Napa Wineries for the growing enthusiast

I know we have a million Napa Winery threads a month, but they typically involve 1-on-1 tastings with winemakers/staff. But my friend is going up to napa next weekend from Friday-Sunday, he’s just getting into the wine game (has about 30 bottles now!) and is making his first trip to Napa. Nothing too geeky, like private tastings and etc, he said he’s not ready for it yet :smiley:. Just tastings/tours.

I told him to visit Pride → Larkmead —> Alpha Omega on Friday. Any other wineries near the Alpha Omega area someone can suggest for him to visit?
As well anywhere near St. Helena for Saturday?

Thanks all!

Do the Schramsberg cave tour if he is interested in sparkling wine and how it is made. Requires an appointment. I like to do it first thing in the morning before going to Larkmead. They are very close.

Spottswoode is not too far off the beaten path in St. Helena.

Does he like the Alpha Omega “style”? or is he still exploring what he his preferences are?

We should expose him to a variety of styles and varieties.

Darioush is over-the-top in terms of the experience, but makes delicious wine. If he can get around paying for it, the cave tour is really great.

Non-geeky… What about Mondavi for some history. Quintessa has a fun tour of the winery, caves and property. Neibaum-Coppola, as well, is a beautiful property.

I would humble invite him to visit us at Cornerstone in Yountville. If he let’s us know he’s coming we can start him out with a broad tasting they will help him sit up visits at some other wineries. He can contact me at craig@cornerstonecellars.com and I’'l be sure he gets a good start to his day.


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Yeah, I would say for a “starter” visit and not yet in the busy season either Mondavi or Beringer or both for tours and tastings. Schramsberg is also a great idea. Maybe end the day at Prager. Other than that there are a bizillion wineries open to the public on 29, Silverado and the cross roads. Hard to know where to start.

Hall is right there on 29 near Dean and Deluca outside St. Helena, that might be a pretty good ‘intro’ place as well…

Tell him to check out Prager. Mostly known for after dinner sweet wine. They place is a hoot. Bills are stapled to the ceiling/walls everywhere. The tasting room looks likes it’s in their basement. The wine doesn’t taste bad either. http://www.pragerport.com/

Phelps is a good one that combines some geek and non-geek pleasure. Very pretty, secluded location, and obviously good quality wines if not necessarily wines that generate buzz among wine geeks. No appointment required.

Silverado is a terrific tasting room/patio location and view. The wines are not exceptional, but they’re perfectly good and go over well with the civilians, plus are mostly pretty reasonably priced. No appointment required.

I haven’t been to Montelena, but I it sounds like a good place to visit for geek and civilian alike.

He’d probably enjoy Vincent Arroyo and Madrigal - maybe Merryvale and Karl Lawrence.

Karen

I would suggest the following:

Chappellet. Historic good wines and Carissa is a hoot
Duchorn or Paradoxx. The tasting rooms are very nice.
Krupp. Dr. Jan Krupp is a real gentleman one of the nicest I have ever met
Heitz. Historic. easy to get to and there was not tasting fee when I was last in Napa
Contnuum. Noy sure if it is open to public wine tastings.
Caymus.

Wine.com has some god deals on packages including wine and wine tastings.

Sequoia Grove (easy on the wallet, solid wines and great people)
Beringer (Classic Napa Valley Winery, an incredible amount of Single Vineyard Cabs to taste)
Madrigal (just like Sequoia Grove, but completely different style - riper / softer wines (easy pleasing)- oh yeah, and great people!)
Robert Biale (fun, easy to please wines, need an appointment - but you can just call at the gate MOST times - located right outside Napa proper)
Charles Krug (They’re making some pretty nice wines - a lot of money has been put back into the place lately)
Robert Mondavi (everybody else goes there - legendary name / story…)

i would definitely recommend they check out heibel ranch. It’s off the beaten path in Pope Valley but Trent (proprietor and wine maker) gives you and amazing tour around his property in an old jeep and then cracks open a bottle or two to enjoy with you picnic style.

i would second the recommendation of pride’s tour which is very good as well as the suggestion of joseph phelps as the tasting room/terrace are beautiful.

Del Dotto in St Helena gives a good cave tour/barrel tasting and never leaves you with short pours :slight_smile:

i would definitely recommend they check out heibel ranch. It’s off the beaten path in Pope Valley but Trent (proprietor and wine maker) gives you and amazing tour around his property in an old jeep and then cracks open a bottle or two to enjoy with you picnic style.

i would second the recommendation of pride’s tour which is very good as well as the suggestion of joseph phelps as the tasting room/terrace are beautiful.

Del Dotto in St Helena gives a good cave tour/barrel tasting and never leaves you with short pours :slight_smile:

I would agree with the Schramsberg and Hall mentions. Two others we liked.

Franciscan - specifically for the blending tasting. You do a private tasting withe the five Bordeaux varietals in their pure form, do some blending on your own and try to guess the makeup of their Magnificat blend.

Cakebread - Was the second Napa tasting I ever did and walked away from it thinking about how much I had learned. While I don’t know if I would feel the same way now, but as a novice I loved it then.

Monte

I think for the combination of good wine and tour Schramsberg and Pride. For something more mainstream Chateau Montelena. Also consider Arger-Martucci, and I will second Prager Port Works for the fun factor.

Another fun but informative tour is Frogs Leap.

There is so much to choose…

Charlie:
I take it they are not going to Sonoma - in which case I would strongly recommend the Sojourn Tasting Room for a really nice experience Directly across the street from Alpha Omega is Provenance. I think they do a really nice job on reasonably priced cabs, plus some whites.

Shafer on Friday if he can get an appointment. Viader and Cade are a nice experience and are relatively close to Phelps.