What better way to kick off your Napa Valley getaway than with some off-the-grid winery visits? Although off the beaten path, you really needn’t look too far to find unique wine experiences, stunning Napa Valley views and wilderness-lined drives to get there. Let this list of the best Napa Valley wineries off the beaten path guide the way on your trip:
1. Cade Winery
Up Howell Mountain in Angwin lies a beautiful modern winery known for distinctly delicious Cabernet Sauvignon and crisp Sauvignon Blanc. CADE is a LEED Gold Certified winery, and all of their grapes are organically farmed. The view from their outdoor tasting patio over the valley floor can only be beat by pairing that view with a glass of CADE’s estate Sauvignon Blanc.
Charbay not only presses grapes, it distills the hard stuff, too! Taste wines, ports and a 100% natural green tea aperitif. After a warm greeting by the owners with a cold glass of green tea aperitif, learn all the ins and outs of the distilling process, and then sample a selection of Charbay’s red and white wines. End the tasting with a port and chocolate pairing, and possibly a splash or two of their pomegranate dessert wine.
This small winery at the southern end of Napa produces a limited number of wines ranging from Cabernet Blends to unusual 100% varietal selections. Taste wine with the owners and learn about the beauty and the challenges of small production wines where all wines are processed by hand.
This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat. When tasting, it’s hard not to reflect on the history of the estate and the fifth generation winemaker’s expertise and passion.
Winding through picturesque fields, undulating vineyards and oak-studded hills, one gets the feeling of being transported back in time heading northeast away from Silverado Trail. There you will find Pope Valley Winery established in 1897, originally known as Burgundy Winery. Note the original hand-dug caves complete with hand-hewn redwood timbers. The original farmhouse still graces the property, as well as a blacksmith’s workshop, complete with old school tools of the trade.
The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.
7. William Hill
Located in the Atlas Peak appellation, William Hill’s great outside terrace has plenty of seating for outside tasting. In spring, their terrace is protected from the heat by the property’s lush, blooming wisteria. And the view? How about vineyards upon vineyards filled with mustard and poppies.
Take a beautiful 10-minute drive up Mt. Veeder road to where the Hess Collection lies. Enjoy a delicious tasting of their wines then tour through the private art collection that Donald Hess personally selected.
The winery is located high above the city of Napa, in the beautifully rugged mountains between Mt. George and Milliken Canyon at the southeastern end of the Napa Valley. Once there, tour through their 45,000 square foot, completely underground winery that has an underground waterfall that controls the humidity for the wine making facility. Then taste your way through their delicious rooms in a private and magical setting.
10. Newton Vineyards
Don’t know how to decide between views or caves? Then Newton’s your spot. Walk through the estate’s stunning garden overlooking St. Helena and enjoy the views from their terrace while sipping some of their famed unfiltered varietals.
Photo credit: Cade Winery