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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
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    The Cave of Caerbannog in summer, Castle Aaaargh in winter
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    Default Winery Recommendations for Napa Valley/Sonoma etc?

    DH and I just came back from a trip to the Napa area, it was our first adults only trip in nearly 24 years. We stayed at an amazing hotel in Yountville and visited 5 wineries while we were there---Chalk Hill (over in the Russian River Valley area in Healdsburg), Frank Family in Calistoga, Mondavi, Rubicon (now Inglenook again) and Silver Oak.

    My personal favorite was Silver Oak, mostly because I love their Cabernet and the personal tour (with free pouring Cab) was very nice. We did Mondavi for the three course lunch and so we could compare the mass manufacturing process to the smaller wineries. Frank Family was recommended but we only did the tasting. Inglenook was on the list because we love Rubicon and the history of the estate. Chalk Hill was amazing because of the view and the covered riding arena which is to die for; we also ended up joining their wine club and plan to go back for their horseback tour.

    We are going back in August for DH's birthday. Any other recommendations for wineries to visit? We enjoy the personal tours and any truly outstanding wine we haven't tried before. Thanks!

    I like logical people---they provide a nice contrast to the real world.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 13, 2005
    Location
    PA
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    179

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    My new DH and I are going for our honeymoon in May. We're flying into San Francisco (DH's first time on a plane!) and will be staying at a B&B in Geyserville. Clos du Bois and Coppola are tops on our to-do list. We've heard great things about Silver Oak. I haven't looked at a map, but I think we will be Sonoma rather than Napa. I'll let you how we fare and where we end up



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2003
    Location
    Iowa, USA
    Posts
    2,507

    Default

    Good timing for this topic, I'm heading for Sonoma in mid-May. Look forward to hearing other winery rec's!
    Try to break down crushing defeats into smaller, more manageable failures. It’s also helpful every now and then to stop, take stock of your situation, and really beat yourself up about it.The Onion



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 20, 2013
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    400

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    Pine Ridge. And Del Dotto for the cave tour. Domaine Carneros if you like bubbles! Have fun.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 20, 2013
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    SoCal
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    400

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    Oh and Regusci because of the family that owns it. And the vineyard dogs. So sweet.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2007
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    (throw dart at map) NC!
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    4,986

    Default

    I also liked Hess. Good oaky, buttery chardonnay and a cool modern art museum attached to the winery.
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2003
    Posts
    4,875

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    Gloria Ferrer if you like bubbly. Also Mumm Napa.

    Beaulieu is right behind a fab restaurant in Yountville called Rutherford. An excellent way to kill time waiting for a table.

    For an experience, the tram ride to see Sterling Vineyards is breathtaking.

    Some lesser knowns: Ravens wood, Korbel, if you can finagle a tour Opus One, and the breathtaking Artesa.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2009
    Posts
    4,825

    Default

    Stag's Leap is probably one of my all time favorites. Really good cabs. Also really like Carneros (for sparkling wines and pinots) and Duckhorn.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2009
    Location
    CA to Costa Rica to WI
    Posts
    904

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    Napa and Sonoma are really different worlds. They both make amazing wine, but that's about where the similarities stop.

    Napa is where all your big name wineries are. Here you'll have the opportunity to taste the wines you buy and drink at home. The landscape is what you think of when you think of "wine country" with miles and miles of nothing but rolling vineyards and gigantic wineries. The tasting rooms tend to be large and grand with expensive and beautifully manicured grounds. Napa is also more inland and therefore warmer year round (and likely quite HOT in August, so be prepared).

    Sonoma has a lot more "mom and pop" vineyards. You'll still find a few big names, but you'll also end up on some of front porches that serve as their "tasting room". You're in a coastal area here so the vineyards live between more wooded areas. Tastings tend to be free or cheaper than in Napa and you don't usually have the big tourist buses you'll see in Napa.

    While it is possible to see both in one day, I wouldn't recommend it. You're going to spend an hour or two one way driving from one to the other. At least plan to spend one day in each county if you want to see both, but I really think you're time is better spent focusing on one region. There's no right or wrong in which you choose, just very different experiences and lots of great wine!
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Fourteen Months Living and Working in Costa Rica


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    Westchester County, NY
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    5,927

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    Grgich Hills, Duckhorn, Mumm, Domaine Carneros, Cakebread



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2000
    Location
    Chatham, NY USA
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    4,100

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    There are also some wineries on the Peninsula. Garrod in Saratoga (also with riding stable 'attached')... That's the only one I visited, but I know there are more - just less publicized that the two areas to the north.
    www.ayliprod.com
    Equine Photography in the Northeast



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 22, 2006
    Posts
    476

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    For a truly special experience, go spend a few hours at Kuleto. It's tucked away behind an inconspicuous gated entrance, winds up a looong gravel road, and brings you to an absolutely beautiful, secluded, hilltop winery. Lots of places to picnic and enjoy a bottle or two. Call ahead, they require reservations and to give you a code to get through the gate.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 22, 2000
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    1,171

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    Will you be getting a driver? We had an AMAZING driver (who was very affordable and also took great pictures of us enjoying our tours and tastings throughout the day!) I had some vineyards that were on my "Must-see" list (Shafer, Cakebread, Schramsberg, Silver Oak) and he recommended some additional wineries and set up personal tours (and the tasting fee for the ones he set up were included in his price). He set up personal tastings and tours at some incredible Vineyards and personal family wineries that we LOVED. (Viader, Hill Family Estates, Kitchak Cellars).

    https://www.facebook.com/NapaValleyW...rsions?fref=ts



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2003
    Location
    Alabama
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    5,497

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    My very favorite is Ferrari-Carano. YUMMMMMM~!! Gorgeous place and nice tour of the grounds as well as the cellars. Merryvale, Freemark Abbey, Sbragia (sp), Chimney Rock, Trefethen, Gundlach Bundschu, Black Stallion, Far Niente (call for reservation), Keller, Cambria, Sinskey (OMG!), Beckstoffer, Chateau St Jean, Diamond Creek, Yates Family, Atlas Peak, Clois du Val (ask to see the big black standard Poodle, he's fab!) --you can picnic at Rutherford, Mira, Shramsburg -- I'll come up with some more! Getting ready to go next month -- very excited!!! We've been a number of times and my sister (who is going, actually taking me, LOL) has a wine cellar! There is a fabulous cave tour at one we've done before that has some gorgeous lighting -- I'll get the name from her. I know we have a lunch at Lambert Bridge planned, and love to check out some smaller, off the beaten path (boutique) type wineries. The central coast has some wonderful wineries, also. Opus wines are overrated IMO, but the place is a must. Matanzas Creek is nice. I'm not a fan of the really "mass" producers and avoid Mondavi, Inglenook, Berenger (which is gorgeous), etc. There is one that has an odd name that is owned by some folks from the middle east and it is fab and has a very sophisticated, almost NY feel - had parking attendants when we went one year -- I'll have to get the name, starts with a "D". Love wine country!!
    Have fun!
    PennyG



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 18, 2000
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    908

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    Darius. The main building is a copy of the Persopolis, the interior is very elegant, tastings were small and had a wonderful communal feel. The wine is pretty darn good too.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay Area
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    255

    Default

    Schramsberg was definitely my favorite. I thought the process was more interesting to learn about, plus it's all in caves, so that was cool.

    Cakebread was good, and I thought Mondavi had one of the prettiest settings.

    I'm dying to go back. I would love to do some Napa tours and have dinner at The French Laundry for my 40th, but I don't think it's going to happen.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 2003
    Posts
    920

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    In general, Napa = red (due to inland/warmer) and Sonoma = white as far as better wines. We like reds, so we tend to stay in Napa - and there are lots of smaller places as well.

    Clos du Val - fabulous art and wine
    Cakebread - great tour - make reservations
    Corison - incredible cabs - make reservations
    Duckhorn - kind of the winery du jour right now, so long lines or make reservations
    Goosecross - you can walk right in
    Chimney Rock - you can walk right in
    Rutherford Hill for a picnic - but you can only picnic if you taste - but the picnic grounds are grand
    Conn Creek allows you to blend your own wine (yep, your own bottle). It's a two hour seminar/process and well worth it, and tons of fun. They are at the base of Rutherford Hill.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2003
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    5,497

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    Actually, it's "Darioush" not Darius. The name of the poodle at Clos du Val is Alfie. He likes to retrieve, LOL. Jarvis has the amazing lights in their caves, but are a bit out of the way.

    What were the wines like at Kuleto? That's the kind of place we love to try.

    If you are going on a first trip or even second, get a map of wineries in Napa and Sonoma and map out your visits. Otherwise you will waste quite a bit of time. For Sonoma, you could just stay on the Dry Creek Road and taste many fine wines and visit great wineries -- with Ferrari Carano near the end of the road. For Napa it's hard to go wrong just staying on the Silverado Trail.

    There is a fab restaurant in Healdsburg or Yountsville with outdoor seating on a patio around a huge tree. Trevigne or something like that. Wonderful for lunch or dinner!~

    Would love to hear about any small, very good wineries that are a bit off the beaten path or not publicized alot. I could definitely live out there if I had the $$$!
    PennyG



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 7, 2004
    Location
    Linden, CA
    Posts
    867

    Default

    Seghesio in Healdsburg is a favorite.
    Quote Originally Posted by HuntrJumpr
    No matter what level of showing you're doing, you are required to have pants on.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 22, 2006
    Posts
    476

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TKR View Post
    Actually, it's "Darioush" not Darius. The name of the poodle at Clos du Val is Alfie. He likes to retrieve, LOL. Jarvis has the amazing lights in their caves, but are a bit out of the way.

    What were the wines like at Kuleto? That's the kind of place we love to try.

    If you are going on a first trip or even second, get a map of wineries in Napa and Sonoma and map out your visits. Otherwise you will waste quite a bit of time. For Sonoma, you could just stay on the Dry Creek Road and taste many fine wines and visit great wineries -- with Ferrari Carano near the end of the road. For Napa it's hard to go wrong just staying on the Silverado Trail.

    There is a fab restaurant in Healdsburg or Yountsville with outdoor seating on a patio around a huge tree. Trevigne or something like that. Wonderful for lunch or dinner!~

    Would love to hear about any small, very good wineries that are a bit off the beaten path or not publicized alot. I could definitely live out there if I had the $$$!
    PennyG
    Kuleto had some wonderful different Cabernet Sauvignons, a Syrah, and a Chardonnay. Loved their wine of course, but it's also a treat to be able to visit their estate. It sounds like it would be a perfect place for you!



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