We love Wine!
Vineyards / Wineries that we have visited…
When visiting Napa/Sonoma Valley, go with a plan as it can be overwhelming and most wineries require reservations. There are many wine tour companies that will shuttle you to 4-5 vineyards in a day and they are great fun; however, you can hire a car service to take you to the wineries that you want to visit. For example, a simple but very nice day would be to do a Spring Mountain tasting day - starting with Fantesca, then Pride Mountain (bring your lunch from Oakville Grocery), and then Barnett Vineyards. (Not cheap though - tasting fees for this day would be $410 per person)
Most of the Vineyards require advanced reservations (especially with the current Covid guidelines).
Artesa – We were introduced to this winery by a friend. We only did a tasting but the views are incredible. The vineyard is located in the lower region of Napa Valley. We enjoy the single vineyard wines.
Baldacci Family – We have not been to the new tasting room, but look forward to visiting in the future. Their wine is excellent and you have the ability to purchase at Total Wines.
Barnett – This vineyard is located off of Spring Mountain road. It overlooks central Napa valley. It is a beautiful view and the wine is excellent. They are known for their Cabernets.
Beau Vigne – For our visit here, we did the tour that took us to the middle of the vineyards. They also have a tasting room in Yountville. To get this wine, you must be on their mailing list and when they send the email, order. It sells out quickly. We always try to get a bottle of the Romeo and a bottle of Juliet each year. Just recently, I was able to purchase a bottle of Romeo and Juliet at Total Wines.
Burgess Cellars – This is a hidden gem and the first fryefinds find. They are off the beaten path but worth the drive. They are off of Deer Park Road. Our tasting host was one of the owners. The tasting fees have increased since we went, but the fees are still reasonable - $50 ( Was $10 when we went in 2014).
Caymus – Enough said, you have to stop by the tasting room. Not cheap, but would you expect to be. The gardens at the tasting room are very nice.
Clos Pegase - Tracy and I did not know what to expect when visiting on Jan 1, 2022. We had the Estate Cabernet Flight and we truly enjoyed
the experience. We highly recommend visiting this winery located in Calistoga.
Corison – This is a must stop. Tracy and I randomly stopped by here (Reservations are now required). This winery is one of the few that are owned and managed by a women. This is some of the best cabernet that we have tasted and the price point for such good cabernet is great. They are located off St Helena highway in a green barn.
Domaine Carneros – This is not our traditional type of tastings that we prefer. It is large, feels large, and commercialized. However, the sparkling wine and Pino Noir are very good. The views are good too.
Domaine Chandon – This was the first winery that we ever visited, thanks to Group 1 Software ( Pitney Bowes ). This was 15-20 years ago, but we still enjoy the Sparkling wine.
Etude – Another fryefinds special. We had never heard of Etude, but upon visiting, we became members. Their pino noir and cabernets are very good. They are in the Caneros region, which is southern Napa Valley.
Fantesca – Talk about another fryefind special. The host asked how we found them as they only sell to members. The cabernet is velvet, but not cheap - $250 per bottle. We became members and we get 1 shipment of 3 bottles of the Cab annually. If you do go and they ask how you know about them – tell them Fryefinds.com!
Frank Family Vineyards – Located in the southern part of Calistoga, this wine is excellent. We enjoy the red, but we have had friends go to here and they love the Chardonnay.
Foley-Johnson – We stopped here as we are members at Kuleto which is part of the Foley family. We did the tasting, but then we asked for a taste of the Cabernet as it is not on the tasting menu. We bought a bottle. This is great wine at great prices. All of our girls purchased wine here.
Hall – We love Hall. We have done the Rutherford Tour ( highly recommended ), the tour at the tasting room in St Helena, and we go to the tasting room every time we go. If you do go and become members, put us as the referral, as we both get a free bottle of wine.
Hess – Hess is a big producer, but the tour (art) and overall tasting felt intimate. Their wine is very reasonable. As they are located in the Carneros region, you can stop there on the way in or out of Napa. The wine is reasonable priced.
Hourglass Winery - This is a must go winery. It is located in Calistoga. The tastings fees are not cheap but well worth it! During our visit in December, 2021, the winery was ordering new equipment as the winery had lost everything in the fires.
Kuleto – Unfortunately, the tasting room is not currently open due to damage from recent fires. When it re-opens, this is must go place, but the travel is not faint of heart. When you get to the entry of their estate, you then drive 2 miles up some steep inclines. The property is beautiful You will enjoy the tour and the wine tasting. The wines are reasonably priced. We are members here.
Larkmead – Recommended by Tracy’s cousin, we had to go. They are in prime Cabernet making real estate. This wine is excellent.
Miner Family – We just recently visited Miner Family and everyone enjoyed the tour and wine. Again, reasonably priced.
Morlet Family – This is a small producer Their wine is excellent and the price reflects it. Your tasting is with one of the owners. The tastings fees are $200 each but you get 7 full pours so driving is not recommended.
Mumm – We stopped into Mumm to try some sparkling wine. You get 4 full glasses. The sparkling wine is very good and reasonably priced.
Pride Mountain – As I planned the trip in 2014, the person on the plane told me that we had to go here. He also told us to pack a picnic lunch so we did. We were not disappointed. The tour was very informative. They are known for their Merlot. As for the picnic, there is an area where you can purchase a bottle of wine ( they will give you glasses ) and you take your lunch. The views are incredible. They are located off of Spring Mountain Road.
PureCru – We hired a driver one day and she brought us here. The tasting room is located in downtown Napa and just re-opened as the earthquake damaged their building. If in downtown Napa, we would recommend stopping by.
Rutherford Hill – This is another picnic spot vineyard. After our tour, we enjoyed some nice red wine and a picnic. They are very family friendly. The tour was informative. The wine is reasonably priced.
Silver Oak – Again, you have to stop by. We did our tasting in their Alexander Valley location (tasting same wine as in Napa tasting room) which allowed us to pay a much lower tasting fee. If I have to sell you on visiting Silver Oak, you probably should not be reading the different places to go.
Silverado – This was a very nice tour and we enjoyed the wine. We would recommend that you visit.
Stags’ Leap Winery – This was a find by accident as I thought I was making reservations at the Cellars. I am so glad it was an accident. We enjoyed the history of this winery – the prohibition history is crazy. This is a must go! We are members and reservations are required. (Answer – Tree – Cork << Got an additional 15% off and I impressed the kids that I knew which was more important!)
Stag’s Leap Cellars – The day we went to Stag’s Leap Cellars, it was rainy and gloomy, but the tasting room is done very nicely. This is the winery that distributes Artemis and Fay which you probably see on restaurant menus. The important thing is that the apostrophe is critical as these are two totally different wines.
Trefethen – We felt special here as we got our own room. The wine tasting pours were very generous and because the price points were reasonable, the kids purchased some wine here. We are members here too.
Sonoma/Russian River Valley/Alexander Valley
Alexander Valley Vineyards – AVV is one of the best tours that we went on. We did the vineyard hike tour. You are guided through the vineyards, picking grapes off the vines, and tasting wine that the grape is used to produce. There is an old school and Cyrus, the original founder’s family is buried on the grounds. The tour also includes a cave and barrel tasting. The wine is reasonably priced. The Vineyard hike tour is $60 and it includes lunch. If you simply want a cave tour, and tasting, it is complimentary. No reservations required for general tasting.
Gary Ferrell – If you like Pinot Noir, you must go here. The drive is worth it and the views are excellent. The tasting room area ( as we sat on patio ) is well done. Although not a member here, we order the wines often. Also, you can try this wine out as it is sold at Total Wines.
Iron Horse – We did the sparkling wine tour. The property is wonderful. We would encourage everyone to visit.
Paul Hobbs – The tour was okay but the wine made up for it. You cannot become a member. They will email you and you can order. It sells out fast. This wine is not cheap but it is very good.
Twomey Cellars – This is the Pinot part of Silver Oak. We stopped by the tasting room and we were surprised how much we enjoyed the Pinot as we are cab people. If in the area, make the visit.
We have visited these wineries in Texas. The wine is still not California wine, but these wineries do produce some qualities wines.
Austin Winery Located in Austin, this winery has been started by some young hipsters. The wine is excellent. They grow Texas grapes by also source California grapes..
Beckers If in Fredericksburg, need to visit this winery.
Bell Springs This winery is located about a mile from the ranch that Tracy and I were married on in Dripping Springs.
Driftwood Estate Winery Located in Driftwood, just outside of Austin, The view is wonderful.
Duchman Family Winery Located in Driftwood also, this winery has a very nice restaurant.
Kiepersol Located in East Texas, this winery boosts a restaurant to compliment their wine.
Landon Winery Located in McKinney, we stop in and enjoy the outdoor seating area when the weather is nice.
Los Pinos Winery Located in East Texas, this is a great escape. They serve food and wine. Worth exiting off the highway and relaxing.
Mitas Hills Located just north of McKinney, Mitas has a beautiful property.
Solaro Estates Located in Dripping Springs, thuis vineyard has nice outside seating to relax as you drink wine.
Times Ten Cellars Located in the Lakewood area of Dallas, this is a fun little tasting room. Tracy and I like to go there when we venture into Dallas.