The 2020 Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in wine tourism throughout the ten greatest wine regions in the world, and a visit to the Napa Valley winners should definitely be on your radar. Here’s who made the cut:
Louis M. Martini Winery
Global Winner- Architecture & Landscapes
Built in 1933, the Louis M. Martini Winery was one of the first five in Napa Valley to open after the repeal of Prohibition. A total renovation in 2018 brought to life the vision of renowned architect Howard Backen, whose guidance brought out the beauty of the winery’s utilitarian design of terra cotta brick, concrete and steel. The design preserved the original structure and footprint yet made meaningful changes to the interior as well as the indoor/ outdoor flow, creating multiple spaces for immersive wine experiences.
Insider tip: Book an afternoon in the private cabanas on the lawn in Martini Park, where guests can take in views of the surrounding mountains and enjoy a glass of wine with wood-fired pairings, or full bottle service.
Vista Collina Resort
Regional Winner- Accommodation
Nestled in the rolling, vine-covered hills of Napa Valley, Vista Collina presents a new way to relish the pleasures of wine country. Savor a variety of wines and brews at the tasting Village, which boasts nine local wine tasting rooms. Craft a delectable picnic at the farm-fresh artisanal market or celebrate Napa’s culinary arts with an in-suite cooking class. Vista Collina’s 145 guest rooms and suites provide tranquil retreats. Open your welcome bottle of wine and take in the view of the resort’s own nine-acre vineyard, resort pool or lush courtyards from your expansive balcony.
Insider tip: Gather for free live music, lawn games, and the Village Food Truck on Sundays. The resort is family and pet friendly, so bring the whole crew!
Charles Krug Winery
Regional Winner- Arts & Culture
Renowned for its exceptional wines, stunning design, storied heritage and cultural events, Charles Krug Winery is a true Napa Valley icon. From signature events like the Napa Valley Film Festival, Sunset Cinema, and Tastings on the Lawn to the smaller events it hosts, Charles Krug is emerging as a cultural hub for the Napa Valley. The estate frequently plays host to comedy shows, photography exhibits, musical concerts, and noteworthy speakers, all part of the Mondavi Family’s commitment to sharing its property with the community.
Insider tip: Grab tickets to the Charles Krug Comedy Series, a delightful spin on traditional stand-up comedy in the heart of wine country. Before and during the shows, the winery offers award-winning wine, artisan wood-fired pizza, fabulous charcuterie & cheese plates, and popcorn.
Judd’s Hill Winery
Regional Winner- Innovative Wine Tourism Experience
Judd’s Hill pioneered MicroCrush®, a custom winemaking experience that gives visitors the chance to make a barrel (or more!) of their own custom handcrafted wine. Since then it has grown to become a popular choice for grape growers looking to showcase their fruit, as well as backyard vineyard owners and wine enthusiasts looking to make small lots of ultra-premium wine. Judd’s Hill offers all-inclusive, expert winemaking services, and a fun, personalized experience among the vineyards in Napa Valley.
Insider tip: Not ready to bring home a whole barrel? Judd Hill's Bottle Blending Day Camp leads you through a personal tasting, education and blending session as you choose your perfect Bordeaux-style blend from four barrel samples. Once your signature cuveé has been decided upon, you hand-bottle, cork, capsule and label your masterpiece.
Honig Vineyard & Winery
Regional Winner- Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices
Honig Vineyard and Winery is a sustainably farmed, family-owned and operated winery. Their popular Eco-Tour & Tasting begins by boarding a 6-passenger cart which will transport you into the vineyard, where you’ll see first-hand the things they do to care for the environment while producing world-class wines - from managing water use, to providing wildlife habitat, to Honig's role in the restoration of the Rutherford Reach of the Napa River (and of course, the Honig bees!). At the end of the tour, you will sit down for a tasting of Honig's delicious award-winning wines.
Insider tip: Honig is family-friendly, and provides little ones with coloring pages, crayons, and grape juice to enjoy while the adults sit and sip.
Regional Winner- Wine Tourism Restaurants
Who doesn’t love a juicy burger with a bold Napa Valley Cabernet? For the last 20 years, Gott’s St. Helena location has been a wine-country mainstay, offering both visitors and Napa natives a family-friendly option for lunch and dinner to compliment a day of exploring the valley. With a California-centric list hand-selected by Joel Gott, the diversified selection of whites and reds pleases the palate of all wine lovers alongside burgers, tacos, and milkshakes.
Insider tip: While the burgers at Gott’s are always a solid standby, locals go crazy for the Ahi tuna tacos. And don’t miss special seasonal menu offerings in the summer and fall (did someone say Mexican street corn?)!
Active Wine Adventures
Regional Winner – Wine Tourism Services
Active Wine Adventures offers private Napa Valley experiences for couples and small groups who want to discover the valley’s wineries while taking in the splendor and natural beauty of the great outdoors. A variety of tour options pair outdoor activities, visual arts, and local history/literature with world-class Napa Valley wines.
Insider tip: Discover old Napa Valley on a Literary Legend Tour, which follows the footsteps of 19th-century author Robert Louis Stevenson to historic wineries and sights- it's one of the most unique ways to explore Napa Valley!