Local Wally's BEST SILVERADO TRAIL WINERIES | Coupons | Napa Tourist Guide
Local Wally picks the BEST Napa wineries on Silverado Trail, from Frog's Leap to Stag's Leap, picnics & coupons, deals and discounts.
Napa's Best Wineries On Silverado Trail
Napa Wineries off the Beaten Path
Most first timers visiting Napa Valley stay on the main Highway 29. That's understandable as it's lined with big name wineries all in a row. But parallel to Highway 29 is the Silverado Trail, the road less traveled but certainly no less rewarding for those looking for scenic travels and great wineries along the way. Slow down and relax, pack a picnic, the Silverado Trail beckons you to discover its charms - and wine.
There are still big name wineries here such as Mumm Napa, Stags Leap, and Rombauer, but also plenty of smaller ones that you won't find at your local supermarket. Barrel taste in a cave, tour an old frog farm, chat with a family winemaker, it's a more intimate Napa - and certainly less crowded.
And if you want deals, discounts and coupons, I've collected them all and put them on my Napa on a Budget page.
Lovely Gardens - Sit Down Tasting Experience
With some wineries looking more like they belong in Las Vegas than Napa it's refreshing to stop in at Duckhorn Vineyards where the tasting room is a beautifully simple Craftsman house. The modern tasting room is elegant but the prime spots have to be on the patio overlooking the vineyard or in the backyard among the gardens.
Reservations required and seating limited, good to remember when planning your trip, especially during high season where crowd control is a huge positive. Those looking to maximize their tasting time should get get here around noon and order a charcuterie plate for a light lunch or snack.
Frog's Leap Winery
Great Tour Experience - Fun Setting on a Farm
Any winery that is built on what was once an old frog farm has got to be a bit quirky. Back in the late 1800's, tasty frog legs were harvested here, jumping off the plates of the sophisticated diners in San Francisco. Later a winery took over the spot, went under during prohibition, and was reborn as Frog's Leap in 1994. The old original red barn is a reminder of its past.
If you've been on a winery tour you know that some make you suffer through the history before you get your first sip but not so at Frog's leap where you sip wine as you tour the farm. Short on time? Relax with a tasting flight in their gardens or barrel room, a wonderfully relaxing experience.
Fun, Lively, and Plenty of Bubbles - Sparkling Wines
Mumm Napa is a favorite stops on the Silverado Trail, especially later in the afternoon when the sun is setting over the vineyards and there are three flutes of sparkling wines in front of you. A shady spot on the patio is the place to be on a sunny day - head over to the more exclusive Oak Terrace patio when the crowds are thick. There's also a reasonably priced tour where you get to keep your champagne flute at the end as well as a free art exhibit you can stroll with a glass of bubbly, how terribly fancy of you.
Open later than most wineries, aim your car here for your final stop to relax and chill with a great glass of champagne.
Historic Winery - Beautiful Stone Building - Hidden Gem - Picnic Area
Driving up the dusty road lined with vineyards, you can't help but wonder if you've made a wrong turn and somehow ended up in Tuscany. Built in 1878, Regusci is in one of the oldest winery buildings in Napa and the setting is beautiful. Outside they're harvesting the olive trees and a lazy corgi is basking in the morning sun - it's a step back in time. There are no giant screen TV's, no ostentatious statues or pillars, just a beautiful setting with big bold red wines.
Look for the guy in the kilt (don't look too hard) for a fun and educational tasting experience. One of my favorite wineries, make reservations.
Rombauer Vineyards Napa
Hidden Away in the Hills - Lush Gardens - Secret Picnic Area
You say you like your chardonnay "rich and buttery"? Well, you've come to the right place. Rombauer Vineyards is the classic example, maybe the best example, of a California chardonnay with that big, oak-y flavor.
Located high on a hill on a twisting road, the tasting room is low key and unassuming - you wouldn't even know you're at a winery responsible for such premier wines. But step outside and it's pure bliss. Lush views, beautiful landscaping, it's one of my favorite picnic spots, secluded and intimate and little known. Bottles are surprisingly reasonable for the caliber of wine, Rombauer Vineyards might be your favorite stop.
Great for a Photo Op - Persian Styled Winery in Napa
You're driving along the Silverado Trail and taking in all the beautiful scenery from the rolling hills to the natural countryside and POW, what the hell is that? Why it's Darioush, a winery so weirdly out of place that you have to stop to check it out.
Designed to look like something from an ancient Persian Empire, you half expect to see Lara Croft jumping from column to column with a machine gun blasting or Cleopatra lounging near the front door. Are we in Vegas?? Stop and take a photo in front - you friends will not believe you without one. I won't blame you if you don't taste here but don't miss the photo op.
Del Dotto Silverado
Barrel Tasting in the Caves is the Main Attraction Here
Don't be confused. There are two Del Dotto wineries in Napa Valley, both with cave tours. The original is the one off The Silverado Trail and the other is in St. Helena on Highway 29. Both are good, but the original is best.
Though you can stop in just to taste, it's the cave tour that's the star here. Take a walk into the caves where you'll barrel taste your way through the caves as music echoes on the walls. You'll learn firsthand the impact that different woods have on the wine, it's an educational experience that's made all the more fun by their generous pours. If barrel tasting is on your agenda you can do no better than the tour at Del Dotto Silverado.
Reynolds Family Winery
Discover a Real Family Winery - Red Wines - Wine Pass Discount
Ever thought about quitting that job of yours and becoming a wine maker? That's exactly what Steve Reynolds did, a one time dentist who bought an old chicken ranch in 1995 and ended up quitting his practice 5 years later to run his winery full time. Today Reynolds Family Winery is still just that, a family run winery that's a breath of fresh air if you've only been visiting the mega-wineries on Highway 29.
Quaint tasting room, beautiful grounds, a seating on the patio overlooking the pond can't be beat. Reservations required, charcuterie option for an informal lunch, Reynolds Winery is a pleasant experience with great wines.
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
Taste the Judgement of Paris For Yourself - New Tasting Room
The 1976 blind tastings in Paris were a big deal. Besides beating the French at their own game it also put Napa wines on the map and started the American wine craze that's still going strong today. Stag's Leap Wine Cellars was there, winning the #1 spot for their Cabernet Sauvignon. Now with their new tasting room, it's a must for any wine lover.
Now pay attention as there are two "Stags Leap" wineries on The Silverado Trail, separated only by an apostrophe. Stag's Leap made the winning wine. Stags' Leap, while making very fine wines, did not. If you want to taste the winning cab, this is the place. Or try them both - why not?
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Why Spit Napa
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