St. Clair Brown Winery
You may have already scene this chic urban spot if you’ve ever taken a ride on the Napa Wine Train. Its friendly staff often wave at passengers rolling by. But do not let its exterior deceive you - St. Clair Brown (the last names of its two female co-owners) is a true oasis, hidden behind a lavish culinary garden, with the winery itself right across the parking lot. Sample from their hand-numbered bottles of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, zinfandel, syrah rosé, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio and muscat. This one is the epitome of boutique with less than 200 cases made of each varietal.
850 Vallejo Street, Napa; stclairebrownwinery.com
Just down the road from St. Clair Brown, you’ll find a real winery in action at 20 Rows. You can wander amid the tanks and barrels while tasting, and catch a few tall tales from winemaker Brian and his wife Lori. They jazz up the concrete floor space with flowers, dimmed lights and votive candles, along with a sound system for extra energy. Dogs and dancers welcome.
880 Vallejo Street, Napa; twentyrows.com
Papapietro Perry Winery
Simplicity speaks volumes at Papapietro. While the tasting room does not offer more than a nice bar and comfy seats, the wine poured within its walls are renowned among Pinot Noir and Zinfandel-lovers. Enjoy local tales from the friendly staff, along with first-class tastings in Riedel glassware. For even more fun, reserve the Pinots on the Patio wine and cheese experience overlooking the vineyards.
4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg; pappietro-perry.com
Salvestrin has a true family-owned feel. It’s quaint, very intimate and cozy in appearance and experience. Take a quick flight of stairs to the tasting room for a personable, comfortable, social and fun tasting experience. Each varietal sample has excellent appearance, aroma, and a wonderfully extended finish.
397 Main St, St Helena http://www.salvestrinwinery.com/
If natural volcanic rock wine caves are something you haven’t seen before, you need to plan a visit to Kelly Fleming Wines. The tour, led by Kelly Fleming herself, showcases the estate's natural caves and includes a tasting of high-end, limited production wines. Kelly also tells you more about the vineyards, estate dogs, and even rescue donkeys. You’ll learn every detail that went into the rock-clad, 3,000-case, Tuscan-style tasting salon. Visits are by appointment only and limited to eight guests per day, so book early.
2339 Pickett Road, Calistoga; kellyflemingwines.com