Napa Valley Specialty
Ashes & Diamonds Winery
4130 Howard Ln., Napa
Sitting somewhere between a community gathering hub and a winery, Ashes & Diamonds, a new Napa Valley-owned spot by Kashy Khaledi is looking to shake things up. Khaledi cut his teeth as an ad exec at the likes of Capitol Records and MTV before deciding to get into the wine business. The first clue that Ashes & Diamond is unlike any other winery in the Napa Valley is the design: porthole windows, stark white facade, and mid-century modern furnishings are a nod to the Napa Valley of the 1960s thanks to LA-based architect Barbara Bestor. As for the wine itself, Khaledi brought in organic and biodynamic wine makers Steve Matthiasson and Diana Snowden Seysses who are churning out a particularly good Blanc (a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon from three vineyards in the Oak Knoll District and Yountville). And, in a true nod to his music roots, Khaledi tapped Brian Roettinger, who concepted the album cover of Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, to design the wine labels. Their yearly membership program starts at three bottles ($345), and perks include access to the "leaders and conspirators" conversation series, plus,…
Turnbull Wine Cellars
8210 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville
Counting Robert Mondavi and Cakebread as its neighbors, this small, family-owned and operated winemaker doubles down on its small-but-mighty Cabernet Sauvignon. (This spring, they played host to our first-ever Napa road-to-table event.) Here, second generation vintner Zoe Johns, who took the helm of Turnbull at the age of 33, brings her vision for a modern vineyard to life: a tasting gallery features a rotating roster of artwork from artists like Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Herb Ritts, while a more elaborate private tasting and pairing program leans heavily on what's freshest from the garden. It goes without saying that the vineyard views are pretty killer from just about everywhere on property, too.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards
200 Taplin Rd., St. Helena
Family owned, and still run day-to-day by the Phelps family for the last sixty years, this Napa wine hero boasts over 130 acres of rolling vineyards alongside olive groves, fruit orchards, and bee hives—you’ll struggle to find a more picturesque setting to settle into for an afternoon of tasting. Start off with Phelps’ Insignia Blending Seminar Settle in for a full afternoon (or two) of culinary delights (Insignia is not only the vineyard’s signature wine but is California’s first proprietary red Bordeaux-style blend). This is a hands-on, but highly refined way to learn about terroir and varietal selections as you smell, taste, and experiment with blending the six Insignia components for a sensorially perfect glass of vino. All that tasting builds an appetite and Phelps have created a truly interactive food experience—named playful plates—where guests can continue the tasting experience (led by a seasoned wine educator) but accompanied by delicious, seasonal bites all chosen to complement the wine.
Nickel and Nickel
8164 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville
By appointment only, this vineyard and winery sits on 42 acres of what was an original 1880’s farmstead.
W F Giugni & Son
1227 Main St., St. Helena
This Italian deli has been serving build-your-own sandwiches since the 1970s. Pick your bread base (we recommend the dutch crunch roll), and then take your pick from the endless meat, cheese, and fixings choice, including “Giugni juice”, the deli’s famous homemade balsamic vinaigrette, which we suggest adding to anything and everything you order. Arrive before 11am or call ahead to order, as the line can be long, and remember to bring cash. Photo @whatgraceeats
575 Oakville Crossroad, Oakville
Lauded as one of the most highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon producers in the region, this winery boasts deep family roots.
6752 Washington St., Yountville
A new addition to the California wine trail, Stewart has quickly become a favorite for its top-notch Napa varietals. The Yountville-based wine business is a family affair—run by Michael Stewart and his children—so it's only natural they wanted to open a tasting room with a convivial, easygoing vibe. The Stewarts tapped interior designer Ken Fulk to give the brand-new space, which also includes a café and a library, a lived-in, time-worn feel complete with a Syre stone facade, lots of outdoor space, a wood-burning fireplace, and a mix of antiques culled from Brimfield and Paris flea markets.
3200 Monticello Rd., Napa
Simply striking, in all ways: The Kenzo Estate is owned by Japanese-American businessman and vintner Kenzo Tsujimoto and is a work that marries his affinity for the region, wine, and simple aesthetics. After falling in love with Napa Valley decades ago, Tsujimoto debuted his wine in 2008 to much acclaim–but it wasn’t until 2010 that is dream of opening a tasting room for the public came true. Nestled in a drop-dead gorgeous valley, the estate covers 3,800 acres that include sweeping vineyards and a tasting room.
915 Oakville Cross Rd., Oakville
Silver Oak has long been lauded for its Cabernets–consistently selling out of its releases for years (the same goes for the Pinot Noirs and Sauvignon Blancs produced by tis sister winery, Twomey). Run by Vintner David Duncan, the absolutely gorgeous space is located in the center of the valley, in the middle of Oakville. The winery throws the biggest release-day parties of the year, a tradition (and category) cemented since the 1980's when wine enthusiasts started showing up the day of the release. This is an all-around beautiful, successful vineyard not to be missed.
8700 Conn Creek Rd., Rutherford
Caymus is a family operation (the Wagners are in their third generation of winemaking on the property, where they've been making wine since 1972) and the family history and values that tie the vineyard together are elegantly woven through their tasting experience. In addition to trying their excellent Cabs and Zinfandels, you’ll hear about the family's history in the region. Photo: m anima