Napa Valley is practically synonymous with high quality California wine and is considered one of the top wine producing regions in the world. Winemaking dates back to the 19th century, but Napa really got its global reputation for quality in the second half of the 1900s.
When Napa wineries beat out French ones during a blind tasting event now known as the Judgment of Paris, in 1976, it put Napa on the map. Napa went on to become the first AVA (American Viticultural Area) established in California in 1981.
The Mediterranean climate found throughout Napa is ideal for a wide range of grape varieties; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc are among the top planted and most revered for the region.
Two mountain ranges (the Mayacamas and Vaca ranges) border the interior valley, helping trap Pacific breezes coming off the San Pablo Bay. This cooling effect helps moderate temperatures, thus preserving acidity in the ripening grapes and leading to high quality fruit.
There are 16 sub-AVAs within Napa Valley, each known for its own subtle differences in soils, aspects, and microclimates.
World class restaurants, shopping, and accommodations have turned Napa Valley into a destination getaway. With several convenient airports (San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento are all reasonably close), a trip to Napa may be easier than you think.
Downtown Napa serves as an ideal central hub of activity, with a number of urban tasting rooms within walking distance from each other. The small towns of Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga are also worth a stop. Cheers!
To learn more about our winery ranking process, our CW score, or how we gather and analyze data, please click here.
Note: We do our best to maintain up to date information on all wineries featured. However, we recommend checking directly with a winery before planning a visit. If you find any information below that needs to be updated please let us know.
1. VGS Chateau Potelle
CW Score: 103.0
Address: 1200 Dowdell Ln St. Helena, CA 94574
Overview: With an uplifting ambience and fantastically genuine wines, this Napa winery is the perfect paradise to slip away to. Owner and founder, Jean-Noel Fourmeaux, strongly believes that one must trust their own individual, personal taste. He focuses on creating wines that are not part of the main stream market, but rather unique wines with a definitive character.
The tasting house and garden offers both food and wine tastings, as well as a fabulous epicurean garden lunch prepared by Chef Ken Frank of La Toque Restaurant (a famed Michelin Starred restaurant).
2. Larkmead Vineyards
CW Score: 99.9
Address: 1100 Larkmead Ln Calistoga, CA 94515
Overview: Founded in 1895, the Larkmead estate is one of the oldest family-owned establishments in Napa Valley. The 110-acre vineyard grows on a remarkable variety of soils, such as ancient riverbed gravel, clay, and loam.
Other than tasting utterly wonderful wines, the winery also offers visitors a stroll through the vineyards and barrel hall access through their cellar door! If that doesn’t melt your everyday worries away, nothing will.
3. Modus Operandi Cellars
CW Score: 99.6
Overview: Nestled in Napa Valley is this small winery with a true passion to create something special. Originally from Dallas, TX, Jason Moore heard his calling to become a winemaker at just 24 years old. The decision to move to California was a wise one, as he now owns a beautiful boutique winery and produces very harmonious and well-structured wines.
During your visit, you can enjoy a wonderful tasting of 4 to 5 current vintage Modus wine, but also experience an exquisite cheese platter.
4. Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards
CW Score: 99.1
Address: 680 Rossi Rd St. Helena, CA 94574
Overview: Starting in 1983, the Anderson’s have worked hard to produce world-class wines that reflect the true depth of American wine. While all of their wines are simply divine, they are well-known for their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. It displays dazzling characteristics of black fruit, spice, and earthy notes. This elegant wine ages beautifully, so you’ll want to make room in your cellar for this charming Napa Cab.
The winery is located about 3 miles off St. Helena, but it feels worlds away with picturesque scenery of the rolling Napa hills.
5. Bell Wine Cellars
Overview: Offering several different tastings, Bell Wine Cellars’ team is devoted to producing the finest wine that the Napa Valley has to offer through consistent quality and diligence. The winery produces many ranges of wine, including white, rosé, red, and single vineyard bottles.
John Hazek, winemaker at Bell Wine Cellars, believes, “Nurturing quality begins in the vineyards, is harnessed during winemaking, then carefully expressed with artful blending”. John’s artistic expression in the cellar results in long-lasting, balanced wines that become more complex with time.
6. Vincent Arroyo Winery
CW Score: 98.0
Overview: Vincent Arroyo, this winery’s namesake founder, began his winemaking journey by purchasing the original 23 acre Calistoga, CA property in 1972. He immediately went to work on transforming the land’s prune and walnut orchards into what ultimately resulted in the winery’s first commercial vintage, released in 1984.
Today, Vincent Arroyo’s winery produces 17 wines on an annual basis. They primarily produce reds, but do make a Chardonnay and a Port (dessert wine). You’ll need to make a reservation before visiting, but it’s absolutely worth it to take in some of their incredible wine. We highly recommend trying their Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
7. John Anthony Vineyards
CW Score: 98.0
Address: 1440 1st St Napa, CA 94559
Overview: John Anthony Vineyards produces Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Bordeaux-variety reds, and more – there is also a sparkling and a late harvest dessert wine on the list.
The tasting room, open seven days a week, is located in downtown Napa within convenient walking distance to a number of restaurants and hotels. There are both indoor and outdoor seating options and while reservations are recommended, walk-ins are accommodated when possible. There are also private spaces available by reservation for a more intimate experience.
8. Parallel Napa Valley
CW Score: 98.0
Overview: Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignaon are the top wines produced by Parallel Napa Valley. Tasting options include a standard wine tasting or a paired lunch and wine tasting.
Lacking an official tasting room of their own, Parallel uses Brasswood Napa Valley, located in St. Helena, to host these experiences. Parallel also offers an at-home tasting experience that includes bottles of wine and small bites mailed to your home to be enjoyed during a virtual tasting appointment.
9. Moone Tsai Winery
Overview: Moone Tsai Winery tastings are available only with an appointment and are held daily at Brasswood Napa Valley in St. Helena. Guests can choose between a wine tasting with cheese pairings, or a more formal three course lunch with wine.
Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah are among the star grape varieties used in wine production here. The producers especially appreciate the hillside fruit sourced from Howell Mountain, and highlight it in their wines.
10. Porter Family Vineyards
CW Score: 97.0
Address: 1189 Green Valley Rd Napa, CA 94558
Overview: Embrace a truly unique experience by visiting Porter Family Vineyards, where you can sample some wonderful Bordeaux varieties, including Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, some blends, and others. The vineyards that yield their fruit are located in the southeastern hills of Napa and sit on top of clay loam and volcanic derivatives, which result in a unique terroir to enjoy.
Tucked directly into a hillside within the vineyard is the Porter Family Winery – in a cave! Their environmentally-friendly practices are on display as you wind your way through the 17,000 square foot cave winery. Well-lit and very cozy, the cave environment will provide a wine tasting experience like none other.
Plan Your Visit to Napa Valley’s Top Wineries
With these remarkable wineries in mind, it’s time to start planning your visit. We’ve partnered with some of the top travel brands to help you secure the best deals available and to make your trip truly unforgettable.
ChoiceWineries.com is reader-supported. When you buy through the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Visit our disclaimer page for more information.
Viator.com (a TripAdvisor company) is our recommended vendor for finding unbelievable local experiences to complement your time visiting wineries.
Guided tours, hot air balloon rides, and scavenger hunts are just a few of the types of excursions you can find to book on Viator.
Travel & Accommodations
Expedia.com is our recommended travel vendor for booking flights, hotels, rental cars, and more.
Great deals and discounted packages are just the start. Expedia will allow you to tailor your trip to fit your needs and preferences.
Whether you’re looking to book a first class flight, to stay at a 5 star hotel, or to book a quaint bed and breakfast, Expedia can help to secure your perfect travel arrangements across their vast network of travel and accommodation providers.
You might also enjoy…
- The 10 Best Wineries in Sonoma (CA)
- The 10 Best Wineries in Yountville (CA)
- The 10 Best Wineries in Calistoga (CA)