Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Oct 10, 2006 04:36 PM

Sonoma / Napa wine tours

I have 1 day to spend in either Sonoma or Napa (coming from NYC, visiting a friend in San Francisco). There are plenty of tours online. Are any particularly reputable or particularly awful?

Would love any feedback. While I don't want to break the bank, "value" is not so much a concern as hitting some smaller, more charming, possibly owner-operated vinyards.

Thank you!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I very much enjoy taking guests to Vine Cliff on the Silverado Trail in Napa. Appointment only, $20 tasting. The hosts do a great job giving you as much or as little info as you want and are quite entertaining. (Khris is especially good) Very good cabs and chards, although a bit pricey. Your tasting fee is deducted from purchases.

    1. I just came back from Napa. I would highly recommend Frog's Leap (they are all organic and use geopower - the tasting is free as well), Cakebread (really nice tasting experience - they take you in the back where all the action is going on as opposed to just going up to a tasting room) and if you're into it, Round Pond Olive Oil (different experience but by far my favorite of all the tastings and tours). Chateau Montelena also had a really nice and informative tour - the most informative of the ones I went to (about 15 in all) and a really well put together tasting. Plus the grounds are just spectacular. All are by appt only.

      1. Thanks for the suggestions so far! I should have been more specific.
        We will not be driving (being a NYer, I am too nervous to drive even after 1/2 a glass of wine, so don't want to risk it after a day's worth of tastings.
        So I am looking for more of an organized tour/bus type thing. Or could be convinced to stay overnite if vinyards are close enough to bike/walk/taxi.

        1. Your not going to get smaller family owned wineries on a bus tour! 50 tourists piling off the bus is a bit more than most can handle. As the other poster implied, however, many of the larger places do a great job.

          My recommendation is to get a driver and a private car. There are plenty of services, you might try a google search.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chris Rising

            I know. I know!
            That's why I was asking for suggestions for the best of that sort of thing. I will look into cars. Thanks!

          2. Beau Wine Tours is an option. Have not used them myself, but ran into a driver at a winery and he seemed a nice guy. Chatted for a bit and got his card. (800) 387-2328