At last count, there were more than 450 wineries in Napa Valley. Some favorites, both for the quality of wine and the experience of visiting the tasting room and grounds, include:
Beaulieu Vineyard, Rutherford: founded in 1900 and set in a stately building offering full tours and tastings.
Castello di Amorosa, Calistoga: the owner of esteemed V. Sattui Winery opened this incredible 121,000-square-foot castle in 2007. The artwork and architecture makes for a truly memorable experience.
Chimney Rock, Napa: set in an ornate white building in northern Napa along the Silverado Trail.
Clos Pegase, Calistoga: Michael Graves designed this striking, contemporary winery that produces high-caliber wines.
Domaine Chandon, Yountville: one of Napa’s preeminent destinations for sparkling wine.
Franciscan Estate, St. Helena: among the prettiest of the wineries along Highway 29, with tastings offered in the tranquil courtyard during the warmer months.
Rutherford Hill Winery, Rutherford: occupies a handsome barnlike building; bring a lunch to enjoy an al fresco meal at the winery’s lovely Olive Grove Picnic Area. It’s just up the lane from the sumptuous wine country resort, Auberge du Soleil.
Stag’s Leap, Napa: beautiful patio and gardens, famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon having beaten out several top French wines in a blind taste test in 1976.
Sterling Vineyards, Calistoga: the experience here involves taking an aerial tram up to the hilltop villa and winery.
Finding a restaurant
If you want to book a reservation at any of the dining establishments mentioned, here’s a quick recap of them and their website.
Calistoga Kitchen, CalistogaKitchen.com.
Carpe Diem, CarpeDiemWineBar.com.
The French Laundry, FrenchLaundry.com.
Longmeadow Ranch Winery and Farmstead, LongmeadowRanch.com.
Oxbow Market, OxbowPublicMarket.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 27, 2015.