Looking for the best wineries in St Helena? If you are I’m going to list all of them for you right here! This is just one reason to visit this charming small town.
As the base for exploring some of the 400 Napa Valley wineries, St Helena is just perfect. Just across the bay from San Francisco, it is full of spectacular restaurants, lovely galleries, and historic architecture.
And yes, it is also home to The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and a Napa Valley College campus.
I am offering you my subjective list of the best, most beautiful, and most interesting wineries. I tasted a lot of cabernet and merlot to create this list.
You might not agree with me, but start with my list and if you are not happy with it, you can make your own.
Best Boutique Wineries in St Helena
Alpha Omega is considered not only one of the best wine estates in the world but also one of the most beautiful.
Located in the heart of Napa Valley, surrounded by lush vineyards and mountains, their Rutherford estate is snuggled in the magnificent gardens and cooled by a series of spectacular fountains.
The family-owned and operated, Alpha Omega is a boutique winery creating artisanal wines using Old World traditional practices combined with modern technology.
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Alpha Omega uses its own grapes but also grapes from other reputable vineyards in Napa Valley’s AVAs. They use French oak wine barrels for fermentation. This results in Bordeaux-type wines that age wonderfully.
Reservation is necessary to visit Alpha Omega winery. They are open every day from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. and offer several wine tasting experiences in their elegant tasting bar or on the large terrace overlooking the vineyards.
Kids and pets on leash are welcome.
Sabina Vineyards is a family-owned and run boutique vineyard in the St Helena hills, surrounded by ancient olive groves and distant mountains.
The winery is famous for the world-class Cabernet Sauvignon from their own grapes grown in the red volcanic soil on the slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains. Sabina Vineyards uses traditional Old World ways of winemaking.
The winery is not normally open to the public but a private tour can be arranged. They also have an annual open house for the members of their wine club.
Nine Suns is a boutique family-owned winery located on the famed Pritchard Hill, together with a few other esteemed Napa vineyards. The view as you approach the winery will take your breath away: ultra-modern, spectacularly beautiful building is nestled among the vineyards and olive groves.
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The winery is designed and placed in such a way that it does not disturb the natural landscape. The entire Napa Valley is spread in front of you. Their tasting room is equally impressive, modern, luxurious, unique, and welcoming. Even their cellars have a unique design worth visiting.
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Pritchard Hill is the famous hill where five Bordeaux grape varietals grow at 1,400 feet elevation. Grown on a steep hillside, in red, rocky volcanic soil, grapes are not easy to tend, but hard work is well worth it.
They produce world-class incredible Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Nine Suns also have limited plantings of Grenache and Syrah.
Tours of the winery, vineyards, and production facilities can be arranged by appointment. They accept small groups only, so every visitor gets their full attention.
Forman Vineyard, winery, and stone cellars are built directly into the side of Howell Mountain, in a true European style. This respect and following of the European or “Old World” way of growing grapes and making wine is what this winery is committed to.
The winery has three distinct parcels where grapes grow in different soil and at different elevations. They grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. While methods are classic Old World, the winery uses the latest technology as well.
The present release includes the award-winning 2015 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Chardonnay created in a Chablis style.
Visitors are welcome, but you need to make an appointment.
Best Wineries in Calistoga and St Helena
Located in downtown St Helena on Highway 29, Merryvale Vineyards is the first winery that started production in St Helena after Prohibition was lifted.
It occupies the iconic structure that was the winemaking location of some of the wine-making legends such as Robert and Peter Mondavi and the Christian Brothers.
Merryvale Vineyards makes Bordeaux varieties wines with grapes sourced from the best vineyards in the Napa Valley.
They choose exceptional sites in order to create what is characteristic of Merryvale wines – intense flavors and supple, soft structure.
They focus exclusively on Bordeaux wines. After all, Bordeaux is what Napa is known for.
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Merryvale Vineyards is open for visitors every day from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. For their Signature Tasting, no reservation is necessary. You will taste their current release at their bar, on the terrace, or in the tasting room.
Their other tasting options require reservations. They include Pinot Noir Tasting, Reserve Tasting if you want to taste some rare, exceptional wines, private Profile Library Tasting, and Artisanal Wine and Cheese Tasting.
It is a semi-private, seated tasting of the Merryvale wines paired with great cheeses.
Check their website for the coming events, there is always something happening, from live concerts to lobster feasts and harvest celebrations.
Conn Creek Winery
Conn Creek is a Mediterranean-style winery established in 1973 on the famous Silverado Trail. The winery has sustainability at its foundation, producing Bordeaux-type red wines. It was Napa Valley’s first Green Certified winery.
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Conn Creek is one of the Napa wineries that brought a Napa Valley renaissance, establishing its deserved reputation as an exceptional wine-producing region.
This energy-efficient winery includes 12-inch-thick walls made of steel mesh, Styrofoam, gunite, and 20,000 corks. Today, 40 years since the beginning, Conn Creek continues with its focus on producing the best Cabernet Sauvignon as well as other Bordeaux-style wines.
Conn Creek makes its wines using grapes from a number of renowned Napa Valley vineyards.
Wine tasting is offered every day from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. You can choose between AVA Experience Tasting and Anthology Experience.
There are also unique interactive experiences such as the “Barrel Blending Experience®.” Guests are invited to become winemakers for one day. They start by tasting samples from barrels of cabernet sauvignon and similar Bordeaux varietals. Then they are invited to make their own blend and take it home.
Wine tastings are offered indoor or outdoor and reservations are required.
Trinchero Napa Valley
One of the largest and oldest wineries in St Helena, Trinchero Family Estates is a family-operated and owned winery with over 50 widely acclaimed wines, sold in over 50 countries.
Trinchero winery was established in 1948 and is now one of Napa Valley’s flagship wineries. They are known for their estate-grown small-lot wines.
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Their single-vineyard luxury wines are produced in their magnificent state-of-the-art winery located in the valley surrounded by Spring Mountain district and Howell Mountain, with views of the entire Napa Valley and endless rows of wine grapes.
Trinchero Estate also sources grapes from more than 200 acres of vineyards in Napa Valley’s most famous appellations such as St. Helena, Calistoga, Atlas Peak, and Mount Veeder.
Visiting Trinchero winery is a full experience, with wine tasting, a tour of the estate, a game of bocce in their court, a visit to the wine caves, and a taste of the delights from their Italian kitchen.
Legacy Lounge is their new wine tasting room. Opulent but cozy, with a comfortable seating lounge, it offers an intimate tasting environment.
You can also opt for Food and Wine Pairing, combining their exceptional wines with Italian gourmet food. This option is available on Friday and Saturday at 11 am.
You can indulge in tasting their four single-vineyard special Cabernet Sauvignons, in their Taste of Terroir tasting option. It is available in their outdoor tasting room next to the fire pit, from Tuesday to Saturday.
All visits require advance reservation.
Tamber Bey, Calistoga
Checking the best vineyards in St Helena includes a visit to a few special wineries in Calistoga. Tamber Bey is a special experience since it combines wine tasting with watching some superb performance horses.
The winery is located at the 22-acre Sundance Ranch, a popular equestrian training spot. Tamber Bey Vineyards is best known for their handcrafted superb cabernet sauvignon, petit Verdot, cabernet franc, and chardonnay. They are all grown in the estate vineyards.
Their tasting room is occupying the original barn clubhouse. You can watch the horses perform, sip their wines and enjoy the views of the magnificent Mount St. Helena.
If you want, you can have a gourmet picnic basket added to any of their tasting experiences. Ask for one of their famous savory cookies. If you prefer, you can sit outside at one of the picnic tables.
The Tamber Bey has several tasting experiences. The Vineyard Series Tasting offers estate-grown wines. The Signature Collection offers to taste their limited-production Napa and Sonoma wines. You can also have a customized library private wine tasting.
Bennett Lane Winery
Bennett Lane is another Calistoga winery you should check out. They have over 50 highly regarded wines and some excellent tasting options for their fabulous cabernets. You will love their cozy tasting room near downtown Calistoga.
Bennett winery considers wine education a part of their mandate, so besides letting you try their best wines, they also offer their guests to learn hands-on how to blend wines to achieve the best result. Whatever you blend, you take home and enjoy with your friends and family.
Most Beautiful Wineries in St Helena
All wineries are beautiful and those in St. Helena are no exception. Surrounded by rows of orderly vines, with mountains in the distance, they are a symbol of romance, hard work, and the intimate connection with nature.
Some St Helena wineries are so beautiful that is worth visiting even if you do not care for wine.
Castello di Amorosa, Calistoga
A winery in the replica of the 13th-century Tuscan medieval castle in the heart of Napa Valley? It will take your breath away.
The Castello di Amorosa is located in Calistoga, about a 15-minute drive from St Helena. It covers 136,000 square feet and has 107 rooms. Of those, 90 are reserved for making and storing wine.
The vast Great Hall is decorated with replicas of original Tuscan frescoes. It also has a 500-year-old massive fireplace. As every castle should, Castello di Amorosa has a dungeon, a drawbridge, a torture chamber, and a beautiful medieval church.
The winery is open for wine tasting and castle tours by reservation only.
They offer several tasting options. They all include the tasting of five of their wines and a tour of the castle. A few tasting options include a free-roaming of the castle.
You can explore two main castle levels and can visit the Courtyard, Chapel, Truncated tower, Knights Hall, Great Hall, Main Tasting Room, and their Gift shop.
Charles Krug Winery
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Charles Krug Winery is California’s first and oldest tasting room and an absolute must-stop on your tour of the best wineries in St Helena. It is also the oldest wine-making estate in Napa Valley and one of the most beautiful.
It all started in 1861 by visionary Charles Krug, the father of winemaking in Napa Valley. After the Mondavi family bought the iconic estate in 1943, they continue to perfect Charles Krug’s legacy with passion and skills.
Charles Krug Winery is now known as a world-class hospitality center for wine lovers. Tasting their wines and touring this spectacularly beautiful estate is an exceptional experience.
Their Estate Tasting is offered every day from 10:30 A.M TO 5 P.M. You will be offered an assortment of small production, limited offerings available only at the winery. You will try their Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc, the range of single-vineyard exceptional Napa Cabernets, among others.
Then you can go on a morning or afternoon Tour and Tasting, offered from Monday to Thursday. You will be able to hear the story about Charles Krug and today’s owners Mondavi family.
The 90-minute tour will take you through the grounds of the winery, and you will taste some of their special wines at the magnificent, elegant, and opulent Redwood Cellar.
Adding to the wine tasting experience are the offerings coming from the Cucina di Rosa, which serves artisan cheese, some great charcuterie, and when the weather allows, delicious pizzas from their classic Mugnaini Pizza oven. All tastings require an appointment.
You can get married or have any other special celebration in the winery’s Redwood Cellar or on the vast green lawn.
Check their website for the coming events, there is always something planned.
St Helena Wineries With Food
Brasswood is a small winery in St Helena equally known for its 17,000 square feet of wine caves, bakery, a bottle shop as for its superb restaurant. Pairing their estate wines and the dishes from their Brasswood Bar + Kitchen comes naturally.
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The Brasswood’s popular lunch pairing pairs two white and two red wines with four delectable dishes: hand-pulled mozzarella, lamb chop encrusted in herbs, duck bolognese, and for dessert a creamy, rich butterscotch pannacotta.
If you are looking for a great brunch in St Helena, you will find plenty of choices. Davies Vineyards goes one step further: they offer brunch with wine tasting. And what a brunch it is!
You absolutely have to try the Bubbles & Caviar Brunch (offered for $145, from Friday to Sunday.) It comes with an ounce of caviar, potato chips, eggs, and creme fraiche. Or you might prefer quiche with smoked salmon, paired with Schramsberg’s famous sparkling wine.
Most people visit Wheeler Farms because of its history: it was established in 1871. The owner Charles H. Wheeler founded the legendary St Helena Viticultural Club.
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But Wheeler Farms will surprise you on every step. Besides seven acres planted with Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the estate also has a heritage fruit orchard, edible gardens, olive trees, bees, and chickens.
They also have some fantastic food options with their wine tasting, prepared by their Chef Sarah Heller.
You can choose the farm-to-table tasting, with four wines nicely paired with canapés to start with and a one-course or a full three-course garden lunch.
Their top offer is tasting which comes with a cooking demonstration, and a superb three-course lunch. A tour of the winery comes with all options.
Best wineries in St Helena will delight you on so many levels: with great wines, spectacular scenery, incredibly romantic settings, and always a warm welcome.
How many of the 400 wineries you can visit during a single visit is up to you, but you cannot help falling in love with the place, for the wines, and for its pure romance.