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Old 07-09-2006, 09:39 PM   #1
kennancat
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Napa Winery recommendations?

Hey there - we're planning on spending a day in Napa in September. Can anybody recommend a couple of good wineries to visit? We're staying overnight the night before and after, so we'll have the full day. I'd like to try someplace not too mass market/touristy, plus we'll be at food & wine a few weeks later, so I'm looking for something we can't get at Epcot. Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2006, 11:10 AM   #2
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do you want one that does a guided tour? if you can let me know the dates your going i'll check the local paper and see whats happening-depending on what events are going on it might prevent you from hitting a log jam of traffic and tourists. also, if you want an AWSOME eating experience (and not horribly expensive by napa standards)-check out the '4 seasons' restaurant in calistoga-4 star food and service without the touristy overhead
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:10 PM   #3
kennancat
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I'd probably like to go to one place that specializes in reds and one in whites. I really don't know much about Napa, so I have no idea if that's even a possibility We'll be there on 9/12. I checked out a couple of web sites, and Sullivan Vineyards and Rutherford Hill Winery looked interesting. Also, I thought Sterling Vineyard's aerial tour sounded interesting (although that might fall into the touristy bucket )
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Old 07-10-2006, 10:20 PM   #4
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These are a few we like

Domaine Carneros
They do champagne, red and white. This is a nice place to go because you get to sit down at a table and they will bring the wine to you. Plus you can order a cheese tray to go with your wine tasting. You can spend a couple of hours at this winery alone. They have tours, tastings, food and items to purchase.

St. Supery
This has been one of my favorites for years. They do reds and whites. Nice tasting room!

ZD
This is my newest FAVORITE! Small winery but I love every one of their wines! They also do reds and whites.

Good place to eat (kind of expensive) the Rutherford Grill. They have a GREAT prime rib french dip.

We prefer Sonoma over Napa because it seems less pretentious and you can actually taste for free or get your tasting fee back if you purchase a bottle of wine!

We went out of our way to go to Korbel. They have some of the BEST sparkling wines. I think we tasted at least a dozen and they make wine as well. This was the surprise highlight of our last trip.

Have FUN!
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Old 07-24-2006, 07:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsschneck
We prefer Sonoma over Napa because it seems less pretentious and you can actually taste for free or get your tasting fee back if you purchase a bottle of wine!


Have FUN!
Same here, Napa has imo, a false front. Sonoma is much more warm feeling and the wineries are much cheaper and put out the same product as Napa. Also, if you are ever in the area, shoot by Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California. The best of everything (one of the most spectacular golf courses you will ever see too!) Have a good time
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Old 08-01-2006, 07:39 PM   #6
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We've visited the Napa/Sonoma area twice and absolutely LOVE it! Some of my favorite wineries include:

Viansa (great gourmet shop)
Pine Ridge
Niebaum-Coppola
Bouchaine (a small one)
Domaine Carneros

We ate at Brix and really liked it. They have a beautiful garden area.
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Old 08-06-2006, 07:39 PM   #7
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In Napa, my favs are Domaine Chandon (the American location of Moet & Chandon - think Dom Perignon), Robert Mondavi, and Berringer. All have very good wines and great tours.

We like the town of Sonoma too, but don't care for any of the wines there.

Domaine Carneros - I think we toured there, but not sure of the name because it was a few years ago. It's between Sonoma and Napa, way up on a hilltop. Very lovely.
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Old 08-09-2006, 09:02 PM   #8
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I like Sterling vineyards. It has a gondola ride to the top and you can taste some very expensive wines off of the menu.

Del Dotto Vineyards has a nice cave tour if you call ahead (707) 963-2134.
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:12 PM   #9
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Unless you've got your heart set on Napa, Sonoma offers a more pleasant experience. Assuming you'll be coming from San Francisco, it's faster to get to Sonoma, and more scenic, and the traffic is slightly better. But the best part is that the crowds are significantly smaller. Napa is pretty much a theme park nowadays (though there are holdouts), while Sonoma is still more or less a collection of regular towns. For a different side of a big winery, try Ravenswood in Sonoma. You may be familiar with their value-priced "Vintner's Blend" series, but their single-vineyard zinfandels (~$35) are a revelation. It's also fairly far south, near the town of Sonoma. You're looking at another 45 minutes at least to get to the north end of either Sonoma or Napa Valley. Oh, one more thing, be sure that you're not going during a race weekend at Infineon Raceway (Sears Point). Enjoy your visit!

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Old 08-10-2006, 01:45 PM   #10
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Well, as it turns out, the friends we were supposed to go with decided to do a cruise instead. Since they were the ones that really wanted to do Napa, we decided to just take those 2 days and spend more time in San Francisco so we don't have to be so rushed. Hopefully we'll do Napa/Sonoma some other time - thanks for all your replies!
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Old 08-10-2006, 02:18 PM   #11
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I thought I would add this here, in case anyone else was looking for winery recommendations, but I can say that, without a doubt, Del Dotto is a must-do if you are in Napa. When we went on our trip this past spring, I kept reading about this winery's cave tours, and everyone kept repeating that it was their favorite winery, so I figured we would give it a shot. Well, I am so glad we did. It will go down as one of the most fun experiences of my life - my husband and I both LOVED it! It is expensive, but it is worth it. One tip: make this the last place you go to. Although we truly enjoyed the other wineries we visited (Sterling, Rutherford Hill, Artessa, Hess), Del Dotto took the cake!
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Old 09-06-2006, 10:56 PM   #12
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I recommend VanDer Haden in Napa.

Now, we traveled to Napa and Sonoma with friends and we all prefered Sonoma, but we are pretty laid back people and felt more comfortable there.
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Old 09-06-2006, 11:13 PM   #13
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After living in CA for 3 years we became wine enthusiasts and loved visiting all the different wine countries in the state. However, I must say I preferred Sonoma over Napa. Napa is a little over-rated and with Napa it's like paying for Ralph Lauren - you're paying for the name more than the wine. Don't get me wrong there are some really good wineries there, but you're paying for Napa. Some of the wineries we really liked there were: Van Der Heyden, Steltzner - one of my favorites to this day & Stags Leap). I would honestly advise you to avoid some of the big label wineries like Robert Mondavi, Domain Chandon or Niebaum-Coppola (although our son did go meet Francis Ford Coppola at his winery). These wineries are crowded with people and tend to sell their really expensive wines at the wineries and only sell wines by the glasses if I remember rather than tasting flights.

In Sonoma there are some great wineries and it was much less crowded than Napa. Some of the ones DH and I really liked were: Ledson Winery, Chateau St. Jean (beautiful and delicious wines as well as great picnic areas) & Valley of the Moon (another great winery). The wines in Sonoma tend to be a little cheaper from what I remember because we bought more wine in Sonoma than we did in Napa.

Hope this helps and enjoy your trip!!! Wine country is one of the few things I miss about CA. But living in So. CA like we did is so different from No. CA it's like night & day. So I think that if we had been living in No. CA instead, we would feel differently about the state.

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Old 09-07-2006, 01:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennancat
. . . we decided to just take those 2 days and spend more time in San Francisco so we don't have to be so rushed. . .
There are some good places for wine tasting in S.F.

Woody
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