Is it your first time visiting the Napa Valley and Sonoma? Taking a first-time visitor with you to wine country? Then Domaine Carneros needs to be on your must-do list. I love sparkling wine but don’t drink it as regularly as I probably should (I’m a fan of big Napa reds), but this place serves up some seriously good sparklers. It’s not my favorite (I’m partial to the offerings at Mumm), but the views are stellar and are, quite frankly, unbeatable.
You can make an advanced reservation online (which I highly recommend) for a table outside on the large terrace. Your tasting will have table service and sweeping views of the adjacent vineyards. It’s a photo worthy experience and one that is sure to impress. The winery offers tastings in flights (where you get mini samples of several different wines) or you can purchase wine by the glass. They also sell caviar and pretty cheese plates. Expect to spend anywhere from $25 up to $75 per person.
The winery is built like a French chateau and the grounds and landscaping is truly gorgeous. There’s a nice little gift shop too, and I’ve never felt rushed here which is a big plus. Try to come early in the day (around 10 am) to avoid crowds, as most people want to hang out here late in the day or around sunset.
Parking tip: don’t park on the lower level in front of the chateau if you aren’t physically equipped to handle steep stairs. If you drive around on the left side facing the front of the winery, there’s a “secret” upper level parking lot that’s stair-free. A great tip if you are traveling with an older person or someone who has a physical disability.
Note: We fully paid for our wine tasting experience at this venue, it was not comped.