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Jun 6, 2010 04:25 PM

Napa and Sonoma Recommendations for July 4 Weekend

My mother and I will be visiting Napa and Sonoma on the Saturday and Sunday of Independence Day Weekend to escape our hometown of D.C. She does not drink but she does enjoy the vineyard tours. What are your recommendations of estates to visit? I have already visited Mumm Napa and Pat Kuleto. I have Rubicon Estates on my list. We will have a car - my mother will be DD. I need a vineyard that has beautiful scenery and interactive tours, not just a place where people sit around and enjoy drinking wine (such as Mumm).

Please let me know your suggestions! We will be staying near SFO.


Rubicon Estate
1991 Saint Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA

221 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102

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  1. I know you have been here before, so maybe you know what you're doing, but Napa and Sonoma are fairly far from each other and way far from SFO. Are you planning day trips from the SFO area into Napa one day and Sonoma another? Traffic over Independence Day weekend will be heavy, and I fear you will be spending a great deal more time driving than you will tasting or touring. That said, Ferrari Carano, in the Dry Creek Valley area of Sonoma county, has beautiful gardens that are worth a visit for themselves. The wine is just ok and fairly pricey, but worth a taste. Korbel, along the Russian River, has a good tour and an excellent deli, wines also just ok.

    1. As have been mentioned, be aware of the traffic, especially 29 which will be a crawl. You might try Stags' Leap off the Silverado Trail. It needs an appt, but you will get a nice history of the place and serene vineyard views from the veranda and Rhone style wines that are perfect for summer. Don't get it confused with Stag's Leap, which I did not like the attitude of the staff.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Dawgmommy

        Hess Collection - stunning location and incredible private art collection.

        1. re: Dawgmommy

          Very interesting, I never knew there were two of them. I just googled them both and they have very similar looking labels with a picture of an antelope. Anyone know the story between these two wineries? Any relation?

          1. re: calalilly

            Yes, there are 2 of them, and a matter of where you put the apostrephe; easy to get them mixed up. The one that I like is STAGS' Leap, a little hidden away, off a private drive, a little south of Yountville Cross Road. Their label has the Stag actually leaping and facing left. It used to be owned by Carl Doumani, and the other is STAG's Leap, (label has stag satnding and facing right) was/is (?) owned by Warren Winarski (sp?) . There was actually a law suit over the name and the decision by the judge was the difference of where you put the apostrephe.

            1. re: Dawgmommy

              The apostrophe difference is minor compared to the name difference: One is Stag's Leap Wine Cellars; the other is Stags' Leap Winery. Both are reputable, and historic. Stags' Leap Winery requires an appointment, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars does not.

              There are many other options, BTW.

              Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
              5766 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA

                1. re: calalilly

                  Winiarski sold out to Antinori and Chateau Ste. Michelle in 2007 (for $185M). Although the property and label do have history, they are fast becoming a footnote and nothing more. Their reputation for friendliness is on the poor side, which someone else has also mentioned. Frankly, if I was going to go wine tasting on the July 4th Weekend, I would go to Mendocino.


        2. Since she doesn't drink, she might really enjoy the olive oil tasting at Round Pond.

          Actually I think Mumm is a nice place for non-drinkers because of the art collection. Currently there is an exhibit of photos of Paris.

          Also, Markham currently has a fun free exhibit of Rolling Stone covers by Baron Wolman.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Junie D

            Agreed on Round Pond. Also, the Hess Collection is absolutely stunning, as is the De Rosa.
            I'd take a pass on Rubicon.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              These suggestions are definitely on the right track, especially for a non-drinker. Turnbull also has some very nice photography exhibits that they rotate throughout the year (usually heavy on Ansel Adams, which is always a treat).


            2. re: Junie D

              Clos Pegase (across form Sterling on Dunaweal Lane) also has a large art collection.

            3. Thanks, guys. This is all great information. I chose the Rubicon Estate and Hess Collection as my mom is big on "views" and art tours.

              Rubicon Estate
              1991 Saint Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA