Below, you’ll find six Napa wineries that are reopening for visitors and have previously been recommended by Decanter writers.
There are plenty more to be found, of course, and our main piece of advice is do your research. Advance reservations are essential, and make sure you’ve checked the policies on booking and health precautions at individual wineries before visiting.
COVID-19 updates: At this time, all tasting reservations will be limited to groups of four guests or fewer and held privately, either outdoors in our courtyards and gardens, or in one of the private tasting rooms. A host will guide you through the tasting from start to finish. The number of concurrent reservations are limited, and arrival times and locations will be staggered. Body temperatures will be taken at arrival. Card payments only.
Decanter recommendation: Jess Lander highlighted Cakebread as a must-visit for 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic.
She wrote, ‘The iconic Cakebread Cellars, a Napa Valley rarity that has been family-owned and operated since 1973, opened an epic, redwood-clad visitor campus in the fall of 2019. This includes a whopping nine, uniquely-designed private tasting rooms, each assigned a curated tasting experience.’
See also: Cakebread Cellars: A Napa stalwart
COVID-19 updates: Masks must be worn upon arrival and while you move to and from your table. For the time being, open by appointment only for all experiences.
Decanter recommendation: Katie Kelly Bell recommends Robert Sinskey as a top organic estate to visit.
She wrote, ‘In keeping with their organic certification and “perfect circle” farming philosophy, a visit to Sinskey involves tastings, not only of RSV’s organically farmed wines, but also of items from the vineyard kitchen created mostly from items grown in the kitchen gardens and edible landscape.
‘In terms of tasting, winemaker Rob Sinskey suggests trying their Abraxas Vin De Terroir a single vineyard wine made of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer and Orgia.’
Stephen Brook also recommended a visit, in his guide to the Silverado trail. ‘Marked by their freshness and flair, Sinskey’s wines are an invigorating alternative to Napa’s cult of Cabernet,’ wrote Brook.
COVID-19 updates: Opening on Friday, 12 June for members, and from Thursday 25 June for non-members. Inglenook will be open Thursdays through Sundays, and guests will be required to wear masks until they are seated at their table. Groups will be limited to six or less and there are fewer tables to ensure the appropriate amount of social distancing for all. Reservations are required for all visits now. No drop-in visits will be accepted.
Decanter recommendation: First founded in 1879, Oscar-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and his wife, Eleanor, purchased the estate in 1975 and spent decades restoring it to its former glory. In April 2002, the vineyards were officially certified organic. Katie Kelly Bell says they offer a range of tasting experiences and recommends the estate’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, named Rubicon.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
COVID-19 updates: The FAY Outlook & Visitor Center reopens on Thursday, 11 June. Opening hours are now 10:00am – 4:00pm Thursday through Monday, with reduced occupancy. Visits to the winery are by reservation only. Each reservation will include the Estate Collection Tasting Flight for up to a maximum of six attendees in a socially distanced environment. A clean glass will be provided for each tasting. Face coverings are required on the property except when seated for tasting.
Decanter recommendation: The 1973 Cabernet was a star of Steven Spurrier’s now-legendary Judgement of Paris in 1976, and Stag’s Leap is a must-visit for a Napa enthusiast.
Stephen Brook recommended a stop at this winery in his 2018 guide to the Silverado Trail. ‘The winery’s plate-glass windows offer views over the vineyard and visitors can also enjoy the bucolic scene from the terrace,’ he wrote. ‘To gaze over the SLV and Fay vineyards, glass in hand, is to experience an essential part of Napa’s wine history.’
COVID-19 updates: Reopened on 9 June and tasting is by appointment. The same three visitor experiences are being offered, with some important changes to comply with health and safety protocols. ‘Luckily, we have lots of outdoor space, which is making it fairly easy to adapt,’ said Cathy Corison, co-owner and winemaker. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Decanter recommendation: Corison is a family-run winery known for making wonderfully-balanced Cabernet and it’s a must-visit just off Highway 129 outside of St. Helena. Don’t leave without taking a proper look at the historic Kronos vineyard, and you may also get to taste Gewürztraminer from Anderson Valley, plus Syrah and Cabernet Franc from the Sunbasket vineyard. Recommended by Chris Mercer, who visited in 2019.
COVID-19 updates: Taking reservations for 12 June and onwards. There is a maximum of four guests per group, and the price is $50 per guest for a 90 minutes tasting. Appointments are available Thursday through Monday at 10am, 1pm and 3:30pm. Guests must travel together in the same vehicle. No groups will be combined, and extra time has been added between tastings to allow the team to fully sanitise any inside and outside areas that are used. Email email@example.com.
Decanter recommendation: Signorello is more familiar to unprecedented times, after its visitor centre was burnt to the ground in the devastating wildfires of 2017. The vineyards and wine stocks were spared. It reopened to visitors in the summer of 2018.
Stephen Brook recommends visting for a tasting, especially the ‘top Signorello whites, include one made from some of California’s oldest Chardonnay vines and a polished Graves-style wine called Seta. This style was quite common in Napa in the 1980s but has almost vanished today’.
For those still not able to get to California, or out for a tasting for any reason, many wineries are still offering virtual visits. In many cases, you can buy the wines in advance in order to experience the tasting at home, too.
Some wineries listed above are still offering virtual options, as are others that have not yet reopened – including Frog’s Leap, Louis M Martini and Bouchaine.
Find out more information on wineries’ own websites.