For an experience off the beaten track, reserve a tour and tasting at this Stag's Leap District destination. Unlike many Napa wineries, this one is family owned -- by John Shafer, who, after 23 years in publishing, bought 209 hillside acres and planted vines on 50 of them. Today, he and his son Doug, joined by winemaker Elias Fernandez, use sustainable farming and solar energy to make exceptional chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and Syrah. They only produce 32,000 cases per year, but their wines are well known and extremely coveted. What's more, they share their output and winemaking philosophy during a relaxed, enjoyable $45-per-person 1 1/2-hour tour and tasting. Most wines go for $45 to $65, but their Hillside Select cabernet is $200 (and can immediately be resold for somewhere in the $300s). Tip: Book your tasting tour 4 to 6 weeks in advance either online or by phone; the tours are intimate and popular.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010