Quick Getaways – Stags Leap Wine Appellation
This trip is about an hour from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The closest Napa Valley wineries from these two metropolitan centers are on the Southern end of the valley in the famous Stags Leap Appellation. In four to five hours time or less, you should be able to complete a memorable trip to the Napa Valley wine country.
Choose from these Wineries
Judd’s Hill – First winery on the Silverado Trail at Southern end, fun
Clos du Val – Makers of fine Cabs from the Stags Leap AVA
Stags Leap Wine Cellars – 1973 Cabernet put Napa Valley on the map
Pine Ridge Winery – Beautiful setting, great reds, caves, & good picnic spot
Robert Sinskey Vineyards – Best picnic spot on a hillside setting
Directions from the Bay Bridge
• Head out on Highway 80 toward Sacramento
• A few miles after crossing the Carquinez Bridge take Highway 37 to Napa.
• Travel about 2.5 miles.
• Turn right on Sonoma Blvd, which is Highway 29 North. (It’s a hard right turn).
• Follow the signs to downtown Napa and Lake Berryessa.
• Take Highway 121 to the left.
• Keep following the signs to Downtown Napa and the Silverado Trail.
• 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
• Another good spot to buy your picnic goodies is the Oxbow Public Market
• All of these wineries have a tasting fees
• We recommend a designated driver
Read this article on a visit to the Clos du Val winery
The winery is small and family owned. There is a real Judd, Judd Finklestein in fact, that runs the winery and the custom crush facility there for small winemakers. The wines at Judd’s Hill are very good and nicely priced (reasonably) for the Napa Valley. The surrounding area at Judd’s Hill is absolutely beautiful. Watch carefully as you might just fly by this first winery on the Silverado Trail
Tasting room open by appointment, 10 to 5 pm
Call (707)255-2332 to schedule an appointment for a tasting
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
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