First Napa Trip and hotel Offers


Planning a first trip to Napa with my girlfriend and have many questions. I’ve read through some report threads and some recommendations which have been helpful.

  1. Where should we visit? Thinking 5 wineries total over our two days there. We’ll be staying in St Helena.

I’d love to go taste great wines, and if they’re in a great setting that wouldn’t hurt either, but the quality of the wine is what I’m most interested in. I’m fairly early in my wine discovery, but so far I prefer Cabs over Pinot. My favorite Cab I’ve tried so far was from Heitz Cellar (2017 Napa Valley).

So far I have: Diamond Creek, Mayacamas estate booked. Would like to book Quintessa when availability opens up.

  1. I reached out to our hotel and they gave us a list of wineries with which they partner. Any of these worth looking into?
  • Merryvale
  • Markham
  • Frank Family
  • Faust
  • Freemark Abbey
  • Spring Mountain Vineyard
  • Paraduxx
  • Ballantine
  • Beringer
  1. Question on storage after the trip.

I am hoping we’ll buy a good amount of wine on this trip, some of which we may want to save for a long time. I also know that I won’t be staying in my current living situation long term and will be moving 1+ times soon and I currently live in an apartment. This may be best for a separate thread entirely, but how would you manage storage going forward? I could get a small wine fridge but is that good if we’re going to move over the next few years?

Thanks for any advice!

1 Like

I’m not “up” on Napa but Berlinger is a great visit. Beautiful.

Get a driver or Uber between visits. Two or three wineries a day will be plenty.

Rent space at a wine storage place till you are settled.

Others will opine.


Off the top of my head, Smith-Madrone and Tench Vineyards are 2 smaller “more intimate” experiences and both offer fantastic wines.


Email me at and I’d be happy to make some reco’s for you on drivers, wineries, restaurants, etc.



1 Like

Those are two great visits. I agree with the others, get a car and driver. It took me a long time to realize that two visits a day with lunch in between is ideal.


Nothing wrong with the wineries you are considering, Diamond Creek is top 10 for me but the others aren’t worth it, in my opinion. Quintessa is great also, but is mass produced. Most of the others are also mass produced, and honestly there are so many amazing ones worth prioritizing over those in your list. See below some of my personal favorites. NOTE: many of these are not cheap, but the quality of wine is top notch. I gave you options which are open to the public, and you can reach out to them via their website/email to inquire about visiting

The Vineyardist
Vice Versa
Sinegal Estate
Sodhani Estate
Opus One (mass produced, but worth it - particularly when looking to get introduced to “better” Napa wines)
Bella Oaks
Accendo Cellars

I am also happy to make introductions where I can. Feel free to DM also, happy to help!



Great tasting experience at Rivers Marie. You can reserve one of the islands for a picnic at Montelena.


By Diamond Creek - as others mentioned, Rivers Marie, and a “sister” property Mending Wall. All wines made by Thomas Rivers Brown. RM is Cab, Pinot and Chard, whereas MW is Cab, Petite Sirah, and a few red and white blends that are interesting. So maybe look at MW if you aren’t a big Pinot drinker.

While by Mayacamas you are near Jean Edwards and Elyse. Jean Edwards makes some great Cabs but also Syrah, Merlot, Rose and a few whites. Elyse makes Cab, Zin, blends, Petite Sirah, several whites, etc. It is part of the 2100 Hoffman Estate portfolio so they will pour stuff from a few other labels too.


My $0.02 is to book small more intimate wineries and skip all the big names ones. You can try all those larger production wines at home by buying bottles locally. Folks around here can suggest some phenomenal wineries to try to taste at. You may want to state your price point as well

I normally do 3 tastings a day - one in the morning, then lunch, then 2 in the afternoon. It doesn’t feel rushed at all. More than 3 can make a challenging day and would definitely benefit from the wineries being relatively close in proximity.

Hire a driver. Uber can be unreliable if you get out of the main towns. You can pay someone to drive your car if you want to save money or book a professional driver for the day. Or commit to spitting.

A few wineries I’d recommend for excellent qpr:
La Pelle
Di Costanzo
Jean Edwards
Rivers Marie

If you want to do a special tasting check out what K Laz offers for their tastings. You can go super high end with their centurion or optimum offerings. Not cheap but a good deal relative to paying for those wines yourself to try


Definitely need to try La Pelle!

1 Like

Pride Mountain is always a good winery to visit. Great wine and the tour is super wine geeky with the property splitting Napa and Sonoma.


I’m planning a similar trip so looking forward to suggestions. I’ve pretty much stopped buying Cabernet until I have a chance to get out there. My plan is to hit Bedrock and do an early tasting before getting in to Napa. Park the car and then have 2 solid days of tastings. On recommendation I know I want to hit Di Co, Rivers Marie, Forman and Drinkward Peschon.


Completely agree with this recommendation.

To that end, my recommendations would be: Sherwin Family and Barnett up on Spring Mountain and William Cole on the Napa floor.


If you do Rivers Marie, you need to taste with @William_Segui, too (William & Mary). Literally next door.


Venge !


Why not focus on the producers that make the wines you love, or covet? The experience will be more personal as they’ll understand your interest.

FWIW, Diamond Creek is one of the top wineries in Napa and a beautiful place to visit.

1 Like

I agree diamond creek is amazing and absolutely beautiful. But price wise, its gone a bit crazy since new owners took over. Had to drop at that point.


All of the above are fantastic recommendations and I would definitely second:

Rivers Marie
William & Mary
Di Costanzo

Others I didn’t see yet that are great are Memento Mori, Blankiet (best cheese board we’ve had in Napa), Arrow & Branch, and for a fun bubbly experience to mix it up if interested Schramsberg cave tour is awesome


Agree that the venerable Beringer is a lovely setting. All of the places mentioned here are good options.
Also agree that smaller wineries can offer a great experience. Hit up @Bobby_Moy at Chiron (appointment is necessary) for a great intimate tasting.
The 2-a-day rule is sage advice. Otherwise you will absolutely set yourself up for feeing rushed, especially when you factor in lunch and driving (how’s traffic on the 29?). Consider your wineries’ proximity to each other when booking visits.
Regarding Diamond Creek, just looked at their site, and…yow!
The cost is $225 per person and is not offset by purchases due to our very limited production.”. So, you guys are in for a non-negotiable $450 just walking in the door.
That dovetails into something that gets mentioned here on the regular: Make 100% sure you know the wineries’ tasting fees and policies, especially regarding whether the tasting fee is credited toward purchase, and what minimum purchase is required to get that. If you don’t care about that, fine, but know before you go.
Regarding storage, moving a wine fridge is a bit of a hassle, but it’s basically a big furniture piece. Moving the wine can be a pain, if it’s a substantial distance. There have been threads here. If you plan on acquiring a significant amount (more than fits in a smaller wine fridge) before you move, either get a larger fridge now, or use offsite until you move (which could be the right way to go if the move is in the near future).


I agree that 2 a day is perfect. 3 and u start to feel rushed and harder to get lunch etc.