Written and compiles by Annie Sliman
On a Napa Mission
In the last year, I have visited over two dozen small, mostly family-owned vineyards, including Aonair Wine, Alpha Omega, Spring Mountain Vineyards, Fontinella Vineyards, O’Brien Estate and Porter Family Vineyards. I’ve also spent time visiting the larger, better-known wineries such as Pine Ridge, Beringer and Hess. Large or small, each of these wineries showcase their own unique wines. Some are surrounded by lush gardens and vineyards and few even have their own incredible caves.
As a larger winery, the Hess family art collection spreads through three levels adjacent to the tasting room, overlooking the vineyards. This gallery is definitely worth seeing and the road trip to get there is breathtaking.
The smaller wineries also have their charms. The crowds are limited and you receive personal attention from a wine host. On a lucky day, you could meet the wine maker or even the owner. While I was there, I met Charles Hendricks, wine maker for James Cole Winery and four other wineries including his own, Hope & Grace Wines. My friend bought a large bottle of wine for his son’s wedding, which Hendricks graciously autographed. Altogether, it was a very memorable moment and gave us a chance to chat about wine and wineries with a very knowledgeable person.
Another one of Napa’ best-kept secrets is a winery just four miles from the downtown riverfront. The Porter Family Vineyards is located in the Coombsville region of Napa with a fantastic view of the valley. This awe-inspiring family estate includes 17,000 square feet of caves, which is used to host tours and tastings and to do their wine making on the premises. Visit the website at porterfamilyvineyards.com to preview this outstanding winery and put it on your must-see list when you visit Napa.
As you plan your trip, pick up a guidebook once you get there or email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestion or two.
Napa Valley Wine Excursions
Many of the most remarkable winery experiences–barrel tastings, tours in the vineyards, and meeting with the winemakers and winery owners are hidden gems off the beaten path, nestled in the Napa Valley roads and hillsides.
Napa Valley Wine Excursions owner Paul Bailey offers a unique wine tour experience for you that only a Napa native can provide. Constant and unending attention to detail coupled with first-hand knowledge of wine country; Bailey provides unforgettable tastings and tours you simply may not stumble upon on your own. Bailey takes exceptional pride in providing guests with memorable photos, unique and extraordinary visits to vineyards and wineries.
Don’t hesitate to contact Paul Bailey at: 707.363.1397 or email@example.com
The Napa River Inn
Nestled into the heart of Downtown Napa, the Napa River Inn stands out as an upscale boutique hotel. Surrounded by the valley’s world-renowned vineyards, beautiful scenery, excellent restaurants, and favorable climate, the inn sits snugly along the banks of the Napa River.
Fine dining, shopping, entertainment and relaxing spa treatments are all within walking distance. Hiking, biking, golfing, balloon rides and amazing wineries are all an easy drive.
The Napa River Inn has 66 rooms, many with fireplaces, river views and balconies. It has two restaurants, night club, spa and a gift shop.
Napa River Inn
500 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559
O’Brien Estate Winery
O’Brien Estate Winery owners Bart and Barb O’Brien’s romantic dream came true when they purchased their winery in 2000. The winery and vineyard spans 40 acres with stunning views of the Oak Knoll district. The winery plants Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes, all estate-grown. Grapes are hand-harvested and crushed in small batches and the wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in new French oak barrels. Then, estate winemaker David Yorgensen bottles them with a state-of-the-art Italian bottling system right in the tasting room. The winery welcomes visitors for an unforgettable private tour and tasting of their award-winning wines in their backyard sanctuary.
For more information, visit obrienestate.com.
Napa General Store
Napa General Store has been delivering world-class customer service for over a decade, and it’s no wonder discerning shoppers head to the Napa General Store to see the latest in local art, jewelry, gifts, furniture and home furnishings. They are focused on their clients and giving them a memorable experience. Need help with a special gift? Shipping? Gift-wrapped? Napa General Store provides all of this and more. Located in the historic Napa Mill, Napa General Store is the go to spot for those in pursuit of quality and originality.
Shopping daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dining in café 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wine tasting and sales in wine bar 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
540 Main Street
Napa, CA 94559