Napa and Sonoma

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Napa and Sonoma - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Acorn Winery

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    A throwback to the era when a hardworking couple forsook sensible careers and went all-in to become grape growers and vintners, this low-tech...

    A throwback to the era when a hardworking couple forsook sensible careers and went all-in to become grape growers and vintners, this low-tech yet classy operation has earned high praise for wines that include Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and the rare-in-America Italian varietal Dolcetto. The gracious Betsy and Bill Nachbaur share their output in a garage-style, appointment-only tasting room amid their Alegría Vineyard. Each Acorn wine is a field blend of multiple grape varietals grown side by side and then crushed and fermented together. In the wrong hands, this old-world approach produces muddled, negligible wines, but these, made by Bill in consultation with local winemaker Clay Mauritson, soar.

    12040 Old Redwood Hwy., south of Limerick La., Healdsburg, California, 95448, USA
    707-433–6440

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tasting $15
  • 2. Aperture Cellars

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    As a youth, Jesse Katz tagged along with his photographer father, Andy Katz, to wineries worldwide, stimulating curiosity about wine that led...

    As a youth, Jesse Katz tagged along with his photographer father, Andy Katz, to wineries worldwide, stimulating curiosity about wine that led to stints at august operations like the Napa Valley's Screaming Eagle and Bordeaux's Petrús. In 2009, still in his 20s, Katz started Aperture, a success from the get-go for his single-vineyard Cabernets and Bordeaux blends. Among the whites are Sauvignon Blanc and an old-vine Chenin Blanc that's one of California's best. Katz's wines, which benefit from rigorous farming and cellar techniques, are presented by appointment only in an ultracontemporary hospitality center that opened in 2020 about 2½ miles south of Healdsburg Plaza. One tasting explores Aperture's various wine-growing sites, the other the single-vineyard wines. The center's shutterlike windows and other architectural elements evoke Andy Katz's photography career; his images of the Russian River Valley and beyond hang on the walls.

    12291 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg, California, 95448, USA
    707-200–7891

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $50
  • 3. Arista Winery

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Brothers Mark and Ben McWilliams own this winery specializing in small-lot Pinot Noirs that was founded in 2002 by their parents. The sons have...

    Brothers Mark and Ben McWilliams own this winery specializing in small-lot Pinot Noirs that was founded in 2002 by their parents. The sons have raised the winery's profile in several ways, most notably by hiring winemaker Matt Courtney, who has earned high praise from the Wine Spectator and other publications for his balanced, richly textured Pinot Noirs. Courtney shows the same deft touch with Arista's Zinfandels, Chardonnays, and a Riesling. One tasting focuses the regions from which the Arista sources its grapes, another on small-lot single-vineyard wines. Tastings are by appointment only. Guests who purchase a bottle are welcome to enjoy it in the picnic area, near a Japanese garden that predates the winery.

    7015 Westside Rd., Healdsburg, California, 95448, USA
    707-473–0606

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings $35–$65
  • 4. Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    Here's your best opportunity in the western Wine Country to wander amid Sequoia sempervirens, also known as coast redwood trees. The oldest...

    Here's your best opportunity in the western Wine Country to wander amid Sequoia sempervirens, also known as coast redwood trees. The oldest example in this 805-acre state park, the Colonel Armstrong Tree, is thought to be more than 1,400 years old. A half mile from the parking lot, the tree is easily accessible, and you can hike a long way into the forest before things get too hilly. During hot summer days, Armstrong Redwoods's tall trees help the park keep its cool.

    17000 Armstrong Woods Rd., off River Rd., Guerneville, California, 95446, USA
    707-869–2958-for visitor center

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $8 per vehicle, free to pedestrians and bicyclists
  • 5. Ashes & Diamonds

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Barbara Bestor's sleek white design for this appointment-only winery's glass-and-metal tasting space evokes mid-century modern architecture...

    Barbara Bestor's sleek white design for this appointment-only winery's glass-and-metal tasting space evokes mid-century modern architecture and with it the era and wines before the Napa Valley's rise to prominence. Two much-heralded pros lead the wine-making team assembled by record producer Kashy Khaledi: Steve Matthiasson, known for his classic, restrained style and attention to viticultural detail, and Diana Snowden Seysses, who draws on experiences in Burgundy, Provence, and California. Bordeaux varietals are the focus, most notably Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc but also the white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon and even the rosé (of Cabernet Franc). With a label designer who was also responsible for a Jay-Z album cover and interiors that recall the Mad Men in Palm Springs story arc, the pitch seems unabashedly to millennials, but the wines, low in alcohol and with higher acidity (good for aging), enchant connoisseurs of all stripes.

    4130 Howard La., Napa, California, 94558, USA
    707-666–4777

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $40
  • 6. Bedrock Wine Co.

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Zinfandel and other varietals grown in heritage vineyards throughout California are the focus of Bedrock, a young winery whose backstory involves...

    Zinfandel and other varietals grown in heritage vineyards throughout California are the focus of Bedrock, a young winery whose backstory involves several historical figures. Tastings take place in a home east of Sonoma Plaza owned in the 1850s by General Joseph Hooker. By coincidence, Hooker planted grapes at what's now the estate Bedrock Vineyard a few miles away. General William Tecumseh Sherman was his partner in the vineyard (a spat over it affected their Civil War interactions), which newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst's father, George, replanted in the late 1880s. Some Hearst vines still produce grapes, whose current owner-winemaker, Morgan Twain-Peterson, learned about Zinfandel from his dad, Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson. Twain-Peterson's bottlings, many of them field blends containing multiple varietals grown and fermented together, are as richly textured as his winery's prehistory.

    General Joseph Hooker House, 414 1st St. E, Sonoma, California, 95476, USA
    707-343–1478

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $30, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 7. Belden Barns

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Experiencing the enthusiasm this winery's owners radiate supplies half the pleasure of a visit to Lauren and Nate Belden's Sonoma Mountain vineyard...

    Experiencing the enthusiasm this winery's owners radiate supplies half the pleasure of a visit to Lauren and Nate Belden's Sonoma Mountain vineyard, where at elevation 1,000 feet they grow fruit for their all-estate lineup. Grüner Veltliner, a European white grape, isn't widely planted in California, but the crisp yet softly rounded wine they produce from it makes a case for an increase. Critics also hail the Grenache, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and a nectarlike late-harvest Viognier, but you're apt to like anything poured. Tastings take place in a high-ceilinged former milking barn whose broad doorway frames a view of grapevines undulating toward a hilltop. The Beldens tailor visits to guests' interests but will nearly always whisk you into the vineyard, past a 2-acre organic garden, and over to a wishing tree whose results Lauren swears by. The tasting fee here is a two-bottle purchase per adult.

    5561 Sonoma Mountain Rd., Santa Rosa, California, 95404, USA
    415-577–8552

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $50 (for two bottles)
  • 8. Benovia Winery

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Winemaker Mike Sullivan's Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs would taste marvelous even in a toolshed, but guests to Benovia's unassumingly chic Russian...

    Winemaker Mike Sullivan's Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs would taste marvelous even in a toolshed, but guests to Benovia's unassumingly chic Russian River Valley ranch house will never know. Appointment-only tastings of his critically acclaimed wines take place in the brown-hued living room or on the open-air patio. From either vantage point, the views of the estate Martaella Vineyard all the way to Mt. St. Helena draw the eye. Opting for a minimalistic approach in two Chardonnays from Martinelli family grapes, Sullivan subtly emphasizes the minerality in a wine from the Three Sisters Vineyard in the coastal Fort Ross–Seaview AVA. By contrast, he lets a hint of California ripeness express itself in La Pommeraie, from Zio Tony Ranch in the warmer Russian River Valley. The same scenario plays out with the estate Tilton Hill and Cohn Pinot Noirs, the former from cooler Freestone, the latter from fruit grown farther inland.

    3339 Hartman La., Santa Rosa, California, 95401, USA
    707-921–1040

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $30
  • 9. Blue Farm Wines

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Anne Moller-Racke, founder of the Pinot Noir powerhouse the Donum Estate and its president for nearly two decades, established this smaller...

    Anne Moller-Racke, founder of the Pinot Noir powerhouse the Donum Estate and its president for nearly two decades, established this smaller label also devoted to serious Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Moller-Racke, who describes herself as a winegrower in the French vigneron tradition that places agriculture at the pinnacle of wine making, practices "precision farming" to produce the best possible fruit. Hosts of private tastings at her 13-acre estate explain her philosophy and the five Sonoma County appellations where she cultivates grapes. Anchored by a circa-1880 Victorian and adjacent pump house, the former horse farm is now planted to 7 acres of grapes. Near the residence, a formidable century-old pepper tree and a rose garden with dozens of varieties catch the eye, the Mayacamas Mountains supplying the idyllic setting's backdrop. The appointment-only winery requests prospective guests inquire about visits at least 48 hours in advance.

    San Luis Rd., Off Hwy. 12, Sonoma, California, 95476 , USA
    707-721–6773

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tasting $55, Closed weekends
  • 10. Cāpo Creek Ranch

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Halfway through a wine-and-food pairing at this serenely rustic Dry Creek Valley winery you may find yourself asking not only "How does she...

    Halfway through a wine-and-food pairing at this serenely rustic Dry Creek Valley winery you may find yourself asking not only "How does she do it?"—"she" being Dr. Mary Roy, Cāpo Creek Ranch's proprietor, winemaker, chef, and hostess with the mostest—but also how does she make it look so easy? The answer might simply be that running a winery isn't likely to faze someone who raised six kids while operating a bustling radiological imaging center. Whatever the reason, in "retirement" Roy has created a magical showcase for her mostly Rhône-style whites and reds (the stars) along with Cabernet Sauvignon, estate old-vine Zinfandel, and numerous blends. Most tastings occur outdoors facing east toward the heritage-Zin vineyard, with the cave and the tasting room alternative possibilities. All tastings involve Roy's food, but a worthwhile splurge is the six-course Ultimate Food & Wine Pairing, which lives up to its name.

    7171 W. Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg, California, 95448, USA
    707-608–8448

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $70
  • 11. Cartograph Wines

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    The husband-wife team behind Cartograph believes in Pinot Noirs emphasizing "balance, nuance, and complexity, rather than power and intensity...

    The husband-wife team behind Cartograph believes in Pinot Noirs emphasizing "balance, nuance, and complexity, rather than power and intensity." To that end they select vineyard sites based on climate and clone compatibility, harvest their grapes on the early side, and intervene as little as possible during the wine-making process. The resulting wines please on their own and pair well with food. Unlike many Sonoma County Pinot producers, Cartograph eschews Chardonnay for its still whites, opting instead for the Alsatian grapes Gewürztraminer and Riesling, both done in a refreshingly crisp and dry style. Chardonnay does, however, appear in the winery's two sparkling wines. All visits to the storefront space a block northeast of Healdsburg Plaza are by appointment (call for same-day).

    340 Center St., Healdsburg, California, 95448, USA
    707-433–8270

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $25, Closed Mon.
  • 12. Chenoweth Wines

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Distinguished producers like Patz & Hall and Kosta Browne make wines from grapes farmed by the Chenoweth family, whose ancestors settled...

    Distinguished producers like Patz & Hall and Kosta Browne make wines from grapes farmed by the Chenoweth family, whose ancestors settled in the redwood-studded hills northwest of Sebastopol in the mid-1800s. In 2000, Charlie Chenoweth converted apple orchards to vineyards, in recent years reserving some of the grapes for his wife, Amy, to craft the namesake Chardonnay, rosé of Pinot Noir, and Pinot Noirs. Uniformly excellent, they alone warrant a visit to the 600-acre property, but the down-home hospitality and hardworking but fun-loving family vibe elevate the experience exponentially. For lofty Russian River Valley perspectives few other wineries can supply, book the ATV Tasting Tour, stopping for sips where the wines' grapes are grown. As with the other appointment-only sessions, the gregarious Amy sometimes hosts these herself. If you can't make it to the ranch, Region in The Barlow pours some Chenoweth wines.

    5550 Harrison Grade Rd., Sebastopol, California, 95472, USA
    707-829–3367

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $45, Closed Fri., Sun., and Mon.
  • 13. Cliff Lede Vineyards

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Inspired by his passion for classic rock, owner and construction magnate Cliff Lede named the blocks in his Stags Leap District vineyard after...

    Inspired by his passion for classic rock, owner and construction magnate Cliff Lede named the blocks in his Stags Leap District vineyard after hits by the Grateful Dead and other bands. The vibe at his efficient, high-tech winery is anything but laid-back, however. Cutting-edge agricultural and enological science informs the vineyard management and wine making here. Architect Howard Backen designed the winery and its tasting room, where Lede's Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignons, and other wines, along with some from sister winery FEL, which produces much-lauded Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, are poured. Walk-ins are welcome at the tasting bar, but appointments are required for the veranda outside and a nearby gallery that often displays rock-related art.

    1473 Yountville Cross Rd., off Silverado Trail, Yountville, California, 94599, USA
    707-944–8642

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings $30–$50
  • 14. Corison Winery

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Respected for three 100% Cabernet Sauvignons, Corison Winery harks back to simpler days, with tastings either amid oak barrels inside an unadorned...

    Respected for three 100% Cabernet Sauvignons, Corison Winery harks back to simpler days, with tastings either amid oak barrels inside an unadorned, barnlike facility or alfresco in view of the half century–old Kronos Vineyard. The straightforward approach suits the style of Cathy Corison. One of post-1960s Napa Valley's first women owner-winemakers, she eschews blending because she believes her sunny St. Helena AVA vineyards (and other selected sites) can ripen Cabernet better than anywhere else in the world. Critics tend to agree with her approach, often waxing ecstatic about these classic wines. Discovery tastings, a showcase of current releases—and always a Cabernet—begin with a brief look at Kronos. Library tastings, which start with a winery and vineyard tour, include recent releases and older vintages that together illustrate Corison's consistency as a winemaker and how gracefully her wines mature. Tastings are by appointment.

    987 St. Helena Hwy., St. Helena, California, 94574, USA
    707-963–0826

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $55
  • 15. Domaine Carneros

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    A visit to this majestic château is an opulent way to enjoy the Carneros District—especially in fine weather, when the vineyard views are spectacular...

    A visit to this majestic château is an opulent way to enjoy the Carneros District—especially in fine weather, when the vineyard views are spectacular. The château was modeled after an 18th-century French mansion owned by the Taittinger family. Carved into the hillside beneath the winery, the cellars produce sparkling wines reminiscent of those made by Taittinger, using only Los Carneros AVA grapes. The winery sells flights and glasses of its sparklers, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and other wines. Enjoy them all with cheese and charcuterie plates, caviar, or smoked salmon. Seating is in the Louis XV–inspired salon or on the terrace overlooking the vines. The tour covers traditional methods of making sparkling wines. Tours and tastings are by appointment only.

    1240 Duhig Rd., Napa, California, 94559, USA
    707-257–0101

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings $10–$250, tour $50, Tastings from $12, tour $50
  • 16. Dry Creek Peach & Produce

    Farm/Ranch

    If you happen by this farm stand in the summer, don't pass up the chance to sample the tree-ripened white and yellow peaches, some of which...

    If you happen by this farm stand in the summer, don't pass up the chance to sample the tree-ripened white and yellow peaches, some of which may have been harvested moments before you arrived. You can buy peaches in small quantities, as well as organic peach jam. How good are these peaches? Customers include the famed Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley. The stand is only open from July to mid-September between noon and 5 on Wednesday, Friday, and the weekend.

    2179 Yoakim Bridge Rd., near Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg, California, 95448, USA
    707-433–8121

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed mid-Sept.–June and Mon., Tues., and Thurs. July–mid-Sept.
  • 17. Dutton-Goldfield Winery

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    An avid cyclist whose previous credits include developing the wine-making program at Hartford Court, Dan Goldfield teamed up with fifth-generation...

    An avid cyclist whose previous credits include developing the wine-making program at Hartford Court, Dan Goldfield teamed up with fifth-generation farmer Steve Dutton to establish this small operation devoted to cool-climate wines. Goldfield modestly strives to take Dutton's meticulously farmed fruit and "make the winemaker unnoticeable," but what impresses the most about these wines, which include Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel, is their sheer artistry. Among the ones to seek out are the Angel Camp Pinot Noir, from Anderson Valley (Mendocino County) grapes, and the Morelli Lane Zinfandel, from grapes grown on the remaining 1.8 acres of an 1880s vineyard Goldfield helped revive. Tastings often begin with Pinot Blanc, a white-wine variant of Pinot Noir, proceed through the reds, and end with a palate-cleansing Chardonnay.

    3100 Gravenstein Hwy. N/Hwy. 116, at Graton Rd., Sebastopol, California, 95472, USA
    707-827–3600

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings $20–$40
  • 18. Elyse Winery

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    One of his colleagues likens Elyse's winemaker, Russell Bevan, to "a water witch without the walking stick" for his ability to assess a vineyard...

    One of his colleagues likens Elyse's winemaker, Russell Bevan, to "a water witch without the walking stick" for his ability to assess a vineyard's weather, soil, and vine positioning and intuit how particular viticultural techniques will affect wines' flavors. Bevan farms judiciously during the growing season, striving later in the cellar to preserve what nature and his efforts have yielded rather than rely on heavy manipulation. Under previous owners for three-plus decades (until 2018), Elyse became known for single-vineyard Zinfandels and Cabernet Sauvignons, with Merlot, Petite Sirah, and red blends other strong suits. A country lane edged by vines leads to this unassuming winery, whose tastings, often outdoors, have a backyard-casual feel. Costing much less than the average Napa Valley Cab, Elyse's Holbrook Mitchell Cabernet Sauvignon holds its own against peers priced appreciably higher.

    2100 Hoffman La., Napa, California, 94558, USA
    707-944–2900

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $50
  • 19. En Garde Winery

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Sommeliers, critics, and collectors extol the Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons of Csaba Szakál, En Garde's Hungarian-born winemaker and owner...

    Sommeliers, critics, and collectors extol the Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons of Csaba Szakál, En Garde's Hungarian-born winemaker and owner. Striving to create what he describes as "aromatic, complex, lush, and juicy" wines, Szakál selects top Sonoma County vineyards for the Pinots and the Napa Valley's Diamond Mountain, Mt. Veeder, and other high-elevation sites for the Cabernets. Not afraid to heavy up the oak on the Cabernets, he nevertheless achieves elegance as well. The winemaker is equally precise about hiring staffers for his modest highway's-edge tasting room along Kenwood's brief commercial strip. Well-acquainted with his goals and methods, they provide a wealth of knowledge about wine making and California viticulture. If you're lucky, Szakál himself will be around to discuss his wines (he loves to), which also include Chardonnay, Viognier, and rosé of Pinot Noir. Visits are by reservation, with same-day appointments sometimes possible.

    9077 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood, California, 95452, USA
    707-282–9216

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings from $25
  • 20. Flambeaux Wine

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    A family with deep ties to New Orleans founded this winery named for the dancing torchbearers at Mardi Gras. Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon...

    A family with deep ties to New Orleans founded this winery named for the dancing torchbearers at Mardi Gras. Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon that go into separate bottlings and jointly into a crisp summery rosé flourish in the iron-rich estate Flambeaux Vineyard, up a winding road on the Dry Creek Valley AVA's western slope. Ryan Prichard, also of Sonoma's Three Sticks Wines, has been making these wines plus a Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, a Cabernet Sauvignon from sourced grapes, and a few others since the first (2014) vintage. Most people sample these wines in Windsor at Grand Cru Custom Crush, where they're made, but for a more intimate introduction arrange a terrace tasting at the estate vineyard. The Crescent City hospitality and views across the valley to Geyser Peak uplift the experience all the more.

    1333 Jack Pine Rd., Healdsburg, California, 95448, USA
    707-637–9019

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings $30 at Grand Cru, $50 at vineyard

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