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Home »  Articles »  Out in the Vineyards - Top 5 Wineries in Yountville
Out in the Vineyards - Top 5 Wineries in Yountville

Out in the Vineyards - Top 5 Wineries in Yountville

Located in the middle of Napa Valley, Yountville is home to more than 75 wineries. From a wine enthusiast’s perspective, this small, upscale town has it all, from world- renowned to homegrown talent, Cabernet to Champagne-style sparkling wine. With so many wineries to choose from, however, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to visit! To simplify the choices, here is a look at our top 5 Yountville wineries. Fortunately, they’re nearby to one another, making it an easy drive to tour and taste.

 

Bell Wine Cellars

As you drive north on Route 29, Bell Wine Cellars will appear on your right just before entering the town. It is tucked away among its vineyards at the end of Washington Street. The winery’s stone building, with its high, wooden ceilings and heavy oak door, create a feeling of rustic elegance.

 

Inside, the procession of oak barrels and stainless steel tanks remind you the wine is blended and stored in the very same building as the tasting. Bell Wine Cellars is proud of their refined grape cloning process, which has allowed them to specialize in making award-winning Cabernet Sauvignons. After tasting this, and four other currently released wines, visitors can step beyond the tasting room and onto the back veranda for a game of bocce on their regulation court or a closer look at the grapes themselves.

 

Need to know: $20 per flight. By appointment only. Allow 45 minutes. Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 

Hopper Creek Vineyard & Winery

Across Washington Street is Hopper Creek Vineyards, one of Yountville’s hidden gems. Situated alongside charming Hopper Creek, this vineyard produces an impressive variety of quality wines for its small size (only six acres of grapes). One of the older wineries in the valley, they have embraced sustainability practices to craft their specialties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, along with white wines sourced with grapes from their other property in Sonoma County.

 

Wine tasting can happen in one of three places – the tasting room or on the patios in the front or back of the winery. Hopper Creek’s cozy tasting room is distinctly different from those of larger wineries, as it features a plush sofa, comfortable velvet chairs and low ceilings that create a friendly, intimate atmosphere. The staffers are friendly and well informed about their wines, which helped the winery make the list of the San Francisco Chronicle’s top 25 tasting experiences in 2016. Do note that tasting costs may be waived if you purchase several bottles of wine.

 

Need to know: $25 per flight. No appointment necessary (call ahead suggested). Allow one hour or more. Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 

Goosecross Cellars

 If you drive a mile north from Hopper Creek along the Silverado Trail, you will arrive at Goosecross, one of Yountville’s finest wineries. As you walk up to a curved bar in their modern, open-air tasting room foyer, you can see beyond the servers to an inviting patio, shaded by a large oak tree, that leads out to the bucolic vineyards beyond.

 

Once you are seated with your first tasting of the flight, one of their attentive serving staff will visit your table from time to time to inform you about the wine and introduce another into your glass. Like many of their neighbors in the Napa Valley, Goosecross specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon, but distinguishes their product with dark fruity notes. They also produce a variety of red and white wines, including a stellar Merlot and Chardonnay.

 

Need to know: $25 per flight. No appointment necessary. Allow one hour. Open 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 

Cliff Lede Vineyards

Traveling one block south on State Lane, you will find Cliff Lede Vineyards, which boasts an upbeat atmosphere thanks in part to its rock ‘n’ roll theme. Guitars line the entryway, and fascinating music memorabilia is displayed throughout the winery’s seating area. After receiving your first tasting from the walk-up tasting bar, you can enjoy the stone patio and comfortable furniture while admiring the large abstract metal sculptures scattered throughout the property.

 

Be sure to check out the Front Row and Backstage tasting areas – these private lounges are a nod to Cliff Lede’s musical theme and offer tableside service ($50 per flight). The winery is known for their smooth Sauvignon Blanc and their full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Each of these wine varietals is grown using state-of-the-art sustainability and water-saving practices.

 

Need to know: $30 per flight (for walk-up Tasting Bar). No appointment necessary. Allow one hour. Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 

Domaine Chandon

No visit to Yountville would be complete without a stop at the legendary Domaine Chandon. This Napa Valley staple specializes in high-end sparkling wines that are sold around the world. In addition to their impressive variety of sparkling wines, they also offer a selection of still wines, focusing on Rosè, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

 

Located in the center of Yountville, just west of Route 29, the winery is tucked into a huge expanse of vineyards, its striking architecture designed to resemble the curved wine barrels of its heritage. You enter Domaine Chandon over a low bridge and travel up the hill to the tasting areas. Inside, the large tasting room features minimalist architecture and has several bars to order tastings and light hors d’oeuvres to accompany your wine. Outside, you will find ample patio seating and lawn space to take in the views of the valley below.

 

Need to know: $20 per classic flight (vintage flight is $25). No appointment necessary, but recommended. Allow 45 minutes. Open 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 

Yountville offers a great variety of wine tasting experiences, as well as award-winning wines. Whether you prefer a modern or rustic ambience, a small cult-wine producer or a world-renowned wine and spirits company, there is something for everyone.

 

By Rourke Healey

 

Rourke Healey is a freelance writer based in Oakland, CA.

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