The typical, traditional Napa tasting room visit was predictable: walk in, head for the bar and get a few sips of a handful of the current wines. After a couple of stops, the pour-sip-pour-sip routine can get monotonous. Today's best winery tasting rooms offer a lot more than that, with tastings in beautiful surroundings and giving each guest personal attention. They're listed in alphabetical order.
- Del Dotto Wine Gallery: They call it a tour, but we call the Del Dotto experience wine-tasting because you focus on only part of the wine-making process. Taste as you go, sampling from barrels to learn how wood and wine interact to build flavor. We like their original location just outside of downtown Napa better than the newer one on CA Hwy 29.
- Kuleto Estate: We love the laid-back ambiance and friendly tasting room staff. Expansive views from a hillside location above the valley make for a memorable tasting experience.
- Raymond Vineyards: Stylish, chic, with one of the most unusual tasting rooms in Napa Valley - and one of the few places where we liked every wine they poured.
- Signorello Estate: Great views, wine-tasting paired with delicious food and a laid-back ambiance make Signorello a perennial favorite of ours. Its location at the south end of Napa Valley makes it a great place to start your Napa Valley day.
- Sullivan Vineyards: Top-notch wines served in a lovely setting and an unpretentious attitude make a visit to Sullivan a real pleasure.
- Swanson Vineyards: Wine tasting in Swanson's gorgeous salon is like attending a wine country dinner party, with convivial hosts and excellent wine-and-food pairing.
- Secret Pleasures: Although they offer a more traditional style of tasting experience, tour guide Jesse Warr of A Friend in Town says his guests always like Kelham, a "small, family-run venue where you get very personal service and excellent wine."