Visiting Napa wineries
The Napa wineries are something every wine lover should see at some point in his or her life. Every step of the winemaking process, from the crushing of the grapes to the bottling of the wine, is carried out at the winery. Learning about this work from the people who do it for a living will deepen your appreciation of the ancient art of viticulture.
If you’re going to a small winery, call ahead of time and make an appointment so they know when to expect you and have someone there to talk to you. Many Napa wineries have permit restrictions and can only accommodate a certain number of visitors each day, and have scheduled tastings at specific times. If you’re planning to visit during the tourist season, schedule your appointments weeks in advance to be sure of seeing the Napa wineries you want to visit.
Tasting fees can be anywhere from $5 to $50 per person — more if you plan on including lunch or an educational experience such as a tour, class or seminar. Tipping is not necessary, although if you are bringing a large group you may wish to do it anyway.
You may want to join a wine club while you’re in Napa. Membership in a wine club can offer you savings on the wines you buy.
One of the best Napa wineries near St. Helena
Some of the best California wines come from Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley. Just a 10-minute drive from downtown St. Helena, these vineyards produce world-class wines at affordable prices. The vineyard is a 40-acre estate just south of Howell Mountain. Instead of a busy tasting room, the vineyard offers you the chance to meet the owners and wine-makers and taste excellent wine stored in a cave. Wine Merchants Gourmet includes them in one of its Middle Valley tours.
An example of what this winery has to offer is the Signature Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that comes only from the best of the vintage. The 2011 Signature Cab is an intensely dark purple and red wine with an intense aroma of dark berries, smoke, blue flowers, anise and other spices, tar and minerals. It tastes as good as it smells, with a fruity palate of blackberries and blueberries with hints of violets, licorice and smoke. This is a rare vintage, produced in a cool year when yields were low.
Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards has been owned and operated by the Anderson family since 1983. Anderson’s wines are sold online and in five locations in Napa Valley, and many other locations nationwide. By ordering six bottles or more per year, you can join their wine club, giving you discounts on many of their finest wines.