POSTED ON May 9, 2012 | IN Tasting Rooms, Wine News | BY joe

Last week we received an email asking for suggestions for kid-friendly wineries in the Napa Valley. I recommended that they consult the Napa Vintners Association Website. There one can search through the database of all 400 Napa Valley wineries and select wineries by interest, including the criteria of “Family Friendly.”

I decided to take a look myself and see which wineries classify themselves as Family Friendly. Seventy five wineries showed up on my sorted list. I am not sure what makes them Family Friendly. Do they have a play area for kids, game room, or just what to keep kids busy while mom and dad taste wine? I read through the descriptions of a few of the 75 wineries and none mentioned what they have to offer for families.

We did plenty of wine tasting with our three boys as they were growing up and never do I recall finding any wineries that were truly happy to see kids. In fact, not too long ago when traveling with our son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters to a winery in Sonoma, my son was asked to make sure that “the children did not run around the picnic area making life unhappy for other guests.”

We would be interested in hearing from readers about which wineries in the Napa Valley or elsewhere are Family Friendly and why.

Two big openings in the Napa Valley for Leslie Rudd

Oakville Grocery
After closing for a renovation in January of this year, the landmark Oakville Grocery is set to reopen on Tuesday, May 22. “We are incredibly excited to preserve and relaunch this beloved spot as a real local food destination, a place where people come to gather and shop throughout the day. We want Oakville Grocery to be a center of the community, one that creates memories for anyone who visits here,” says owner Leslie Rudd. Chef Jason Rose will oversee the kitchen, producing a variety of delights for locals and wine travelers to enjoy. We can’t wait to try an Oakville gourmet sandwich and head to one of Napa Valley’s picnic wineries.

Also in the works for a redo is the 100-year-old Victorian house adjacent to the Oakville Grocery. The main use has been as a restroom facility for Oakville Grocery customers, but next spring it will open as an upscale tasting room.

Oakville grocery reopens

Oakville Grocery as it looked in January

French Blue
Leslie Rudd, along with Howard and Lori Bracken, will open the French Blue restaurant on May 29th at 1429 Main Street in St. Helena. Chef Philip Wang will be serving some of Napa Valley’s finest home cooking, using farm fresh ingredients from the gardens of Rudd Farms. The restaurant will feature a large open kitchen, wood burning stove, two fireplaces, and have outdoor seating. You can get a sneak preview of the restaurant by perusing the French Blue Website. This will give you a hint about the fine dining at what is sure to be a very popular spot in St. Helena.


  1. Marcie Patrone says

    I always recommend our family winery in St. Helena, Nichelini Family Winery. There is always a kid friendly beverage stored in the fridge just like it was back when I was a kid. We have a picnic area with a bocce court the kids can play at while the adults are wine tasting. Considering my Great Grandparents raised 12 children, not to mention the many grandchildren that would visit the property, I’d say we are the ideal place for a family afternoon. Monday thru Thursday by appointment. Friday thru Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM, 1-800-WE-TASTE .

  2. laura says

    I understand that Sterling gives kids grape juice while their parents taste wine, and tickets for the always exciting tram ride/tasting are discounted for kids ($10, free for those under 3)…

    • joe says

      Okay, I will check into this. What a great idea for Sterling to do this. Thank you for passing this on.


  3. Michael Meadows says

    We recently spent Spring Break passing through wine country. As tradition, we stopped at Domain Carneros where the kids love the sparkling grape juice (unfermented). The 9-year-old like the rosé, the 10-year-old likes the Chardonnay, and the 12-year-old prefers the Pinot Noir. They also love the mixed nuts and the artisan chocolates.

    I think that the staff enjoys that the kids know exactly which juice they prefer and why.

    Imagery has the same juices and the kids can actually take the juice out to their picnic area, or wander through the agriculture displays outside.

    Kunde used to produce a non-alcoholic Syrah that the kids used to enjoy out by the fountains.

    • joe says

      Thanks for the information on Domaine Carneros. We will add to our list we are preparing for kid friendly wineries.