Visitors to the Napa Valley have probably heard of Yountville. Some call it the “Heart of Napa Valley,” and it is home to two of California wine country’s most famous dining destinations. Both Bouchon Bistro (and a stand-alone Bouchon Bakery if you need a quick breakfast pastry or macaron!) and the world-famous French Laundry are based in the tiny, picturesque town, alongside boutique shopping, an outstanding art walk, and of course, some fantastic wine tasting opportunities!
Below, you’ll find just a few of our favorite places to taste wine in and around Yountville.
7257 Silverado Tr
Napa CA 94558
Paraduxx is part of the lauded Duckhorn family of wineries, but plays a unique role in their overall portfolio. The Duckhorns founded Paraduxx to allow their winemakers to experiment outside their famous Bordeaux varieties with blends that stand amongst some of the very best wine blends made anywhere. Today, winemaker Don LaBorde has both mountain-grown and valley-floor fruit to work with, including varieties like Merlot, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah. These are grown from 39 acres in the Rector Creek Vineyard in Yountville, as well as the Stout Vineyard on famous Howell Mountain. Both red and white blends are available, as well as a seasonal Rosé that sells out quick.
Visitors to Paraduxx are in for a wine tasting treat. Enjoy the courtyard and the VIP stylings of the tasting salon, or call ahead for a more unique experience. (Group tastings of five guests or more can also be arranged by advance appointment.) The “Enhanced” wine tasting includes both current release and library wine selections, not to mention a gorgeous vineyard view. Private tastings can also be arranged, with pourings from limited selections and a cheese and charcuterie pairing. There’s also the “Blend Experience” for guests who have always wanted to attempt their own winemaking project, but who don’t want to miss a wine and cheese pairing! For the ultimate wine tasting, try the “Day of Duckhorn,” which includes a tour of both the Paraduxx winery and the Rector Creek Vineyard, where your party will enjoy a “Private Blend Experience” and tasting. Then, relax over a picnic lunch with a glass of your favorite wine before arriving at Duckhorn winery for a private tour and a tasting tailored to your palate.
1185 State Ln
Yountville CA 94599
Casa Piena was founded by the Policy’s, whose love of wine and hospitality has its unlikely roots in Ohio. Carmen Policy grew up in Youngstown, where his Italian-American neighborhood held winemaking as central to both family and community. He cites this as a source of his ambitions: while these wines made all over basements in his hometown were an expression of love, they “were also shared between families as a sign of generosity, and of course with a little bit of healthy competitive spirit.” Carmen took his aptitude for competition to trial law; he also became involved with the management and expansion of several professional sports franchises.
But after a career spanning 25 years, he and his wife Gail wanted to try something new. With palates refined over years of enjoying Napa Valley’s best and most sophisticated wines, the Policy’s decision to invest in their own wine property, a parcel on the valley floor of Yountville. Their 14 acres offer soil variation and a microclimate shaped by the natural features of Yountville around them (including stunning views of two mountain ranges and the Stags Leap Palisades).
The Policy Vineyard is now planted to four carefully chosen clones of Cabernet Sauvignon—chosen by famous winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown and tended by accomplished vineyard manager Jim Barbour. Brown relies on the fruit carefully cultivated by Barbour, and both maintain the importance of sustainable practices in producing world-class grapes. From the vineyard, Brown takes a minimalist approach to allow the unique character of terroir and vintage to guide the final product. The current release is a 2014 Casa Piena Cabernet Sauvignon, grown from their estate vineyard, with a nose of “star anise, cassis, cedar bark, and pipe tobacco,” and a palate that includes “cranberry compote, cardamom, sage oil, blackberry reduction, and worn leather.” Visitors to Casa Piena can look forward to a private, highly-sought after wine tasting experience (by appointment only) that includes tasting, as well as an overview of the winery’s history and winemaking philosophy.
6711 Washington St
Yountville CA 94599
Tres Perlas is the project of the Renteria family, whose roots in the Napa Valley begin with actual roots—and vines, and berries! Salvador Renteria was a barber in Jalisco, Mexico who emigrated to California with his wife Luisa in 1962. They began to build one of the most important vineyard management companies in all of Napa Valley, which went on to manage such lauded vineyards as those that go into famous cult wine Screaming Eagle. Their son Oscar continued the family business, but wanted more, and got it! After forty years of tending other vineyards, the first Renteria Vineyard was established. What to name the winery? Tres Perlas, suggested Salvador, after his three granddaughters, Oscar’s children. Now, together with lauded winemaker Kirk Venge, the Renterias produce world-class wine in Napa Valley. One of their vineyards sits between two of California wine country’s most famous and successful AVAs, Oakville and Rutherford. This “Renteria 360” includes 40 acres perfect for producing Bordeaux varieties, while the Renteria Brown Ranch in Carneros is just starting to show its promise for highly expressive Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
But the Renterias also source grapes from the historic (and highly, highly sought after) To Kalon Vineyard, and these make the core of their reserve wine named after Luisa. The “Desde Luisa” is just one of the stellar Cabernet Sauvignons in their portfolio and is available only by allocation. To add wines like the Single Barrel Reserve “The Barber” and “The Bridge” Bordeaux blend (or one of their newer Pinot Noir bottlings), to your own collection, wine tasters must join their membership list. While Tres Perlas does not offer tastings at this time, we’re confident Cabernet lovers will love their bottlings.
6720 Washington St
Yountville CA 94599
What do you think of when you hear the word “handwritten?” Founded by long-term friends, Handwritten Wines answered the question with “personal, private, special, touching, and moving.” With the help of winemaker Rob Lloyd, they hope to evoke these qualities with every bottle, in addition to the lush expressiveness of Bordeaux varieties as produced over the finest appellations of Napa Valley. While the winery’s portfolio focuses on both mountain and hillside fruit, the winery sources grapes from the finest vineyards in such diverse parts of California wine country as Calistoga, Carneros, Stags Leap, and Coombsville, among others. Bottlings include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and even a late harvest dessert wine. As Lloyd says, “I’m signing my name to this. Handwritten is the opportunity to source what a winemaker thinks is the very best.”
But personalized touches evoked by Handwritten Wine’s philosophy extends to more than just wine. Wine tasters can expect a private and unique experience in their visit to the winery’s “Cottage” on Washington Street in Yountville, right next door to famed sister winery Jessup Cellars. Handwritten recommends reservations, but for those interested in an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, a Private Farmhouse Tour can be scheduled at a 1909 Craftsman Farmhouse. The chef and owner of the property, which sits on a picturesque slope of St. Helena, prepares food produced on her farm specially created to pair with your personalized Handwritten tasting. To learn more, check out the video below.
6200 Washington St
Yountville CA 94599
Bell Wine Cellars is a part of Napa Valley past and present. The winery was established in 1991 and found its permanent home on Washington Street in Yountville seven years later. The winery is famous for bottling the first single-vineyard, single-clone Cabernet Sauvignon in the Napa Valley. In 2002, new investors reinvigorated the brand and allowed for expansion and a whole host of hospitality experiences. Bell Wine Cellars grapes are grown in distinct regions selected for the perfect blend of elevation and soil; the Cabernet is grown on the Rutherford Bench, the Chardonnay and Merlot around the winery estate, and the Syrah at 2,000 feet in the Sierra foothills. This reflects founder Anthony Bell’s attitude towards terroir: “Wine is grown in the vineyard. We are merely stewards of nature while the wine is in our cellar.”
Bell’s extensive wine portfolio extends beyond these vineyards, however, and includes such diverse varieties as Zinfandel, Syrah, Pinot Gris, and Viognier. Wine tasting experiences range just as widely, from the Current Release Tasting with five pours and an optional cheese plate to much grander affairs. For wine scholars, the Sensory Tasting uses a guided blind tasting to help train your palate, while the Cabernet Sauvignon Clonal Tasting invites guests to explore Anthony Bell’s extensive single-clone bottlings with cheese pairings. For serious students of wine, the Blending Seminar allows you to become a winemaker for the day. By exploring different varieties and clones, guests ultimately have a chance to make their own blend of wine. Of course, reservations are required in advance for most of these experiences, and Bell looks forward to your visit!
Let Beau Wine Tours take you off the beaten path in Yountville and show you some of the finest wines in the Napa Valley. Contact our reservations team here and let us help you. Check out some of the great restaurants in Yountville to discover after a day of wine tastings here, and where to lay your head in a Yountville hotel here.