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Mar 13, 2007 11:55 AM

Which of these wineries would you go to?


I am trying to narrow down the list of wineries we are going to on our vacation.This will be our first trip to the area.

I know several wineries we will be visiting. However, there are four I'm trying to decide between (2 out of 4 is the goal). I'm hoping you all can help me! It would be great if one had great reds and one had great whites. However, that is not neccesary. St. Supry was mainly thrown in there because it's supposed to have a nice learning experience and good wine.

Here are the wineries:

Roberty Sinsky
Peju Province
St Supery
Sawyer Winery

Thanks so much for your imput!

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  1. Out of the four, I would only go to Sinsky -- the others are over-rated and a bit too commercial in my opinion.

      1. Thanks you two! Would you recommend the tour as well as the tasting? I am excited about this day. We will go to Sinsky and Frog's Leap, I think.

        1. Depends on if you have ever been on a winery tour or not -- I am "so over them" but for neophytes, they can be quite fun and educational.

          12 Replies
          1. re: Carrie 218

            Well, my husband has never been on a wine tour and we'd like to go on one or two.

            1. re: stephtx

              Sinskey charges $25 a person which seems awfully high.

              Do any decent wineries offer good cheap or free tours?

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                The Sinsky website says $15 or $20 for the regular tastings. From what I've heard the cheap or free tastings generally occur in Sonoma. Guess that's a whole 'nother thread!

                  1. re: stephtx

                    i believe it the tasting fee can be applied to wine purchases.

                    i'd caution being wary of high tasting prices. this is largely to filter out the riff/raff. if serious wine drinkers want to taste expensive wines prior to purchasing or would like to taste a vintage they own already without popping their own bottle, all with a good experience, paying the price is well worth it.

                    if you're really looking for a lovely experience, coupled with education for moderately priced wines try:

                    ANDERSON SPARKLING - phenomenal caves, very education
                    SILVER OAK - i second the opinions here for the napa location
                    COPPOLA - lovely setting, fun paraphenalia from the movies, good wine
                    SHAFER - excellent tour, good wines, terrific story

                    there are so many good places, it's hard to go wrong.

                    1. re: revets2

                      With regard to wineries, CURRENT information is rather important, as winemakers change, meaning the wines change also. Vintages also vary, and wineries change ownership and with that sometimes the complete concept and name of the winery change also.

                      As is the case of S. Anderson sparkling winery, mentioned above.
                      It has been gone for FIVE YEARS. It is now Cliff Lede, and the wines rarely receive a mention.

                      Coppola has been gone for 1-1/2 years as well. It is now Rubicon Estate, and discussed already in this thread. The movie memorabilia will be housed in a “museum” of sorts at the new Francis Ford Coppola Winery at the former Chateau Souverain estate north of Healdsburg (exit Independence Lane off Hwy. 101), but will not be available for viewing for “another year or so” according to the tasting room today.

                      Shafer is, as revets2 posts, a top-flight winery. Unfortunately, they are under construction and not scheduling tasting visits, citing safety concerns. It’s a shame:
                      the setting is beautiful and the wines are still at the top of the heap.

                      As mentioned earlier in this thread, Silver Oak in Napa is also undergoing construction and so now is not the best time to visit.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        thanks for the update. so much changes in a year.

                        cliff lede still distributes S. ANDERSON. it's still a great tour and worth a trip.

                        we were in the area in feb. and the temp tasting room at silver oak is fine. it's actually great to see the models of the new facility.

                        i know COPPOLA is now RUBICON, but felt that the COPPOLA name might be more recognizable to the original poster.

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          Coppola still owns Rubicon Estate...he just made focused changes. New wine too...better. The old diamond wines are good table wines. But Rubicon Estate produces some really impressive Estate selections. Their Estate Merlot and Estate Cab Franc are really, very good. They don't pour those int he Tasting Room but you can get buy them by the glass at the on-site Wine Bar. Really cool little place.

                          1. re: Bizzy

                            I'm sorry, Bizzy, I disagree with your assessment of Rubicon wines. I haven't tasted a single one of the lot that justifies their cost.

                            Agree on Sinskey and Frog's Leap. They're fun, close to each other, and both wineries make some fine wines.

                            However, all this may be immaterial, as the OP's post was mid-March 2007.

                            1. re: Bizzy

                              Coppola's been making that cab franc for a while. I first had it at Tommaso's years ago. Nice stuff but oddly expensive.

                    2. re: stephtx

                      There are only a few tours that I recommend, and none of them are the wineries you mentioned. If the goal of a tour is to actually learn something, rather than to just tag along until the tasting that follows, these are my recommendations. You're guaranteed to learn, and well as enjoy, if you go on the tours at:

                      -- Louis Martini Winery is a state-of-the-art tour . . . if your state is 1933. It was the first, all-new-from-the-ground-up winery built in Napa after Prohibition.

                      -- Robert Mondavi is a state-of-the-art tour . . . if your state is 1966. It was the second, all-new-from-the-ground-up winery built in Napa after Prohibition. (They have also continued to upgrade, modernize, etc., etc., so the contrast between Martini and Mondavi is very educational.)

                      -- Domaine Chandon produces traditional sparkling wines, and the process of doing so is totally different than making table wines.

                      -- Any small winery that you visit, and by small, I mean under 5,000 case annual production; under 10,000 at the most. It's just a different scale, and well worth seeing.

                  2. I have to disagree with Sawyer being overrated and too commercial. I think they make excellent wines at a good value for Napa Valley. It is one of the few places in Napa that I enjoy stopping at because the people are so nice and it's an easy pop-in off 29.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: The Dive

                      Thanks,The Dive,

                      I've heard good things about Sawyer as well.

                      I think, in this area of Napa, we're going to Elyse, Sinsky, Frog's Leap, and ? :).

                      1. re: stephtx

                        You know, I wasn't all that impressed by Elyse when I went last March. it was very crowded and didn't seem as much of a "find" as I was hoping it to be. On the same road is Havens, which makes stellar merlots and some interesting red blends. I enjoyed the experience as it is by appointment only and they really restrict the number of people at the tasting room at any given time. My group of four sat at the picnic table outside and tasted (and re-tasted) several bottles over the course of an hour while discussing the wine with the staff member.