Far Niente#5 in Best Things To Do in Napa Valley
Those who wish to avoid the crowds should head to Far Niente. The appointment-only tours are small and informational, leaving guests impressed by the knowledgeable and friendly guides. But the pristine grounds and fascinating wine caverns are the first highlights. The caves store hundreds of barrels of coveted wine (and span 40,000 square feet), while the 13 acres surrounding the winery are landscaped with thousands of colorful flowers (The azaleas are a particular point of pride). Also, Far Niente's Carriage House houses vintage cars and motorcycles. Every tour ends with an ample tasting of five vintages and a seasonal cheese pairing.
Recent Far Niente visitors raved about the extensive tour that showed not only the underground caves but the gardens and vintage automobiles too. Many also commented on the individualized attention that was given to each person and the well-versed tour guides. Learning how to properly pair wine and cheese is an added bonus.
Tours and tastings (which include a seasonal cheese pairing) are costly at $65 per person, but recent visitors said it's worth the price. Near the small town of Oakville, Far Niente is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but you must have an appointment. Tours and tasting appointments are offered daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, check out the winery's website.
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#1 Frog's Leap Winery
Owner and winemaker, John Williams, started as a dairy farmer in New York, but fell in love with winemaking and opened his own winery in 1981, known as Frog's Leap Winery. This country farm meets vineyard is the perfect place to enjoy great wine and company without the stuffiness sometimes found at wineries. Plus, Frog's Leap farms organically, so you're making healthy choices by the drinking wine – right?
Some say this winery offers the most relaxed and enjoyable tour-tasting in Napa Valley. Tour guides lead you through the fruit and vegetable gardens, the fermentation room, barrel room and the gorgeous farmhouse. Recent guests love leisurely savoring their wine while gazing at the gardens and Mayacamas Mountains from rocking chairs on the farmhouse porch. Guests also said that the occasional run-in with the jovial winemaker John Williams is always a treat.
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