The best Napa Valley wineries offer exceptional wine, plus something more: art or architecture or gardens or great views.
Especially if it is your first time visiting, you will want to stop at some of the most iconic and beautiful Napa Valley wine estates, for an unforgettable wine country experience.
Over the years, vintners from many parts of the world have settled in Napa Valley, and brought with them influences from their home countries, resulting in a variety of architectural styles and winemaking techniques.
Other owners have used their estates to showcase their passions: for art, for sustainable farming, for the land itself.
Many wineries in the storied valley, one of the most beautiful wine regions in California, are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and every winery here has a unique history and fascinating story.
If you are planning a Napa Valley visit, read on to discover the wineries you definitely must place on your itinerary!
And if you are planning to visit neighboring Sonoma as well, we have a curated list of the best wineries in Sonoma County to put on your itinerary!
Best Napa Valley Wineries
One of the best things to do in Napa Valley, even if you don’t enjoy wine (!), is a tour of Napa’s most beautiful wineries.
Doing a drive through Napa Valley on a tour of the best wineries makes for one of the most fun weekend getaways from San Francisco you can enjoy!
In this article, we’ve rounded up the most beautiful Napa Valley wineries to visit.
Note that while some are free to visit from the outside, almost all will ask that you book a tasting to experience the interiors of the winery buildings or art collections that are housed inside.
We’ve visited Napa Valley numerous times now, and we still stop by some of our favorite wineries every time we go, not just for the wine (and sometimes not for tastings at all), but to admire the architecture of the winery buildings, wander the beautiful grounds, or savor the history and heritage of the region. Wine is a bonus!
While Napa Valley looks beautiful any time of year, plan a visit in the spring or summer to see gardens in bloom, or visit Napa in November to see vineyards and trees dressed in fall colors!
Here, then, are the best Napa Valley wineries to visit!
Beringer Vineyards: Historic Estate
The oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley, Beringer Vineyards was established in 1876. The Beringer estate is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Beringer estate boasts beautiful architecture and lush gardens in a tranquil setting. One of our most favorite vineyards in Napa to wander!
Rhine House, the spectacular main building in the complex, is the former home of Frederick Beringer, who wanted his Napa Valley residence to resemble the family home in Germany.
With lots of turrets and gables, the Victorian-style mansion looks exquisitely old and gracious. Don’t miss the gorgeous stained glass windows and the mellow warm stone!
Walking the beautiful grounds and gardens at Beringer is a joy. Admire the ornamental fountains, lush plantings of bushes and flowering plants, fruit trees, mature oleander trees, and grape vines as you walk. Look for hummingbirds, and other birds in the foliage.
Beringer was the first Napa Valley winery to offer tours (all the way back in 1934!). Today you can enjoy tastings in outdoor settings throughout the property, from the veranda of Rhine House to the promenade in front of the old winery.
More information: Beringer Vineyards
If you are planning a Napa Valley getaway, be sure to check out our article on the best places to stay in Napa Valley: we describe the towns and regions in the valley, and offer our curated suggestions for hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals.
Domaine Carneros: Stunning French Chateau
Way in the south of Napa Valley, get transported to the French countryside when you visit Domaine Carneros. The winery sits on top of a small hill, with commanding views of surrounding vineyards. Domaine Carneros is one of the most scenic wineries in Napa!
The graceful chateau, with its pleasing symmetry and impressive central stairway, is best appreciated from the bottom of the stairs. If you park behind the chateau and enter onto the terrace, make sure to go down the stairs to snap photos!
Also delightful are the stepped formal gardens, laid out on either side of the central stairway. They are especially lovely when the roses are in bloom, but the stately green hedges look beautiful all year long.
Domaine Carneros was founded by the Taittinger family from France, known for its champagne. The chateau in Napa Valley was inspired by Château de la Marquetterie, the home of Taittinger in Champagne, France.
Enjoy a tasting of a flight of sparkling wines outside on the terrace, where the tables are shaded by colorful umbrellas and you can enjoy the views as you sip. Or sip inside, in the beautiful salon.
More information: Domaine Carneros
Prefer to do a wine tasting tour so everyone in the group can enjoy tastings? Check out this highly-rated small group tour that includes tastings at three wineries, plus a boxed picnic lunch. Book this tour now!
Or, for a more active experience, consider this well-reviewed bike and wine tour. You will enjoy wine tastings at three different wineries, plus a picnic lunch. The group is restricted to eight people max. Book this tour now!
Far Niente Winery: Spectacular Gardens
Driving up Far Niente Winery’s beautiful driveway, lined with mature gingkos on either side, is in itself a wonderful experience.
Especially if you happen to visit in the fall, when the gingkos turn to gleaming gold! And the views of vineyards on either side as you drive up are spectacular.
The winery building, set on a knoll in the midst of mature trees, is gracious in a timeless way. Built in the late 19th century, the stone building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The hill behind the winery was hollowed out to create Far Niente’s impressive wine caves.
One of the most fun parts of touring Far Niente is a stroll through its magnificent landscaped Southern-style gardens.
In the spring, you can enjoy beautiful tulip plantings in a variety of colors. Also in the spring, azaleas in pink and red offer splashes of vivid color against the green.
Far Niente’s wine focus is Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tastings and tours are offered by appointment.
More information: Far Niente Winery
Planning a wine tasting trip to Napa Valley? Check out the Priority Wine Pass for potential savings. Plus they offer a concierge service as well.
Castello di Amorosa: Tuscan Splendor
Built with local stone and antique bricks imported from Europe, Castello di Amorosa is a magnificent medieval Tuscan castle, with a moat and drawbridge, fortified walls and towers, and over one hundred rooms spread over several levels.
You can take a guided tour of the spectacular castle interior. The Great Hall, with its hand-painted frescoes on the walls, its centuries-old fireplace, and its beautiful ceiling, is drop-dead gorgeous.
You will also see the Grand Barrel Room, made with imported brick, the main courtyard, surrounded by loggias, the serene chapel, and the medieval torture chamber, among other parts of the interior.
There are lots of animals at the Castello! From cats, sheep, geese, and hens to a preening peacock and a goat that wants his picture taken, you will likely come across some cute creatures during your visit.
Kids are welcome to tour the castle and are offered grape juice tastings!
Castello di Amorosa is known for its Italian style wines, and you can enjoy tastings outdoors along with tours of the castle.
More information: Castello di Amorosa
Chateau Montelena: Gorgeous Grounds
Chateau Montelena has a gracious ivy-covered winery building that is very worthy of photos, but its grounds are the real star.
In the 1950s, the Tubbs family (that owned Chateau Montelena) sold the property to a Chinese engineer and his wife. The new owners wanted to create a lake and garden on the grounds in the style of their homeland, and Jade Lake was born.
In 1972, Chateau Montelena was sold once more, and started producing wines again.
Chateau Montelena created history by winning first place in the Judgment of Paris wine competition, where its Chardonnays placed above those from Burgundy in France. Tastings are available by appointment.
You will love strolling through the garden and walking the bridges over the lake.
Watch the resident swans as they gracefully skim over the water, enjoy the contrast of the bright red bridges against the green of the water, and savor the serenity.
Wine club members have access to the lake for private picnics.
Fall is a particularly lovely time to visit the grounds of Chateau Montelena, one of the most picturesque wineries in Napa Valley. Leaves on the trees around the lake change color, and on still days, you see beautiful reflections in the water.
More information: Chateau Montelena
HALL St. Helena: Cool Contemporary Art!
HALL Saint Helena is one of our most favorite Napa Valley wineries to visit. The grounds, which contain awesome art with witty descriptions, are a must-wander.
The 35-foot-tall and shiny Bunny Foo Foo can be seen from Highway 29, but walking around the grounds will lead to such treats as the whimsical Camel Contemplating the Eye of the Needle, and a big reflecting globe.
Apart from the close to three dozen pieces of contemporary art, HALL St. Helena offers beautiful views of the Mayacama Mountains, best enjoyed from loungers set by the side of the sleek infinity pool, and kitchen gardens featuring a variety of herbs and vegetables.
Hall Wines is known for its Cabernet Sauvignons. Tastings are available by appointment. You can also book the HALLmark tour, to be guided through some of the artwork as you enjoy wine tastings.
More information: HALL St. Helena
Artesa Winery: Views for Days
Located on a hilltop in the south of Napa Valley, Artesa Winery is where you should head if you enjoy aerial views of vineyards.
From the beautiful grounds, you get Tuscany-like panoramic vineyard views, especially beautiful in the summer, when you see lush green, and in the fall, when the vineyards are dressed in yellows, oranges, and reds.
Aside from the views (which, in our opinion, are reason enough to put Artesa on your most beautiful Napa Valley vineyards tour itinerary), you will love strolling the grounds.
With several beautiful water features and contemporary sculptures, Artesa’s grounds are very Instagram-worthy!
If you want to rest for a bit and savor the beauty of your surroundings, there are benches by the large fountain at the lower level.
The Tasting Salon has swathes of floor-to-ceiling windows and a gorgeous circular bar with decorative Spanish tiles.
Artesa is a well-known Napa Valley producer of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Tastings are by appointment, and Artesa, with its Spanish roots, offers tapas and wine pairings.
More information: Artesa Winery
Inglenook Winery: A Rich History
Inglenook Winery is housed in a magnificent chateau that was completed in 1887. The winery has a long and rich history that makes for fascinating reading.
In the late 1800s, the site was purchased and developed by Gustave Niebaum, a Finnish-born sea captain that made a fortune trading in Alaskan goods.
Niebaum, and after him, his family, ran the winery until 1964, when financial considerations forced a sale of much of the estate except for Captain Niebaum’s home and a small amount of land.
In 1975, Francis and Eleanor Coppola bought the home, now on sale, as a vacation cottage. They established the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery and resolved to do whatever it took to reunite all of the original Inglenook.
Twenty years later, in 1995, they made good on their vow. The Chateau was restored, and re-opened two years later.
Inglenook’s premier red wine is Rubicon, but it offers other wines as well. On a guided tour experience, you can tour the Chateau, the Infinity Caves, and the vineyards, concluding with a tasting in one of the private cellars.
Inglenook offers a variety of tasting experiences.
More information: Inglenook Winery
Round Pond Estate: Terrace with A View!
The Round Pond Winery is set in the midst of the picturesque estate vineyards in the Rutherford region of Napa Valley. Driving up the stunning driveway, flanked by tall palms, is a treat in itself.
The covered terrace is the star attraction at Round Pond Estate, as it features lovely views of the Mayacama Mountains, with neat rows of vines draping the foreground. Sunset is a great time to be here!
The second-floor indoor lounge is cool and inviting, with a dramatic round picture window that looks out onto the beautiful driveway.
Outside, make sure you stop by the grove of old olive trees: Round Pond also offers a selection of gourmet olive oils, vinegars, and the most delicious citrus syrups. They have their own olive mill!
Admire the whimsical driftwood furniture and enjoy the serene vibe in the grove.
Round Pond Estate is known for its Cabernet Savignon wines. They offer indoor and outdoor tastings by appointment.
More information: Round Pond Estate
Clos Pegase: Contemporary Charm
The word that comes to mind when you visit Clos Pegase is “serene.”
You could sit in one of the beautiful benches in the courtyard for hours, with a book, (and a glass of wine, of course!), enjoying the quiet beauty of the rows of vines, the cypresses, and the mountains in the distance.
The Clos Pegase winery building is the creation of architect Michael Graves, who won a competition run by the winery owners in conjunction with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The portico, with its giant pillars, is gorgeous, as is the Cave Theater inside, used for special events.
The Heritage Garden at Clos Pegase features rare drought-tolerant plants and trees, sourced from wine growing regions around the world. The gray-blues and tans of the plants fit perfectly with the unique winery building.
The garden reinforces the sense of serenity, making you want to linger.
Clos Pegase is known for its estate wines, including Cabernet Sauvignons, Chardonnays, and Pinot Noirs, and offers tours and tastings by appointment.
More information: Clos Pegase Winery
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars: Beautiful Views
Stag’s Leap started as a vineyard in 1970. It is known for winning the Cabernet Sauvignon competition at the Judgment of Paris, a famous wine competition held in 1976 between French and American wines.
The original property was a 44-acre parcel right next to a vineyard owned by Nathan Fay. Fay’s property was located at the foot of the Stags Leap Palisades, named for a legendary stag that is reported to have escaped hunters by leaping over the crags of the district.
In the 1980s, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars bought Fay’s vineyard. In the 1990s, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History placed a bottle of the winery’s historic 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon in its collection.
The wine caves at the property have a grand entrance designed by Javier Barba, a Spanish architect. The views of the Stags Leap Palisades from the winery are gorgeous.
The architect also designed the Visitor Center at the property, with views to the Fay vineyard.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is located along the Silverado Trail, the beautiful older road through Napa Valley. Tastings and tours are available by appointment.
More information: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
Darioush Winery: A Persian Vision
Built in honor of the wine-making legacy of his homeland Persia, Darioush Khaledi’s Darioush Winery is inspired by Persepolis, the capital of ancient Persia. The ruins of Persepolis have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The winery building celebrates the beautiful columns for which the architecture of the ancient city was renowned. Made of warm yellow stone, Darioush Winery features beautiful details on its facade. Inside, admire the gorgeous ceiling to floor water feature.
The gardens at Darioush also draw their inspiration from Persia, featuring roses, olives, pistache trees, and pomegranates right next to the rows of grape vines. Beautiful water features make for a pleasant stroll.
Darioush offers a variety of wines, including Merlots, Cabernets, and Syrahs. Some tastings at Darioush are paired with pistachios and mezze plates, in keeping with the heritage of the winery, others with local cheeses.
Tastings are offered daily, by appointment.
More information: Darioush Winery
Duckhorn Vineyards: Charming Grounds
A gracious estate house and beautiful grounds make visiting Duckhorn Vineyards a pleasure. Built in the Colonial style, the estate house has a pleasing white exterior, a balcony, and a wraparound veranda with views.
The tasting room has large windows to let in lots of light and views of the greenery outside. On the walls, you will see menus of meals that featured Duckhorn wines, from the White House and other famous places.
Wandering the pathways through the grounds at Duckhorn Vineyards is a joy. We visited in the fall, when foliage color added to the beauty, but I imagine the grounds look beautiful in every season.
The gardens feature native plants and mature trees, making for a lush beautiful display.
Duckhorn is known for its Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay wines. Tastings are offered daily by appointment.
More information: Duckhorn Vineyards
Sterling Vineyards: Aerial Views
Located in Calistoga in the northern part of Napa Valley, Sterling Vineyards is known for its views. An aerial tram, the only one in Napa Valley, takes you up to the winery, which is located on a hilltop.
As you ascend, you get beautiful views of the countryside.
Sterling Vineyards has a beautiful driveway lined with mature trees on either side. The leaves change color in the fall, as do the vineyards, making it a great time to visit.
Sterling Vineyards is one of the prettiest wineries in Napa Valley!
The stucco winery building has a large terrace designed to capitalize on the commanding 360-degree views from the top.
Kids are allowed to experience the tram ride at specific times, so check the winery’s website if you plan to visit Napa Valley with children and want to ride the tram.
Sterling offers a wide range of wines of several varietals. Appointments are strongly encouraged for tastings. Tasting reservations include tram tickets.
Note: Sterling Vineyards is scheduled to reopen soon after renovations following the 2020 Glass Fire.
More information: Sterling Vineyards
Map of the Most Beautiful Napa Valley Wineries
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