A Local’s Guide to the Best Wineries in Napa

A Local’s Guide to the Best Wineries in Napa

Without a doubt, the number one question I get in my DM’s is “I’m planning trip to Napa! Where should I go??” 

Whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth time, planning the perfect Napa getaway can feel overwhelming. With over 400 wineries and countless restaurants, activities, and lodging options, there’s a lot of choices to be made! 

I created this guide to walk you through the steps you’ll want to take and the questions you want to be answered when planning your ultimate trip to Napa. Happy sipping!

Understanding Napa Valley's Layout

Napa Vs. Napa Valley​

When planning your trip to Napa, the first thing you want to understand is Napa Valley’s layout. When people refer to the Napa Valley wine region, they’re referring to an area that includes 16 sub-AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) and several different cities.

The most popular cities to stay and dine in are: Downtown Napa (yes, it’s a city’s name, along with the region’s name, and the county’s name), Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga

Depending on where you choose to base yourself, you’ll most likely want to choose wineries near that area. Alternatively, plan a route that clusters wineries together if they’re further away. And plan your time accordingly! From the southern tip of Napa to the northern tip of Calistoga, it’s approximately a 50-minute drive. The worst thing you could do is accidentally plan two tastings back-to-back that are on the opposite end of the Valley! 

When choosing where to taste, my recommendation is to create a “My Map” in Google and pin all the spots you’re planning to visit. Then you can schedule your tastings along the most logical route.

To help you find the best wineries in Napa, check out my personal Napa Map here.

Best Napa Wineries by Sub-AVA

Napa Transportation: How to Get Around

The easiest way to get around Napa is by car — but if you don’t have one, or want to focus on enjoying wine without the stress, there are plenty of options!

Is there Uber in Napa Valley?

Uber and Lyft operate in Napa, but often have long wait times and aren’t always reliable. If you’re planning on utilizing them, check the estimated pickup time ~15-20 minutes before you actually want the car to arrive. 

You’ll also want to choose tasting rooms that are close to the city centers of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, or Calistoga, to minimize your chances of being stranded somewhere! It’s not recommended to use Uber to leave the Valley floor.  

Are Wineries Walkable in Napa Valley?

If you stay right downtown in the cities of Napa or Yountville, there are plenty of cute tasting rooms within the walkable downtown area

If you’re interested in the city of Napa, check out my experience in Downtown Napa here. 

Or, check out the best Yountville wineries here – which are all walkable or bikeable from downtown!

Best Driving Services in Napa Valley

Alternatively, consider renting a car or booking a driver. My recommendation tends to lean towards the latter, as it just makes the whole day easier, safer, and more fun, since you don’t have to worry about a designated driver!

My favorite Napa Valley driver service is North Bay Wine Tours. Operated by a husband and wife team, they do day trips in Napa and Sonoma and also offer options for airport pickups/dropoffs. All trips are done in a beautiful Tesla, so it’s luxurious and sustainable! Check them out here. 

Planning Wineries in Napa

When planning your wineries, keep in mind the location logistics discussed above! I also recommend only planning 2-3 tastings per day, but a max of 4. Any more than that and you’re going to be wiped out! 

Personally, my perfect day is a winery, a stop for a long, relaxing lunch, and then a second winery. But since I live here, I have all the time in the world to explore! If you want to do more, just remember to eat.

You’ll want to plan for approximately 1.5-2 hours per winery, depending on whether you’re doing a regular tasting or one of their more comprehensive experiences. Most wineries list on their site how long to expect to stay there. And when planning your reservations, be sure to factor in travel time!

Expect to pay anywhere from $30-150 (and upwards!) for a tasting in Napa. There are a handful of places that will waive the tasting fee if you purchase, but this isn’t very common here. If you’re looking to save money, I have a post saved here of the best affordable, budget-friendly Napa wineries

I’ve saved all of my favorite wineries in an interactive Google Map. You can check it out here, view my experiences, and easily access their websites directly from the map. 

Pro Tip: Book your reservations ahead of time. Most wineries in Napa require them now!

Burger at Gott's
Bone Marrow at Avow

Napa Lunch Options

I love nothing more than pairing wine and food together – add in a vineyard view, and I’m in absolute heaven! 

In Napa, only a handful. of wineries allow outside food and picnicking. If you’re on a budget, seek out one of these options and grab sandwiches from Oakville Grocery, or pack some individual charcuterie boxes to bring with you. Check out this list of best picnic-friendly wineries in Napa.

Alternatively, book a picnic set up with Picnic Three or check if the winery offers a food pairing experience. Many wineries in Napa have in-house chefs that curate small plates designed specifically to pair with the wines (one of my favorites for this is B Cellars!)

Napa Dinner Options

Napa Valley is home to some incredible, world-class restaurant options. Eat at a winery for lunch, then head out to one of these for dinner. I’ve included my favorite spots in my Napa Map, which I update everytime I try somewhere new and fall in love!

Other Considerations

Make Reservations. Many wineries in Napa Valley are by appointment only. Sometimes it’s possible to get reservations same-day or even walk-in, but the more popular places book out months in advance, especially on weekends! 

Consider Spitting. Yes, yes, it’s amazing wine. But I promise, your tasting hosts would much prefer to see you spitting or dumping some of your wine than have you show up to a tasting plastered. Napa wines are beautiful and complex, and you want to be able to taste them!

Always Tip. Tipping at wineries is standard. Depending on the group size, quality of experience, and price tag, plan on leaving $10-20 per tasting. If it’s a truly wonderful experience, feel free to leave more. 

Remember: Wine is an Agricultural Product. In Napa, there are countless luxury tasting rooms and experiences, but there are also opportunities. to get in the vineyard and really see how wine is made. When planning your shoes, take this into consideration! Heels plus traipsing through the vineyard usually don’t go well together!

Seek Out Unique Experiences. Beyond wine, Napa Valley is home to incredible hiking, hot air ballooning, horseback riding, gondola trips down the Napa River, incredible art, and more! Leave time in your itinerary for one of these memorable experiences.

Top 11 Best Wineries in Napa

If you’re a wine lover looking to experience the best that Napa has to offer, then this is the blog post for you! From rich cabernet sauvignon grown among rolling hills to light and crispy chardonnays nestled among majestic redwoods, Napa is known for some of the world’s finest wines. Join us as we explore ten of the top wineries in Napa – complete with tour details and tasting notes– so that you can plan your own epicurean journey through California’s renowned wine-growing region.

Depending on what you’re looking for, different wineries are going to hit different checkboxes. Are you looking for the best wine and food pairings? The best picnic-friendly wineries? The best dog-friendly wineries? The most affordable Napa wineries? I have guides for all of those! But if you’re looking for just the best of the best, these are my top 11 “can’t miss” destinations in Napa Valley.

Domaine Carneros Winery in Napa

Domaine Carneros

Beautiful facade aside, what I love most about Domaine Carneros is its range of experiences. Domaine Carneros truly has something for everyone – on the more affordable side, their base-level tasting starts at $40, which includes four sparkling wines to enjoy while soaking in their rolling vineyard views. 

On the higher-end, they offer one of my all-time favorite Napa experiences: The Ultimate Chips and Dip. Pair together Tsar Nicoulai Caviar’s finest artisanal caviars and incredible Sparkling wines, accompanied with gourmet potato chips, toast points, and crème fraîche. 

Learn more about Domaine Carneros Wine Tasting Experiences Here

The Terraces

Certain spots in Napa feel like they have a special magic – The Terraces is one of those places. Located in Rutherford off the Silverado Trail, Terraces is a family-owned winery, orchard, and acetaia (the vinegar they craft is top-notch!) 

Visit here for an ATV tour with stunning views of Napa from up above. After, taste one-on-one with an owner or winemaker. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience that feels more intimate, the Terraces is a spot for you. 

Please note, unlike other wineries in Napa they do not have a tasting fee, but do require a 3-bottle purchase per visitor so you can take home something to remember them by (and you’ll want to take each of their wines home – they’re that good!)

Learn more about The Terraces here

B Cellars

B Cellars is probably my favorite food and wine pairing experience in Napa Valley. Set among Napa Green Certified sustainable vineyards and gardens, B Cellars offers seasonal food and wine pairings. They craft enough wines that every time you go in you’re apt to try something new with completely new small bites. 

Learn more about B Cellars and book your tasting here.

Paige in the wine cave at Rombauer winery in Napa

Rombauer Vineyards

Rombauer is a well-known and beloved winery with a beautiful tasting room overlooking sprawling vineyards. They offer one of the most affordable tastings in Napa Valley and make the experience fun and enjoyable. I’m obsessed with their Chardonnay. 

In addition to beautiful vineyard views, they also have incredible wine caves, which you can book a tour of on their site.

After tasting here, be sure to book a reservation at Brasswood for lunch – their mozzarella is famous in Napa (but you won’t find it on the menu… it’s an insider’s secret!) 

Learn more about Rombauer Vineyards here

Trefethen Vineyard in Napa


Trefethen is one of Napa’s pioneering wineries and is still family-owned. It’s my go-to recommendation for people who are looking for wines other than Cabernet Sauvignon – here you’ll find a full assortment of white wines such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay, as well as red wines like Malbec, Pinot Noir (and for Cab lovers, they make some pretty delicious stuff, too!)

Trefethen is another great winery where you can “choose your own adventure”, either opting for their traditional flight experience or leveling up to one of their higher-end food and wine pairing experiences. Either way, it’s going to be a wonderful experience!

Learn more about Trefethen here

Biale Wine bottle - best wineries in Napa

Robert Biale Vineyards

If you’re looking for a laid-back and relaxing Napa wine-tasting experience, Robert Biale is an ideal location. Enjoy a flight of Zinfandel-focused wines from their back patio, surrounded by bucolic vineyards. 

One of the reasons I love Biale is because they make approachable wines and offer something different. Their Black Chicken Zinfandel is a fan favorite.

Learn more about Robert Biale Vineyards here

Robert Mondavi winery in Rutherford Napa Valley

Robert Mondavi Winery

You can’t mention Napa without mentioning Robert Mondavi. This historic winery was founded in 1966 and played a key role in Napa Valley’s development. This first-growth vineyard, located in Oakville, California, is renowned for producing some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the world, as well as for its Sauvignon Blanc grapes. 

The history, combined with the stunning, historic tasting room makes this one of the best wineries to visit in Napa Valley.

Learn more about Robert Mondavi Winery here

Far Niente, a winery located in Oakville

Far Niente

Another historic Napa winery, Far Niente crafts some of the best Napa wines out there. The Far Niente tasting room feels like a forest oasis – nestled among a charming forestry garden, surrounded by vineyards like an island, Far Niente is simply stunning. 

In addition to its beautiful outdoor tasting patio, Far Niente also has some of the most beautiful wine caves in Napa Valley, making it one of the best Napa wineries to visit. 

Learn more about Far Niente here

Sheep in the vineyard at Tres Sabores winery in Napa Valley

Tres Sabores

Tres Sabores is another Napa winery that has a particular air of magic about it. This organically farmed family-owned winery is one of the best wineries in Napa for its terroir, spirit, and craftsmanship. It’s also one of my favorite off-the-beaten-path wineries in Napa.

Perhaps what makes Tres Sabores so special is the family who owns it – visiting here feels like stepping into old-world Napa. No pretense, no snobbery, just passionate folks who care deeply about their land and crafting excellent wine. 

Learn about Tres Sabores here

Paige with food and wine at Clif Family winery - best Napa wineries

Clif Family

Clif Family offers one of the most approachable, easy-going wine experiences in Napa. This is a great place to go if you love wine and love fun! Located just beyond downtown St. Helena, Clif Family offers sustainably farmed wine and food pairings. They even have a food truck that offers some of the best nosh in St. Helena!

Learn more about Clif Family here

Oasis by Hoopes - best wineries in napa

Oasis by Hoopes

Oasis by Hoopes offers a relaxing wine-tasting adventure, combining the luxury of tasting fine wines with a casual atmosphere that welcomes everyone in – two legs or four! Bring your family and furry friends to indulge together – you’ll sip sustainably from upcycled soda bottles while exploring their garden oasis. Relaxation awaits!

This women-led winery is also home to a regenerative farm and animal sanctuary. This is one of the best wineries in Napa with an incredible wine-tasting experience. 

Learn more about Oasis by Hoopes here