Famous Napa Valley Wineries
This Getaway of Napa Valley wineries will take you up Highway 29 from Yountville, just past the town of St Helena. The eight famous and historic wineries on this list represent wineries instrumental in giving Napa Valley wineries worldwide recognition. You may want to plan a restaurant stop for lunch in St. Helena or at the northern end of the valley in the town of Calistoga. Always book your lodging in advance. Use the Napa Valley Wine Country Planning Guide to help organize your getaway. Once you decide which wineries to visit, call and book your tasting reservation.
A selection of Historic Napa Valley Wineries
• Robert Mondavi Winery – The symbol of the Napa Valley, take a tour
• Inglenook Estate – Magnificent & grand estate of Inglenook Fame
• Beaulieu Vineyards – BV wine George de LaTour
• Louis Martini Winery – 1933 start in the Napa Valley
• Charles Krug Winery – The historic Redwood Cellar built in 1872
• Beringer Wines – The Rhine House building, oldest continuous winery
We recommend that you visit no more than three wineries in one day. Savor the moment!
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Dining and Lodging Recommendations
In the early 1970s, the great French Champagne house of Moet & Chandon made a decision to start making sparkling wine in California. They chose the Carneros and Mount Veeder regions of the Napa Valley as the ideal climate and soil to produce fine sparkling wines made in the French tradition. The name Domain Chandon was established, and the winery produced its first vintage in 1976. Today Domain Chandon is world famous for its quality of fine California sparkling wines. The sparkling wines are not the only attraction to this famous and historic winery. The landscaped grounds and the architecture are spectacular. We recommend taking the tour, which is very informative and worth the time. To get to Chandon, turn off Highway 29 at the Yountville exit. Travel to the west and look for the winery on the right after you cross the railroad tracks.
The influence of Robert Mondavi and his winery have been instrumental in establishing worldwide attention for Napa Valley wines. The winery is perhaps the most visited and certainly one of the most recognized wineries in the world. The winery was established in 1966 when Robert Mondavi departed the family-owned winery of Charles Krug. Robert Mondavi’s vision was to use innovative winemaking techniques to create wines of high quality and distinction. Because of his success and leadership, many consider Robert Mondavi to be the father of California wine. A visit to this winery will give you a better feel and understanding of the Napa Valley. If you are interested in a tour, call ahead to check on availability. The Robert Mondavi Winery is located about one mile north of the town of Oakville on the west side of the highway.
Francis Ford Coppola, of “The Godfather” fame, purchased this winery in 1975. In 2011 Francis Ford Coppola purchased back the Trademark name of Inglenook and then changed the winery name from Rubicon back to its original Inglenook name. The emphasis at Inglenook is in the production of very high-end wines made from their estate Napa Valley vineyards. The Inglenook Chateau is one of the most beautiful buildings in the Napa Valley. Inglenook is one of our favorite wineries to visit. We love the historical nature of the winery.
Beaulieu is one of the oldest wineries in the valley founded in 1900 by Frenchman George de Latour. The winery has long been famous for fine reserve wines, particularly its estate George de Latour Cabernet Sauvignon. BV, as it is commonly called, established innovative winemaking techniques by its founder George de Latour and its renowned winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff. When the heirs of George de Latour sold the winery to the Hublein Corporation, it created quite a stir in the Valley. Today, the winery continues the tradition of making high-end wines. In addition to these wines, BV also produces several other wines from vineyards in the Central Coast of California. This winery is worth a visit because of its history and influence on the Napa Valley. Beaulieu Vineyards is located in the town of Rutherford on the east side of Highway 29.
Just before you enter the downtown area of St. Helena heading north, you will find the Louis M. Martini Winery on the eastern side of the road. The Winery is one of Napa Valley’s institutions with a founding date of 1933. In 2002 the winery was sold to another famous Italian winemaking family, the Gallo Family. In March of 2019, the Louis Martini winery unvailed a lavish new tasting room and hospitality center. It is about 180 degrees in difference from the old tasting room. The winery offers several different tasting experiences. Consult the Website for details and tasting fees.
Joe and Alice Heitz established this iconic winery in 1961, and it soon became famous for its Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet. Joe Heitz was one of the first to designate a vineyard-specific bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was highly acclaimed and sought after by wine enthusiasts. In a sense, the wine became the first “Cult” Cabernet of the times.
My how things have changed at the Charles Krug winery. In November of 2013, the Charles Krug winery opened their historical Redwood Cellar built in 1872. It serves as the tasting and hospitality room. Visitors can see the great barrel room while they taste from a variety of tasting stations. Just added to the Redwood Cellar is a deli featured delicious picnic items. Visitors and purchase goodies and a glass of wine and take it outside to the beautiful picnic area. On weekends, the winery cooks delicious pizzas in their pizza oven. Call or check the Website to check food offerings and tasting option.
The last winery on this historic trek of wineries is Beringer Vineyards. Founded in 1897, it is the oldest continuous winemaking facility in the Napa Valley. The main building, now the reserve tasting room, is called the Rhine House. It is a classic German style chateau. This is an impressive building and very much worth a visit. Beringer makes many wines, with collections for a wide pocketbook range. In addition to the regular tasting room, there is also a tasting room in the Rhine House where you can taste the Reserve wines. You might also consider the tour here. The Beringer winery was recently purchased by Foster’s, the famous Australian beer company. The winery is located just as you leave St. Helena to head north. The turnoff comes up quickly on the left as you begin to enter a grove of beautiful trees lining either side of the highway.
Additional Napa Valley Wine Routes to enjoy
- Boutique Wineries on Highway 29 – small and fascinating
- Best Silverado Wineries – less traffic and fewer crowds
- Calistoga Wine Route – 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.
- 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 leisurely pace of wine country.
- Please read our Disclaimer Document on the information contained on Wine Country Getaways.