Napa Valley AVAs
Napa Valley consists of 16 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs). These sub-appellations are:
- Atlas Peak
- Chiles Valley District
- Diamond Mountain
- Howell Mountain
- Los Carneros
- Mount Veeder
- Oak Knoll District
- Spring Mountain District
- St. Helena
- Stags Leap District
- Wild Horse Valley
As you may have seen on our other pages, it is important to keep in mind AVAs when you are wine tasting. The AVAs can differ in soil and climate which are two leading factors for how the vines grow and the grapes are produced.
Our first trip to Napa Valley likened more to a pilgrimage rather than a normal trip to wine country. Like many other wine enthusiasts, we watched the film Bottle Shock starring Bill Pullman, the late Alan Rickman (may he RIP), and Chris Pine. This film is based on the story of the events leading up to the Judgment of Paris of 1976, a wine competition organized by Steven Spurrier. Watching this film sparked our interest to make the drive from Southern California to Napa to visit Chateau Montelena. If you need help with ideas for your next trip to Napa, check out the lists below. If you would like to talk to us more about planning your trip, send us an email or send us a DM at @tastesoftheterroir on Instagram and we will work with you to find the experiences for you.
Our Recommended Wineries
We know that wine tasting can be expensive, especially when you talk about wine tasting in Napa. Therefore with our recommended wineries we wanted to make a list where at least 1 winery will work no matter what your budget while providing a positive and unique wine tasting experience
1. Envy Wines
Address: 1170 Tubbs Ln, Calistoga, CA 94515
Hours: Daily 10 am – 4:30 pm
Phone: (707) 942 – 4670
Try: Day Rosé, Night Rosé, and Petite Syrah
Envy Wines is a boutique winery on the same road as the famous Chateau Montelena. We actually first heard about Envy because one of the staff at Chateau Montelena recommended them to us. The fun part about tasting at Envy is opting to taste both of their Rosés. The Night Rosé is dry and the Day Rosé has a hint of sweetness. Both Rosés have a very approachable price point of only $25.
2. Grgich Hills Estate
Address: 1829 St Helena Hwy, Rutherford, CA 94573
Hours: Daily 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Phone: (707) 963 – 2784
Try: Paris Tasting “Commemorative” Chardonnay
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich partnered with Austin Hills to open Grgich Hills Estate in 1977. The time is significant because Mike Grgich had just become a historical figure within the wine world because he was the winemaker for Chateau Montelena when Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay won at the Judgment of Paris in 1976. Grgich Hills still has incredible whites to this day! If you get a chance, you should stop by an try the Paris Tasting “Commemorative” Chardonnay.
3. Stags Leap Wine Cellars
Address: 5766 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558
Hours: Daily 10 am – 4:30 pm
Phone: (707) 261 – 6410
Try: S.L.V. and Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon
We first became acquainted to Stags Leap Wine Cellars when we had a bottle of their Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon at David Burke’s Primehouse inside The James hotel in Chicago, IL. We loved Artemis and how well it paired with our ribeye that naturally we had to visit the tasting room and check out the Estate Cabernet Sauvignons. We were split on whether we liked the S.L.V. or the Cask 23 more, but both are definitely worth the taste. Stags Leap Wine Cellars is also another historical wine destination for their participation and win in the Cabernet Sauvignon category at the Judgment of Paris in 1976 with their 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon. Their Cabernet win meant that a Californian wine won both categories (white and red) as Chateau Montelena won for their 1973 Chardonnay.
4. T-Vine Winery
Address: 810 Foothill Blvd, Calistoga, CA 94515
Hours: Daily 10 am – 6 pm
Phone: (707) 942 – 1543
Try: Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
T-vine is a unique experience for their focus on old vine grapes. Their wine is what I always crave whenever I have any type of BBQ meat. They focus on reds, primarily Zinfandels, but they do have a delicious Rosé of Grenache and delightfully refreshing white blend of Gewürztraminer and Grüner Veltliner if you are not a red drinker.
5. Vincent Arroyo Winery
Address: 2361 Greenwood Ave, Calistoga, CA 94515
Hours: Daily 9 am – 5 pm, by appointment only
Phone: (707) 942 – 6995
Try: Bodega, Melange Reserve, Winemaker’s Reserve Petite Sirah
Vincent Arroyo was recommended to us by the staff at Envy Wines and is also located about a 5-10 minute drive down the road from Envy. This place is amazing. They held on to their flagship of Petite Sirah even when the rest of Napa started shifting to Cabernet Sauvignon following the Judgment of Paris so let believe us when we tell you, the Winemaker’s Reserve Petite Sirah is FANTASTIC. In addition to their amazing Petite Sirah’s, Vincent Arroyo has one of the more diverse tasting lists in the Napa Valley/Calistoga area which means that they have an offering for every palate. Friendly remind though, they do require reservations so call ahead if you want to drop by for a visit.
(wineries listed in alphabetical order, recommended wineries current as of July 2019)
Favorite Dining Locations
1. V. Sattui Winery Deli
Address: 1111 White Ln, St Helena, CA 94574
Phone: (707) 963 – 7774
2. Gott’s Roadside
St. Helena Address: 933 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574
St. Helena Phone: (707) 963 – 3486
Napa Address: 644 1st St, Napa, CA 94559
Napa Phone: (707) 224 – 6900
All Locations Hours: Daily 10 am – 10 pm
Disclaimer: These lists are formed based on our personal experience and not sponsored in any sense by the wineries or restaurants.