Napa Valley is chock-full of small production, family-owned, boutique-style wineries. In fact, over 90% of Napa Valley wineries are family owned. If you seek a truly personalized experience, then be sure to explore the many wineries of Napa Valley including those on this short list. Don’t forget to call ahead before stopping in – while many wineries can accommodate walk-in visits (especially mid-week), most wineries are required (by county ordinances) to see guests by appointment. No matter how you get there, you will be glad you discovered these gems for yourself!
Baldacci Family Vineyards – Napa
Baldacci Family embodies passion for wine. Located in the acclaimed Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, the family invites guests to visit and to share in this passion. Second-generation vintner, Michael Baldacci, creates limited production wines from three distinct estate vineyards located in Calistoga, the Stags Leap District, and Los Carneros, all renowned regions within the Napa Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area).
The winery, well-known for its single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon wines, is also known for its friendly and welcoming hospitality. Guests may receive exclusive access to limited production wines, fun special events, and private tasting opportunities.
Bouchaine Vineyards – Napa
Located in the Carneros AVA, Bouchaine has a long history dating back to the late 1800s when a settler by the name of Boon Fly first planted grapes and trees on the property. The property changed hands a few times before Gerret and Tatiana Copeland fell in love with "a Carneros fixer-upper.” Today, Bouchaine is the oldest continuously operating winery in Carneros and offers a full portfolio of cooler climate wines including Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as some less-common varietals such as Pinot Meunier and Gewurztraminer.
Stop by and stay a while to sip wines while enjoying sweeping vista views and any one of the many curated experiences ranging from falconry demonstrations (a sustainable farming practice) to cooking classes to wine and music pairings and more.
Canard Vineyard – Calistoga
Tucked down a driveway on Dunaweal Lane, is a truly cool, quaint little haven. The family-owned and operated Canard Vineyard, which features a 135-year-old Zinfandel vineyard, offers tastings in a cozy little barn adjacent to the family home. Guests experience an uninterrupted, personalized signature tasting paired with a delightful charcuterie board, and the host…well, he certainly knows about the wines since he helps to make them.
In addition to Zinfandel wines, Canard Vineyard also offers Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and, of course, Cabernet Sauvignon, plus a surprise Rosé which is perfectly delicate and refined.
Crocker & Starr Winery – St. Helena
What began as an accidental meeting between grape grower, Charlie Crocker, and winemaker, Pam Starr, led to a long-lasting partnership founded on the love for excellence in wine. Crocker & Starr was established with a common goal of resurrecting the historic Crocker Vineyard Estate and creating world-class wines from the extraordinary terroir. Today, 25 years later, the winery still upholds this philosophy.
Guests at Crocker & Starr are invited to “touch the vines and taste the wines.” What better way to spend the day!
Crosby Roamann – Napa
What was once an abandoned warehouse in the Crusher District of Napa Valley, has come to life in the way of a chic and hip space to taste wine, thanks to the vision of husband and wife team, Juliana and Sean Walker McBride, founders of Crosby Roamann. The space also houses the production facility for Crosby Roamann’s estate bottled wines, and Juliana and Sean also feature a selection of single vineyard wines comprised of grapes grown in the North Bay Area of California.
During your visit, be sure to try the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the Estate White Blend.
Judd’s Hill Winery – Napa
Nestled amidst beautiful vines, Judd’s Hill is certainly an artistic family affair – literally and figuratively! The family is comprised of artists, each of whom has their own artistic expression – painting, poetry, and music – and the family views wine as another artistic outlet.
Wines from Judd’s Hill include the more traditional varietals such as Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, but guests can experience some not-so-common blends, too, such Grenache and Viognier.
Nichelini Winery – St. Helena
Established in 1890, the Nichelini family, holds title as one of the oldest family-owned wineries in Napa Valley and still very much runs a family operation. With over 125 years in Napa Valley, the original home still stands and guests may also see a Roman wine press that was used by founders Anton and Caterina Nichelini.
Today the family produces old vine Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and even a sparkling wine.
Paloma Vineyard – St. Helena
Owner and vintner, Sheldon Richards, continues the legacy started by his parents, Barbara and Jim, at Paloma Vineyard. The Spanish word for “dove,” Paloma sits on a steep, tree-lined ridge at the very top of Spring Mountain and features sweeping vistas of the valley floor. Seemingly miles away from anywhere, guests may sip on Paloma Merlot which, in 2003, was named by Wine Spectator the “Wine of the Year.” Sparking a solid following, the Paloma Merlot was again recognized by the magazine in subsequent years.
Paloma wines are the amalgamation of terroir, unique micro-climates, and the family’s dedication to farming and multi-generational winemaking practices, and the wines continue to please a loyal list of followers.
Paradigm Winery – Oakville
Located in the heart of the Oakville AVA and the Harris family’s vineyards, Paradigm produces hand-crafted wines and is proud to farm their vineyard in such a way that the vines yield the very best that the earth can offer. With roots in California dating as far back as the late 1700s, Ren and Marilyn Harris settled into their Napa Valley home in the 1960s.
In collaboration with winemaker, Heidi Barrett, the Harrises were determined to make great wine while preserving the small, family-owned style of winery that Napa Valley was built on, and that position holds true today. The team at Paradigm is small and welcomes guests to call ahead for a tasting appointment.
Pestoni Family Estate Winery – Rutherford
Located on Highway 29, Pestoni Family Estate has family in its name – and they mean it. This family- and puppy-friendly winery includes a backyard area where guests can enjoy a fun game of cornhole or bocce. Bring a couple of your own cheeses and a baguette, and pair them with a lovely flight of four wines from Pestoni.
If you are looking for a laidback and casual wine experience, add this cheerful winery to your list.