The Calistoga wine trail is at the north end of the Napa Valley. We have six wonderful wineries to visit in the backroads of the Calistoga area. Because of its location you will find things a little less hectic here. It is also a fun experience to lodge and dine in the quiet and laid back town of Calistoga. Calistoga almost looks the same as it did 50 years ago. The area offers terrific views of Mount St. Helena and the chance to visit only one of three geysers called “Old Faithful.” It is the California Old Faithful Geyser on Tubbs Lane that is quite a treat in between sips of wine as you travel this wine trail. For more advice consult the Napa Valley Wine Country Planning Guide.
Calistoga Wine Trail – Wineries we like
• Bennett Lane – At the very northern edge of the Napa Valley
• Chateau Montelena – Chardonnay winner in the Paris Taste Off of 1976
• Summers Estate Wines – One of the few wineries making Charbono
• Envy Wines – Famed winemaker Nils Venge partners with Mark Carter
• Vincent Arroyo Winery – Petit Sirah specialist since 1974
• Zahtila Vineyards – Laura Zahtila, from a Cisco rep to a winery owner
Dining and Lodging Recommendations
Winery Descriptions, Driving Directions, Tasting Room Hour, Contact Information
From the town of Calistoga, drive north on Highway 128 for 2.5 miles and look for the entrance to Bennett Lane on the right. Although a young winery, it has garnered wide recognition for its wines. The flagship wine is the Maximus. It is a reasonably-priced blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon that is a favorite among many. The winery is situated in a beautiful setting the among vineyards of Calistoga.
Head back down Highway 128 and turn left on Tubbs Lane and you will find Envy wines to the right and Summers Estate Wines to the left. At Envy wines, winemakers Nils Venge and Mark Carter have put together a beautiful Tuscan- style winery and an array of fine wines. In addition to Envy wines are Carter Cellars Wine and a special Nils Venge label called Vine Haven.
This is our choice for a beautiful and quiet picnic lunch. There is also a Bocce court should you desire to take part in a friendly game of Bocce. The views are also terrific here. Summers makes some delicious wines, but two that you will have to try are the Charbono and the Petite Sirah. Few wineries make a Charbono these days and you will find this wine delightful. The Petite ranks among the best of the Napa Valley.
After visiting Envy and Summers, head east on Tubbs Lane past the entrance to California’s Old Faithful Geyser. Drop in and watch the geyser if you have time and take a break between wine tastings. Chateau Montelena brought worldwide attention to its wines in 1976 at the now-famous Paris blind tasting of French and California wines. The 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was judged first above all of the French White Burgundies. The Chateau itself was built in 1882 so this winery is a historic landmark in the Napa Valley.
After leaving Chateau Montelena continue east and make a right turn on Lake County Highway. Drive just short of a mile and turn right onto Greenwood Road and look for the entrance to Vincent Arroyo. Vincent Arroyo purchased the property in 1974 and produces 11 different wine varietals. It is a small operation with an annual case production of 8,000 cases. The winery is a little on the old fashioned side and that is why it is so much fun to stop by. You should call ahead for an appointment but if things are not busy you can usually arrange for an on-the-spot appointment.
Head back to Lake County Highway and turn right. Zahtila Vineyards will be on the left side of the road in a very short distance. In 1999 Laura Zahitla was a high-powered sales rep for Cisco Sytems. In fact, Laura was my Cisco rep when I worked at the San Mateo County Office of Education in the Ed Tech Department. Much happen in 1999 with the dot com bust and Laura used her intuition to get out of that industry. She purchased this property and started a career as a winemaker and owner. Laura has utilized her Cisco skills to run all operations of the winery. It is an unusual success story and, for that reason alone, you should stop in and taste the wines.
Additional Napa Valley Wine Routes to enjoy
- Historic & Famous Wineries – the wineries that made the Napa Valley
- Best Silverado Wineries – less traffic and less crowds
- Boutique Wineries Highway 29 – northern end of the Valley
- Hidden wineries of the Napa Valley – get away from the crowds
- Napa Valley Sparkling Wine Route – a toasty set of wineries
- Wine and Art Wine Route – wineries with art collections
Tips for your Napa Valley Wine Tour
- You are encouraged to have a designated driver. Consider hiring a limousine or van service.
- First time to a winery in Napa? Find out what happens in a typical tasting room.
- Are you wondering about how to taste wine? Wine Tasting Techniques
- Some ideas for which wineries to visit.
- INapa Valley’s many fine restaurants.
- We list premium lodging and budget lodging.
- Pace yourself and make a day of wine tasting. Don’t forget to take photos.
- Visiting three wineries in one day is enough to you keep you busy and content with the slow and easy pace of wine country.
- Please read our Disclaimer Document on the information contained on Wine Country Getaways.