This is a quick wine country getaway from Sacramento to the Napa Valley. Plan on about 90 minutes to reach the closest Napa Valley wineries, which are on the Southern end of the valley in the famous Stags Leap Appellation. If you have about five hours time, you should be able to complete a memorable trip to this famous Napa Valley wine country.
Clos du Val – Makers of fine Cabs from the Stags Leap AVA
Stags Leap Wine Cellars – 1973 Cabernet put Napa Valley on the map
Chimney Rock Winery – A stunning building against hillside vineyards
Pine Ridge Winery – Beautiful setting, great reds, caves, and good picnic spot
Robert Sinskey Vineyards – Best picnic spot on hillside setting
Directions from the Sacramento Area
• Take Highway 80 West toward San Francisco.
• About one mile past Cordelia, watch for the Highway 12 Exit.
• Exit at Hwy 12 to Napa/Sonoma (Hwy 12 dead ends at Hwy 29).
• Turn Right on Hwy 29.
• Remain on Hwy 29 North.
• Follow the signs to downtown Napa and Lake Berryessa.
• Take Highway 121 to the left.
• Turn left at the intersection that is a 3 way stop.
• Turn right on Silverado Trail.
• If you are having a picnic lunch, we suggest the Robert Sinskey Winery.
• A good spot to pick up lunch is the Soda Canyon Store, 4006, Silverado Trail
Best place to buy a picnic lunch for this getaway is the Soda Canyon Store (on the left, just before you get to the wineries)
4006 Silverado Trail; (707) 2520285, FAX (707) 252-0267
More information about each winery plus exact location
Clos du Val
The first winery will be Clos du Val, on the right side of the road. They make a variety of wines, but their specialty is Cabernet Sauvignon, releasing several different bottlings of Cabernets each year. The Cabernets rank among the best in the Napa Valley. Don’t pass up the other wines; try the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Clos du Val is the only winery that makes a Zinfandel from grapes grown in the Stags Leap AVA. The wine tasting room staff is top notch, taking time and effort to make your visit informative and enjoyable. There are a few picnic tables here where you can relax and enjoy the vineyards.
Tasting room open daily 10 am to 5, (800) 993-9463
Chimney Rock Winery
Just a short distance from Clos du Val is Chimney Rock. Turn right into the driveway. Ahead, about a quarter mile, you will see the winery, a stunning white building located just in front of a gorgeous hillside setting of vineyards. This is a limited-production winery, featuring high-end wines produced from vineyards located in the Stags Leap AVA. The tasting fee is $6 plus you get to keep the glass. Their Cabernet Franc, a varietal that is seldom bottled, is a delicious wine. Most of the wines at Chimney Rock are found in exclusive restaurants and high-end wine shops.
Tasting room open daily 10 am to 5, (800) 257 2641
Stags Leap Wine Cellars
The next winery ahead is on the right. Watch carefully, you could drive right on by. This small winery rocked the wine world in 1976 at the now-famous Paris blind wine tasting. Its 1973 Cabernet was selected over other Bordeaux Grand Cru wines as the best of the tasting. It was at this point that Napa Valley and California gained fame and fortune as a world-class wine producing region. The winery today, still run by its original founder, Warren Winiarski, continues to produce fine quality Cabernets. For a bit of important history in Napa Valley wine, stop by this winery and enjoy the fine Cabernets and the other good wine varietals made by this winery.
Tasting room open daily 10 am to 4:30, (866) 422-7523
Pine Ridge Winery
Pine Ridge is on the opposite of the highway and just a very short hop away. Pine Ridge is one of the elite wineries of the Napa Valley, making some of the best Cabernets and Merlots. The Pine Ridge Winery consistently receives recognition for its outstanding wines and was recently awarded the status of “Winery of the Year” by Wines & Spirits Magazine. This is a tranquil and pretty setting for a picnic lunch. You might also want to take the wine tour and have a chance to admire the caves stocked with over 4000 barrels of aging wine. You need to call ahead to reserve a spot on the tour. There is also a demonstration vineyard on the grounds displaying a variety of clonal and rootstock comparisons.
Tasting room open daily 10:30 am to 4:30, (800) 575-9777
Robert Sinskey Vineyards
Robert Sinskey is the last winery on this trip and is just south of Yountville Cross Rd. It is on the right side of the highway as you head north. This fabulous winery sits up against a hillside vineyard of Cabernet Sauvignon. The picnic area boasts an eye-catching view of the valley, making it a great choice for your picnic lunch. Try a glass of their delightful Pinot Blanc with lunch. The Pinot Blanc is sold in the half bottle. The winery owns vineyards in both the Stags Leap appellation and the Carneros region. Our favorite wine is the Vintage Reserve, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. They also produce a very delightful Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Tasting is $10. If you have six or more in your party, you must call ahead to make an appointment.
Tasting room open daily 10:00 am to 4:30, (800) 869-2030