Contact Wally

Use the form on the right to contact me.

I am happy to help you plan your trip to Napa.  If you need a free winery trip planning agenda please give me as much time as you can due to the large number of requests.  I can typically turn around a custom agenda in 3 days.

Happy also to help you with restaurant and hotel recommendations, all honest and unbiased and based on my own experiences.


Local Wally


123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789


You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.


Local Wally's Blog to Napa |

Read Local Wally's Blog to Napa for up to date news, features, and stories from Napa Valley. Guest Posts Welcome!

Filtering by Tag: tasting in a barn

Discover Sonoma: Take a Side Trip to Rustic Canihan Winery

Local Wally

Canihan Winery in Sonoma

Canihan Winery | 1340 Napa Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476 | Appt Only: (415) 990-9270

"Look for the numbers on the mailbox or you'll miss it."

Those instructions were from Bill Canihan Jr, the owner of the family winery with roots that go back to Switzerland where his grandfather was born. Looking for a better life, his grandfathers journey led him to San Francisco where he developed a passion for wine, a love that was handed down to his son-in-law who purchased a farm in Sonoma in 1973.  Fast forward a few years and his grandson, once a successful mortgage broker, is responsible for making some of the best Pinot Noirs and Syrahs you'll ever taste. Seriously good stuff!

The barn serves as the tasting room at Canihan Winery.

This is the tasting room? I like it!

What's most apparent is the stark contrast of the tasting room to the mega wineries popping up in Napa.  Don't get me wrong, I love Napa and love a grand tasting room as much as the next guy but when you drive down the dusty road and end up at a rickety barn you quickly forget about Persian columns and chrome rabbits.  It's a bit like changing the radio dial from rap to John Denver.  What?  No tram ride?  No gargoyles?  Nope, there's not even a bocce ball court! But there's wine, lots of really great wine.

Bill Canihan pouring his wines in the barn in Sonoma.

The tasting room is the barn, bottles set up on a rustic table made from Redwood barrel staves that were used to age wine in the '60's and balanced on wine barrels. There was no interior designer here and that's fine with me. Bill pours the wine himself on most days, happily telling you about the awards and humbly describing his wines - mainly pinot noir and syrah's. As an occasional fly buzzed by (it is a barn, after all), it just struck me that this is what wine tasting is all about - wine, people, conversation.

Bill Canihan waves us into the barn.  Yes, this is where you taste!

And Bill is a super nice guy. There's no pretense, there's no script, he's just pouring wines and sipping them with you like he's known you forever.

Stacked along the barn wall were empties, every year and every wine he has produced represented, including the 2003 Pinot that started it all and the 2004 Syrah that won his first set of awards. The wines were beyond excellent, really some of the best I've tasted on this trip. Canihan Winery makes small yield, high quality wines, focused on quality and aimed at the discriminating wine lover. But don't let that scare you off - the tasting experience is fun, friendly, and educational (in a good way). Really, even if you are a newbie to wine tasting this is a great stop.

Bill Canihan from Canihan Wines

TIP:  Did you know you can get a two for one tasting at Canihan if you show them your Priority Wine Pass? Get yours today and don't forget to use promo code localwally to get my readers' discount! Just $39.99, it opens up two for one tastings all over Napa and Sonoma.

Tractors, chickens, and farmhouse dogs, an authentic experience.

In the end you can't help but buy a few bottles. And that's my wine tasting etiquette tip - while it's certainly OK to not buy at Robert Mondavi or Beringer, when visiting a small winery buying wine at the winery is what keeps them in business. Bottles are in the $50 range, quite reasonable for wines of this caliber and a good choice for bringing home to share with friends. Or bring it to dinner that night. Now that's a good plan! Bill waives the tasting fee with a bottle purchase as if you needed more incentive.

Canihan Winery in Sonoma - Put it on your bucket list of wineries to visit!

Perhaps one of the best wine tasting experiences you will have.

So when the crowds at the giant mega wineries get you down and you want a wine tasting experience that connects to the winery the way the wines connect to the soil, get off the beaten track and take that short drive to Sonoma. Make your way to Canihan Winery and experience wine tasting where the wine - and the people who made them - are the focus.


TIP:  The restroom is a porta potty so plan ahead :-)