There are some 400 wineries in the Napa Valley that one can visit. The majority of those wineries were established after 1990. Why not take a trip down memory lane by visiting one or more of the handful of wineries that have been in existence in the Napa Valley for 100 years or more? Most of these wineries have tours and memorabilia that will give you a glimpse of what life in the Napa Valley was like way back when. Here are a few suggestions with a map below should you need it.
Well off the radar of most travelers is the Nichelini Winery. This winery has had 121 consecutive harvests and is in the 5th generation of ownership. It is said to be the oldest continuous family-run winery in the Valley. The winery began making wine in 1890 and weathered prohibition by making sacramental wines, and perhaps a little more, under the table for various “important” clients. The winery is up on Sage Canyon Road about 10 minutes from the Valley floor. The winery is open Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm or Monday through Friday by appointment.
Beaulieu Vineyards began in 1900 and was founded by George de Latour. The winery was able to continue to operate during Prohibition, making sacramental wines. In 1938 George de Latour traveled to France and hired winemaker André Techelistcheff. Andre died in 1994, but his legacy lives on and he remains today the most influential winemaker in the Napa Valley. The winery is owned by Diageo Wines. The Tasting room is open daily 10 am to 5 pm.
Inglenook is one of our favorite wineries to visit. We just love to sit out by the fountain at the entrance and gaze at this beautiful Chateau. Inside, of course, you can taste wines and take a wonderful tour to learn the history of the winery and the Napa Valley. This past year, owner Francis Ford Coppola was able to purchase the Trademark name of Inglenook, and now the winery is back to its original name. The winery is open daily beginning at 10 am.
Charles Krug Winery
This is one of the first wineries I visited as a very young wine drinker back in the late 1960’s. The winery celebrated its 150-year anniversary in 2011. Charles Krug Winery is said to be the first winery established in the Napa Valley. Cesare Mondavi purchased it in 1943. You may recall the famed argument between Cesare’s sons, Robert and Peter. Although Peter may have lost the battle, he won the winery. He is still going strong at 96, running the winery along with his two sons, Marc and Peter. The winery is open daily 10:30 am to 5pm.
Beringer is another favorite. We love the Rhine House built in 1884 and the drive there is beautiful, just north of downtown St. Helena. You will be able to see the caves that were built by Chinese laborers in 1877 plus many other historic features. Today Beringer is owned by Treasury Wine Estates. The winery is open daily beginning at 10 am.