Napa Valley wineries are sure to be busy on May 25, National Wine Day. After all, the weather is perfect and it’s a good excuse to have a glass of wine or three. On the other hand, if you are going to visit one or more Napa Valley wineries, do you always go to the same place? Instead, why not visit a smaller production winery where it’s likely to be less crowded. That’s not to mention you’ll be able to sample something new, sweet and perhaps more delicious. If that’s not enough to convince you, consider that these wineries were affected by fires and a global pandemic. With all this in mind, here are just a few suggestions for your next Napa Valley visit.
Fantesca Estate and Winery
2920 Spring Mountain Road
St. Helena, CA 94574
Just a short drive from downtown St. Helena, Fantesca Estate and Winery only has 10 acres of vineyards. What’s more, its small wine production is only 3,000 cases per year. Be that as it may, those facts are part of the allure to this historic property. The husband and wife team of Duane and Susan Hoff, leads the award-winning winery.
Winemaker Heidi Barrett
Their distinctions are backed by renowned winemaker Heidi Barrett and associate winemaker Tony Arcudi. In fact, Heidi Barrett has had at least five 100 point scores. Even further, her wine legacy is accordingly enhanced by wine critic Robert Parker, who calls her “the first lady of wine”.
You can schedule and tour and tasting directly online for $250 per person. However, that fee is refundable with a purchase. Notable options include the 2019 King Richard’s Reserve Pinot Noir ($114) and 2018 Fantesca Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($250). The Napa Valley estate also produces premium olive oil from approximately 70 trees.
Related: Sonoma County Wineries To Visit
1916 N. Kelly Road
Napa, CA 94558
Honrama gets its name from Honorio Ramirez-Mata whose vision was to someday open his own Napa Valley winery. That dream of this insightful Mexican immigrant was eventually fulfilled by daughter Miriam and husband Juan Puentes. Occupying just seven acres, Honrama is your classic, small production winery. Moreover, its Sonoma tasting room is an outstanding choice for National Wine Day.
On the other hand, their wines are outstanding across the board, particularly cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc. What’s more, their selections are competitively priced, such as the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc ($32) and 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon ($48).
Heirs of My Dreams Winery
22985A Burndale Road
Sonoma, CA 94558
You can walk into the tasting room in Sonoma although reservations are highly recommended. Additionally, the small production winery offers a 60 to 90-minute Tasting Experience by appointment and advanced booking. Lastly, a 90-minute Tour and Barrel Tasting is also available for $65 per person.
McKenzie-Mueller Vineyards & Winery
2530 Las Amigas Road
Napa, CA 94559
With 50 acres, McKenzie-Mueller is the largest of these featured spots for National Wine Day. It’s also the closest to most other cities in the greater Bay Area. On the other hand, it has among the smallest production operations, with just 2,000 cases annually. But there are several why reasons you might see this label in Michelin starred restaurants like La Toque. For one, it offers nine different yet equally phenomenal varietals. And yet another, the prices of its award-winning products are refreshingly modest. For instance, a 2017 cabernet franc is just $39, while you can also purchase a 2017 pinot grigio for $28. Of course, you can opt for the higher end selections yet only two are above $100. Even then, the 2004 Tartan ($168) is a gem, with hints of blackberries, strawberries and vanilla cream. Please call or email ahead at firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
Reynolds Family Winery
3226 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558
If you haven’t yet heard of Reynolds Family Winery, then it definitely needs to be on your wine radar. Founded by former dentist and now winemaker Steve Reynolds, the estate lies on just 14.5 acres. Moreover, you probably haven’t seen their labels in the best-known wine competitions. Despite this all, none other than wine advocate Robert Parker rated Reynolds Family wines in the 90s. Of course, you have a choice of stellar wines online, such as the 2018 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($63) and the Persistence Blend ($68). That’s to say nothing of the 2017 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon for $140. They also source from additional small vineyards, in Atlas, Stags Leap, and the new Coombsville AVA
Winery proprietor Steve Reynolds is also a co-owner of Napa Valley-based Penta Tequila. Collectively, the founders have created an ultra-premium tequila label, using agave from five Mexican states. Currently you can order the Diamante ($100), Reposado ($125) and Añejo ($150). You can also find Penta tequila at the outstanding progressive Indian restaurant ROOH SF.
Tedeschi Family Winery
2779 Grant St.
Calistoga, CA 94515
If you happen to be in the Napa Valley for National Wine Day, don’t overlook Calistoga wineries. Although Calistoga is the furthest town from the Bay Area, some of the best wines are produced in this AVA. Take for instance, Tedeschi Family Winery, set a minute or two from the far busier downtown Calistoga. Another family-owned business that embodies the spirit of small production, with a mere 20 acres. But then again, it has won several awards, for varietals and blends like cabernet sauvignon, merlot and sauvignon blanc. If you go, make sure to place a reservation online. Estate wine tasting is just $35 per person and lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.
Related: Napa-Sonoma Celebrity Owned Wineries
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.