valley Recommended Wineries

Napa Wine Train

Castello di Armorosa - Winery in a castle

Rombauer Winery

Rutherford Hill Winery

Clos du Val Winery

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

Dean and Deluca Grocery and Cafe

V. Sattui Winery

Plumpjack Winery

Guided Tours Are Available

We've visited Napa Valley wineries many times, but our wine tour with is the best visit we ever had. Eliminating driving, meeting family winemakers, enjoying a wonderful ready-to-go picnic gourmet fresh lunch -- everything was perfect. The affordable costs of approximately $95 depending on group size and tour, plus any transportation from San Francisco make this a great choice for small groups including families and bridal showers.

For $42, borefest leader Greyline will drive you from San Francisco's "Transbay" bus terminal (scary place) over both the Bay & Golden Gate bridge and all over Napa and Sonoma to six wineries for free tastings. However, our feedback on this is pretty poor, at least the "Sipping & Shopping." (see italics below)The nine hour tour includes a tour of the cutesy town of Sonoma and a shopping center. But most important, you can drink all you want and don't need to rent a car or risk driving inebriated (illegal in California and USA). So, it's a rip-off but an easy alternative. Don't expect to find cool people on the Greyline though, it attracts a more boring crowd than visits SFTravel.

Check out our feedback on Greyline from J.C., "I took the wine country tour called "Sipping & Shopping" with Grayline, due to time constraints. They only stop at one (Viansi). They limit you on your samples to 4, kind of a rip. Also they only stop for about 1 hour, the rest of the time they drive at a snails pace through San Fran filling you in on info you've seen or heard, or they try to recommend restaurants to you which are total tourist traps."

Best Wineries in Napa Valley