Planning on wine tasting in California’s wine country? Check out this sommelier’s list of the best guided winery tours in Napa and Sonoma.
If you’re looking for the best guided winery tours in Napa Valley and Sonoma, look no further. I’ve tried them all and these are my absolute favorites. The guides are knowledgeable and passionate about wine, and they will take you on a journey through some of the most famous wineries in the world. You’ll learn about the history of winemaking, taste delicious wines, and see stunning landscapes. If you’re planning a vacation to Sonoma or Napa Valley, be sure to add one of these tours to your itinerary!
Best Guided Winery Tours: Jordan Winery Estate Tour
I had a blast on the guided winery tour at Jordan Winery Estate. Jordan Winery, located in Healdsburg, has one of the most scenic estates in Sonoma.
The tour started with an introduction of Jordan winery and its history in front of their idyllic, beautiful Chateau. After that, we boarded the luxury vans to begin our tour, which takes you around the 1,200-acre property brimming with rolling hills, grapevines, animals, and picturesque views of Sonoma!
It was a highly engaging and interactive journey. We had the opportunity to taste the grapes directly from the vines on our tour. And we learned how they cultivated each type of grape and what method they used to farm it.
At another stop, there was a beautiful vista point on top of the mountain that allows you to see miles in all directions. You get to view wine country in all its glory, and there’s even an olive grove nearby!
Near the end of the tour, we walked through a luscious fruit and vegetable garden with 10-foot sunflowers, huge pumpkins, goji berries, pomegranates, and so much more. We even tried some deliciously sweet figs picked right off the tree. After the tour, we were delighted to have a fantastic meal straight from their organic farm that we just walked through. It was so lovely to sit under the shade of the Chateau trees and eat outdoors in a French cafe-type setting. And of course, the food was paired with their famous Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines…everything really went well together.
I can’t remember when I last ate such good food and drank such delicious wines while learning about something new at the same time – definitely planning to visit here again soon!
Best Guided Winery Tours: Cakebread Cellars
If you’re looking for a wine tour that will excite your taste buds and fill your bellies with wine, look no further than a Cakebread Cellars tour. In particular, I recommend the Sustainable Wines and Vines Tour. This tour includes a guided walk through their home ranch vineyards, where you’ll hear about their history of winemaking while also learning about all the sustainable practices they use.
On the tour, we learned all about their sustainable methods, production facilities, and winemaking processes. They even began the tour in their parking lot that was built with sustainability in mind. We toured their vines to learn about trellising and then visited the production facility to discover how they produce the wines. We discovered their unique winemaking processes, such as the use of concrete eggs for fermenting and aging white wines.
And throughout the tour, you’ll taste a diverse portfolio of their delicious wines. And for WineOs out there, if you want seconds, they won’t object to pouring more. Our guide was knowledgeable about the wines, passionate about sustainability, and very welcoming with us.
If you’re planning a vacation to Napa Valley, be sure to add the Cakebread Winery Estate Tour to your itinerary!
Best Guided Winery Tours: Nickel & Nickel Winery
Located in the heart of Napa Valley, Nickel & Nickel produces some of my favorite Napa Cabernets and Chardonnays. And though not as well-known as some wineries, it’s a must-visit for me every time we visit Napa.
The walking tour takes you inside the grounds of their winery. It begins at John C Sullenger’s historic house, where you get to try their award-winning Chardonnay for the first time.
After that, you’ll enter the fermentation barns and barrel cellars. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and went through the winery’s entire winemaking process, and expertly fielded all of our inquiries. The barrel cellars were immaculate, organized, and magnificent to see. They even showed us all of the different soils that make up their vineyards, each in its own container. Overall, the estate tour was very informative, and we picked up a lot of new information.
The final leg of the wine tour was a seated, guided tasting by one of their wine hosts. We tried four of their single-vineyard Cabernets paired with complimentary cheeses. Every one of them was exquisite, and again some of my all-time favorite Cabernets in Napa Valley.
Best Guided Winery Tours: Quintessa
When I think of high-end, luxury Napa wineries, Quintessa is the first one that comes to mind. They only produce one varietal—Cabernet Sauvignon.
Their private tour begins with a guided walk (or ride on a golf cart) through Quintessa Estate’s natural environment with panoramic, sweeping views over the Rutherford appellation. Our host/guide went over all the winery’s beliefs regarding organic and biodynamic farming practices, as well as their long history and Chilean founder’s backstory. I was also pleasantly surprised at the stunning vistas this journey has on the eastern edge of the Rutherford District. The view extends over Quintessa’s reservoir named “Dragon’s Lake” that you would never know about without taking this excursion.
Our guide was very knowledgeable and kind. He talked about his experiences in the wine industry, including his recent return from Bordeaux, which opened him up to Old World wines. Our guide answered all my more complex questions about the winery and was always happy to take photographs for us whenever we wanted. I also discovered that our guide did a little research ahead of time, and knew that I work in the wine industry. It was top-notch service throughout.
After the tour, they offer tastings on the hilltop in modern, beautiful pavilions, or you may return to their contemporary, architectural estate. We tasted four different vintages of their high-end Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as two vintages of their Sauvignon Blanc. The wines were outstanding. Our guide topped off our glasses with a few more glasses of their older vintages to really demonstrate the difference between years.
This was a high-quality, excellent service wine tour that was highly educational and well planned. And it was completely private for us, there was no one else on the tour.
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Summary of Best Guided Winery Tours in Napa and Sonoma
As a certified sommelier, I like to experience all that wineries have to offer. With just a wine tasting, the whole process of their winemaking philosophy and production isn’t fully comprehended. So next time opt for a winery tour! It’s not just informative but extremely fun. I’d highly recommend these winery tours if you are in Napa or Sonoma. You’ll have a blast!