Charge for Tasting: Yes
Winery Tours: Tour and tasting are done together. Reservations highly recommended
Wine Price: $80 and up, available only at the winery or by online order
Owners William and Letitia Jarvis started out to buy a weekend home in the Napa Valley, planted a few grape vines and - like many who have been in Napa before them - got the winemaking bug, taking 10 years to plant and nurture their grapes and build a winery with just the right cool, humid conditions for making great wines.
Jarvis Winery Review
Wine Quality: Jarvis Winery's current releases in late 2009 had all earned 91 to 94 points from the experts, but I'll state it much more simply. In all the wine-tasting visits I've made in more than 10 years covering Napa Valley, I have never had six wines poured for me and liked every single one. Jarvis is also the only winery we've ever visited who will simply throw out any wine that doesn't meet their standards, an impressive policy that typifies their winemaking approach.
Tourist Experience: When you reach Jarvis Winery, you won't see much at first. The only sign that humans have been here are the vineyards on the hillside and the arch-shaped cave entrance in the hillside. Once you get inside, the 45,000-square-foot cave is "wow"-inducing in every aspect. It starts with the artisan-created brass doors at the cave entrance, but no detail is left unattended to. By the time you get to the big room in the back (which could hold two NBA-sized basketball courts), your eyes may feel like they're about to pop out of their sockets. Tour groups are small (10 people or less) and taste their wine seated around a table. On our visit, we samples six wines, learning to appreciate how an individual wine's flavor and aroma change from the time it's poured until you take the last sip.
During the busy summer and harvest time, reserve your tour as far ahead as you can to avoid disappointment by calling 800-255-5280 ext. 150 or using their online form.
In odd-numbered years, Jarvis hosts a themed, black-tie harvest ball. Even years feature a harvest tasting, when for a little more than a regular tour and tasting you can enjoy music, hors d'ouevres prepared to complement a special selection of Jarvis wines. Sign up for their newsletter using the form at the top of any of their web pages to keep up with the next upcoming event.
Getting to Jarvis Winery
2970 Monticello Rd
Napa, CA 94515
Jarvis Winery Website
Jarvis is located on a mountainside about a 15-minute drive out of the town of Napa.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary tour for the purpose of reviewing Jarvis Winery. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.