The Best Wineries to Visit in Northern California

Perennially sunny and warm, Northern California is as ideal for winemaking as it is for tourists seeking a soothing getaway
Perennially sunny and warm, Northern California is as ideal for winemaking as it is for tourists seeking a soothing getaway | © Bradley Hill / Alamy Stock Photo
Lavinia Lumezanu

Tourists come from all over the USA, and indeed the world, to enjoy the incredible taste that North California wineries have to offer. Here are some of the best to visit, whether you’re looking for a taste or a tour.

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You can sample delicious wine in the Napa Valley on a guided bike tour as part of Culture Trip’s specially curated seven-day Northern California adventure.

Clos Pegase

Winery
Penned by architect Michael Graves, Clos Pegase has a postmodern design that merges modern and ancient architecture in a celebration of the luxurious Napa Valley lifestyle. Viewed as one of the true architectural landmarks of the region, Clos Pegase gives you a variety of tour and tasting options. They include the Cave Tour, which culminates in a seated tasting of current and library wines in underground caves. Clos Pegase also features a variety of sculptures, fountains and other pieces of art on display from renowned artists.

Quivira Vineyards

Winery
An organic and biodynamic vineyard, Quivira also features an extensive produce garden on the property, which supplies local restaurants with fresh harvests. The garden can be experienced on a self-guided tour and includes heirloom chickens, honeybees and farm animals. Meet Ruby, the friendly pig and a local favorite. Quivira also generates most of the power it uses itself, thanks to solar energy.

Swanson Vineyards

Winery

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Swanson has a one-of-a-kind tasting experience that feels like an intimate gathering in a 19th-century Parisian salon. The experience features caviar, artisan cheeses and bonbons paired with Swanson wines. It has design touches by some of the finest talents in the world, including interior designer Thomas Britt, renowned California painter Ira Yeager, and chocolatier Katrina Markoff of Vosge Haut Chocolate.

Mumm Napa

Winery

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Mumm Napa isn’t just a top sparkling wine house; it also has a little-known fine art photography gallery that’s open to the public. The gallery has two exhibits: an ongoing Ansel Adams exhibit with 30 original Adams prints, and a rotating exhibit.

Benziger Family Winery

Winery

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Benziger Family Winery is a leader in biodynamic, organic and certified-sustainable farming. It’s dedicated to crafting authentic wines, believing that natural and carefully cultivated farming yields products with more flavor, aroma and character. The Partners Wine Tour provides a behind-the-scenes look at this estate vineyard and the wine caves, finishing with an exclusive wine tasting.

Imagery Estate Winery

Winery
Although best-known for the one-of-a-kind artwork it places on bottles, Imagery Estate Winery is all about breaking away from the conventional, instead experimenting with new varieties and exploring little-known grape regions. It throws a fabulous Fête en Blanc for wine club members and the public. Attendees are encouraged to don their brightest whites and head to the lawn at Imagery for a soiree, while winemaker Joe Benziger pours newly released wines and a live band plays.

Charles Krug

Winery

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Charles Krug was established in 1861 and has been a leader in quality wine-making ever since. In addition to producing a fabulous portfolio of Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux-style wines, it’s committed to protecting the environment. As such, it has 400 acres (161ha) of valley floor vineyards that are Napa Green certified. Visit and you’ll have the opportunity to taste in the award-winning Redwood Cellar; built in 1872, it’s a warm space that blends heritage and contemporary design. It’s also a National Historical Landmark and features redwood from the family’s original wine tanks, stone and open beam construction.

Clif Family Winery

Winery
The tasting room here, Velo Vino, has a unique, laidback atmosphere and a number of fantastic tasting options that will suit any visitor. Founded by Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, the intent for the winery was to bring together their passion for food, family and adventure. Today, Clif Family Winery is focused on making high-quality wines that sustain the natural resources of the local community and raise awareness of organic and sustainable farming. When visiting, make sure you stop at the Bruschetteria food truck. Inspired by northern-Italian cuisine, executive chef John McConnell serves up a delicious, seasonal menu of bruschetta, spiedini, porchetta, farm fresh salads and more daily.

Cuvaison Estate Wines

Winery
In the heart of Carneros is Cuvaison Estate Wines: a sustainable winery that’s produced distinct Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs for more than 30 years. Cuvaison employs block-by-block farming methods and a half-crafted vineyard-to-bottle wine-making approach. The resulting wines are balanced and complex, showing distinctive characteristics of this cool-climate estate. Boasting stunning modern architecture, the Cuvaison tasting room is surrounded by waves of vineyards where you can choose between indoor and outdoor seating.

Truchard Winery

Winery

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Truchard Winery is a small, family-owned winery in the Carneros region of Napa Valley. It has 400 contiguous acres (161ha) of vineyards as well as various types of soil. There is southern and western exposure that allows the grapes to capture the afternoon sun, which produces optimum ripening for grape varieties such as syrah, roussanne, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc. Truchard provides an intimate experience where you get to have a tasting experience with members of the family and hear about the history of the place.

Lula Cellars

Winery
Lula Cellars is a small-production winery located in the deep end of the famed Anderson Valley. Winemaker Jeff Hansen, a 30-year wine-industry veteran, produces high quality wines and offers them at reasonable prices by selling directly to you the consumer. A little off the beaten track, Lula Cellars is a gem for locals who know about it. Enjoy the pet-friendly tasting room, as well as the sleepy atmosphere that allows you to disconnect from reality for a few hours.

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