Most Beautiful Wineries In Napa Valley
Romantic ambience, historic architecture, lush scenery, and golden light—there is so much more to wine tasting in California's Napa Valley than simply tasting wine. So when it comes to choosing which Napa Valley wineries to visit, the setting is almost as important a factor to consider as the grapes themselves.
And the competition for wine tourists is fierce: Today, there are over 400 winery options to choose from in Napa and Sonoma Counties alone, which is up from just 25 in Napa in the 1970s. Napa tourism continues to grow; according to Visit Napa Valley, the region's tourism board, the area welcomed 3.85 million tourists who spent $2.23 billion in 2018, up 4.4% and 15.9%, respectively, from 2016.
In the face of stiff competition and sizable opportunity, Napa Valley wineries are stepping up their offerings beyond the typical tastings with luxe experiences that range from sensory garden tours to private dining with Michelin star chefs.
Of course, what separates the very best from rest often comes down to beauty. After all, who wants to wine taste in a lackluster space? From sleek, modern LEED-certified structures to restored 19th-century estates, here are the most beautiful wineries in Napa Valley.
Castello di Amoroso - Calistoga, California
On 171 acres near one of California's oldest vineyards, fourth generation winemaker Dario Sattui opened Castello di Amoroso in an "authentically styled" 13th-century Tuscan castle. Completion of the 121,000-square-foot structure, which contains 107 rooms and four levels above and four levels below ground, required more than 8,000 tons of hand-chiseled local stone, nearly one million antique bricks imported from Europe, and more than 200 containers of antique furnishings shipped from overseas.
Self-guided tours and tastings, as well as guided tours and premium tastings, are available. Reservations are required for groups larger than 14 people.
Cade Winery - Angwin, California
Situated atop Howell Mountain is Cade Estate, a winery that specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon and comprises two distinct locations: the first-ever LEED Gold-certified estate winery in Napa Valley, designed by architect Juan Carlos Fernandez, and a historic stone winery, built in 1886. Tours and tastings are available by reservation only.
Château Montelena - Calistoga, California
Built into a hillside in 1888, the château at Chateau Montelena winery is worth a visit even without tasting a single drop of wine. Not only is the setting spectacular—it overlooks a Chinese garden, lake, and vineyard that stretches to the base of Mount St. Helena—but its stone construction and English gothic castle gatehouse style are unique for the region and atypical of the time and place in which it was built. Reservations are suggested for parties of eight or more.
Round Pond Estate - Rutherford, California
Set foot on the property of Round Pond Estate, and you'll feel like you've just traveled to Italy, thanks to the winery's landscaping, its Mediterranean olive trees and old-world olive mill, and its produce gardens with sensory planting beds that feature flavors found in Round Pond's wines.
Tastings and culinary experiences, such as the garden-to-table brunch on the winery's covered terrace with panoramic views of the Mayacamas mountain range, are available by reservation only.
Duckhorn Vineyards - St. Helena, California
Visitors to Duckhorn Vineyards are in for a treat: the chance to taste world-class wines in an intimate, home-like setting. The tasting room, which is tucked inside a Victorian-style home with a wrap-around veranda overlooking lush gardens and vineyards, offers portfolio tastings and elevated wine experiences to guests by appointment only.
Del Dotto Vineyards - St. Helena, California
The family-owned Del Dotto Vineyards boasts three locations in the Napa area. Perhaps its most spectacular, though, is its Venetian-style estate, which pays homage both to the owners' Italian heritage and the region's winemaking history. It features Italian marble walls, frescoes depicting the winemaking process, mosaic floors, crystal chandeliers, and a historic cave that was dug by hand in the 19th century.
Tastings and tour experiences that include a visit to the historic cave are available. Reservations are recommended.