Where to Eat and Drink in Napa Valley Right Now
The Napa Valley is just 30 miles long and a handful of miles across. Yet, it’s so packed with attractions and distractions that it can be difficult to figure out where to begin. There are multiple ways to plan a visit depending on whose going and for how long. Is it a quiet and reflective trip you seek, or a broader, introductory experience? No matter your preference, we’ve got you covered with these destination recommendations.
These places are the proven, the blue chip, and the tried-and-true. They live up to the hype, both in terms of quality wine and visitor experience.
Home to Insignia, one of the valley’s most prestigious proprietary reds, the St. Helena hillside winery was originally built in 1974 and has recently been spectacularly redone. A good start is a Terrace Tasting, a personalized, seated tasting of the producer’s Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast wines. Deeper experiences offered throughout the year delve into topics like blending, single-vineyard wines and aromas. By appointment only; josephphelps.com.
A beautiful day in Napa at Spottswoode / Photo by Katie Newburn
Family-run and certified organic, this gorgeous estate in the heart of St. Helena only allows a few visitors at a time to better showcase its home and gardens, property and elegant, age worthy wines. Tours of the property and seated tastings of its Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon go in-depth in a comfortable setting. By appointment only; spottswoode.com.
Word of Mouth Favorites
These spots could be called hipster or cult attractions. But mostly, they’re small wineries, producing a limited number of wines from meticulously farmed—and primarily estate—sites.
Barrel aging by candlelight in the Macayamas cellar / Photo courtesy Macayamas
Historic Mayacamas has been tucked into the folds of Mount Veeder since 1889, and it offers the best chance to take in the panoramic wildness of the appellation and its wines. Reaching heights of 2,400 feet and spread across 475 acres, its Cabernet is defined by intensity and freshness in equal measure. By appointment only; mayacamas.com.
Under the stars outside of Young Inglewood at night / Photo courtesy Young Inglewood
Off the Beaten Track
As advertised, these wineries may take some time to find, but they offer opportunities to see the back roads, hidden curves and vistas of Napa, places that most visitors rarely go.
Antica Napa Valley
This 1,200-acre Atlas Peak estate is the Napa Valley home of the Antinori family, involved in winemaking in Tuscany and Umbria for 26 generations. They make Sauvignon Blanc and two Cabernets, as well as a small amount of other wines. Private tours and tastings are sit-down and in view of the surrounding mountains. Tours by appointment (up to 8 people) at 10am and 3pm, Monday to Friday and Saturdays during the summer; anticanapavalley.com.
Taste wine among the trees on the balcony at Lokoya Estate / Photo courtesy Lokoya
With a newly completed estate after a 20-year search for the right spot, Lokoya has always been about mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignon. It produces four bottling’s from four of the valley’s famous mountain appellations. Now it has a home 2,000 feet up on Spring Mountain, the former site of the historic 77-acre Yverdon estate and vineyard. Famed local architect Howard Backen designed the winery. By appointment only; lokoya.com.
Volker Eisele Family Estate
Hidden within the Chiles Valley on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley, Volker Eisele is a 60-acre estate that has been organically farmed since the 1970s. Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux reds make up most of the estate, with a smidgen of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Come for a quiet sit-down tasting with one of the Eiseles themselves. By appointment only; volkereiselefamilyestate.com.
By Virginie Boone
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