When it comes to finding delightful places to go wine tasting in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, there are a number of gorgeous wineries throughout the sprawling area. From enchanting gardens in Napa Valley to vineyard vistas in Sonoma County, below are four charming places for wine tastings, tours, and events.
Charming Wine Tastings in Napa Valley & Sonoma County
Far Niente Winery
A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of doing a private tour and tasting at the legendary Far Niente Winery in Oakville. Driving up the famed Highway 29 in the heart of wine country, on the left side of the road, the iconic Napa Valley welcome sign greets its happy visitors. Just beyond the sign lies the beautiful Far Niente vineyard, with a peek of the historic estate atop the hillside in the far distance.
Established in 1885 by John Benson, this award-winning winery went through its share of hardship in earlier days. During the Prohibition Era, the winery was forced to shut-down and the estate subsequently fell into disrepair.
It wasn’t until the late 1970s when Gil Nickel purchased the property. Within three years, he restored it to its full glory and ultimately got it placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As a leading producer of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, Far Niente Winery is also home to one of my favorite dessert wine brands – Dolce (which is also known as “Liquid Gold”). Not only are the wines here exceptional for tasting, but the guided tour of the cave, estate, and surrounding gardens make for a truly delightful experience.
Being one of the most notable (and picturesque) wineries in Napa Valley, this is definitely one we’d recommend.
Nickel & Nickel Winery
Another charming place for a wine tour & tasting is Far Niente’s sister brand – Nickel & Nickel Winery in Oakville. This highly-regarded winery produces top-notch, single-vineyard wines on a gorgeous ranch style property.
The guided 90-minute tour & tasting leads guests through the property’s “historic farmstead, underground barrel cellar, and state-of-the-art winery.” During the tour, we learned everything from how the wines were made to the interesting effect that the terrain has on the vines (due to soil variances). We also had the chance to taste a variety of Cabernet Sauvignons wines, in addition to learning food & wine pairing tips from our guide.
One of my favorite aspects of the tour was the chance to explore the breathtaking property. From vibrant gardens bursting with color to traditional Americana architecture, like the authentic barn (built in the 1700’s), the whole setting was truly captivating.
The warm, welcoming atmosphere and enchanting setting have a way of making you feel like you were transported back in time – to an era when life was slower, and that was a good thing.
If you love red wines, Nickel & Nickel is definitely one to add to your list.
Grgich Hills Estate
If you’re in the mood for a casual wine tasting (that offers a taste of something different), head to Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford for a Seated Tasting with Pizza. Not only is this a fun way to wine and dine in the heart of Napa Valley (while overlooking their picturesque vineyard), it’s also an opportunity to bring your dog too!
Hosted on the property’s Ranch House deck that offers sweeping vineyard vistas and comfortable seating, it’s a charming spot to relax and unwind on a warm Summer day.
Under the shady grove of trees, enjoy learning about the brand’s portfolio of wines, while noshing away on gourmet, freshly-made pizzas that have been paired perfectly with the winery’s limited production of specialty wines.
Each tasting enables you to discover five delicious wines that they produce – including varietals like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and more.
In addition to offering the pizza and wine tasting, they also offer wine tastings and tours (which are open to the public daily), private events for club members, and even their annual Grape Stomping celebration (in August).
This delightful winery is a great place to visit, whether you come for the wine, the food, or even the atmosphere.
Soda Rock Winery
If you’re in the mood for a festive soirèe, then it’s worth your while to venture northward toward Sonoma Valley. There in Healdsburg, you’ll discover Soda Rock Winery – a charming historic winery in Alexander Valley that dates back to the late 1800s and was restored in 2000 when Ken and Diane Wilson purchased the landmark.
On June 22, 2019, Experience Rosé is hosting The Great Rosé Infusion for Summer Event at Soda Rock Winery. As a celebration of Rosé, this “curated consumer event and immersive experience” is “an extension of Experience Rosé: The 2019 Competition” (which was held in May at Soda Rock).
“Experience Rosé is all about providing extraordinary experiences for everyone who revels in our passion for Rosé and its infinite possibilities all year-long – foodie to newbie, winemaker to chef,” says Experience Rosé Co-Founder and Producer Craig Palmer.
“There is a burgeoning appetite for all things rosé,” states Experience Rosé Co-Founder Allen Habel. “Our goal is to showcase excellence, and the Competition sets that standard. This year we evaluated not only the best in rosé wines, but in rosé-infused spirits, beers and ciders. This is a first-of-its-kind idea for a public event.”
At this year’s event, guests are invited to “mix, mingle and taste in spaciously set-out themed tasting areas… designed to illustrate how readily rosé pairs with so many different cuisines.” In addition to offering a variety of different wines to taste, guest chefs will be serving gourmet food pairings.
What better way to celebrate the season than with a beautiful Rosé party in wine country?! Yes Way Rosé!
For more inspiring travel ideas and fun celebrations, visit the Travel and Special Events sections on I&C.
[Complimentary tours provided by Far Niente Winery, Nickel & Nickel Winery, and Grgich Hills Estate.]