Recently becoming it’s own AVA within the Napa Valley, Calistoga is proud to be recognized for it’s unique terroir and over 30 wineries in the area. Even with some larger and well-known wineries, Calistoga prides itself on smaller, family-owned venues where you have a more personal experience and are treated like a member of the family. In a little over 24 hours you can visit 5 great wineries in Calistoga like we did and see how uniqueness and personality play into each location no matter what the size.
Drink wine in a gorgeous castle over a century old. Chateau Montelena has been producing wine since 1886, but it wasn’t until after their starring role in the Judgment of Paris in 1976, that they received international recognition (check out the movie Bottle Shock to learn more). The grounds are a stunning sanctuary for a variety of fish and wildlife, the lake is surrounded by Chinese garden landscaping, weeping willows and native fauna. I could sit there for hours just taking in the beauty on the property. Current wine tastings are $25, their Montelena Estate Zinfandel was my ultimate favorite for it’s spiciness and berry flavors. A variety of experiences and tours are available with reservations, visit http://www.montelena.com/visit/tastingRoom for more.
Looking for unique, first thing you see when you arrive at Sterling Vineyards in the chalkboard prompting patrons to fill in the blank… “Before I Die…..” so what would you say? Travel by gondola to a self-guided tasting tour while admiring the views. Enjoy appetizers, explore the grape to glass process, admire art through the galleries, and of course enjoy the wine. My favorite here was the Sterling Vintner’s Collection Riesling, so fruit forward and refreshing on this gorgeous Napa Valley day. I love that they were also tasting a Rosenblum Bubbly Moscato Rose from a sister-vineyard, I fell in love with that one! For $29, your visit includes the aerial tram, self-guided tour of the lower portion of the winery, scenic views from our terraces, and a tasting of current release wines. http://www.sterlingvineyards.com/
Tank Garage Winery
Once a 1930’s era gas station, the location of Tank Garage’s tasting room requires a double take as you pass by on Hwy 128 (Foothill Blvd).
A dream of two longtime friends, Tank Garage is very much a museum of cool artifacts (check out the Indian Motorcycle pinball machine) as it is a place to belly up to the bar for some wine. While you are there at the bar you can envision your car getting a tune up just around the corner. Such a neat spot to enjoy some great one-off wines with unique labels and names. The 2011 Never Dream Alone is 90% Tempranillo and 10% Zinfandel, 100% delicious in my book! The owners also run T-Vine Cellars nearby, so check them out too! http://www.tankgaragewinery.com/
Tamber Bey Vineyards
An homage to his first two Arabian horses, Tamborina and Bayamo, Tamber Bey Vineyards on is a must-stop for equestrian (and wine) lovers. The winery and tasting room sits on Sundance Ranch, a world-class equestrian facility in Calistoga that houses owner Barry Waitte’s endurance race horses. I purchased their 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Deux Chevaux (two horses) because it’s not like any other Cab I’ve tasted.Bring a picnic and pair a tasting, you may even get to talk it up with one of the gorgeous horses they’re boarding. http://www.tamberbey.com/
Bennett Lane Winery
The best proposal package and views can happen at Bennett Lane Winery, so much so I want my husband to propose again right here:
Okay my photo was slightly enhanced (with the Snapseed app, thanks to a tip from tasting room Manager Travis), but can you imagine it? I loved this property, so much beauty, so many photogenic spots to snap.
Their goal is elegant wines that are also rich in flavor, and I truly loved their Maximus White Feasting Wine. Fresh flavors and aged in stainless steel, it could easily be my everyday summer wine! http://www.bennettlane.com/
I can’t wait to head back to Calistoga, I was so impressed and awed by the individuality of the wine tasting locations we visited. We explored via the Winter in the Wineries Passport, which may be an new annual tradition for my husband and I, maybe they should offer one for every season! You’re bound to find something you love in Calistoga’s wineries, to plan your trip and wine tasting route visit http://visitcalistoga.com/.
*Take note, some of the smaller wineries are open by appointment only, so be sure to check their contact information for more details.
I was provided a Winter in the Wineries Passport, all opinions are 100% my own.