Napa Valley is California’s most famous wine region, and for good reason. This iconic destination has built a reputation for producing refined, age-worthy wines — most notably Cabernet Sauvignon — from throughout its 16 distinct AVAs, so it’s only natural that you’ll want to prioritize wine tasting while visiting. To make the most of your experience, it’s best to stick to one or two regions per day, such as Oak Knoll and Stags Leap, or St. Helena and Calistoga, so you aren’t spending all your time in the car.
Check out the multigenerational family-owned Groth Vineyards & Winery, home to the first 100-point U.S. wine from critic Robert Parker. At their Oakville estate, you’ll taste Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon while surrounded by vines and centuries-old oak trees. Nearby, Round Pond Estate draws visitors for its Bordeaux-style wines and estate olive oil, which can be enjoyed from the winery’s serene terrace overlooking its sustainably-farmed vineyards.
At Markham in St. Helena, you can delve into the world of Napa Valley Merlot from the surroundings of the airy, renovated tasting room, while a few miles down the road at Conn Creek, Cabernet Sauvignon from nearly all of Napa’s sub-appellations can be sampled from the garden setting of this Silverado Trail estate.
Cabernet fans will also want to make a point to visit Larkmead Vineyards. Originally founded in 1895, Larkmead remains one of the oldest, family-owned grape growing estates in Napa Valley, known for its organic and sustainably farmed wines and personalized service.
Of course, Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t the only Napa wine to seek out. Some producers, such as Domaine Carneros, Mumm Napa, and Frank Family Vineyards, are known for both their still and sparkling wines, including acclaimed Chardonnay and Pinot Noir-basedwines from the cool Carneros region.
While fancy wineries overlooking vineyards are hard to beat, definitely don’t discount a visit to an urban tasting room or two, like Cami Art + Wine and Tank Garage & Winery in Calistoga, Jessup Cellars in Yountville, and New Frontier Wine Co. and Brendel in downtown Napa, which each offer a different slice of Napa Valley.