Tourism is back in full swing in Napa Valley. There’s never been a more diverse menu of eating and drinking options, from new and remodeled tasting rooms to a Champagne-and-caviar lounge to a tiki bar and a Jewish-fusion deli. Luxury remains paramount, with the opening of the Four Seasons Resort in Calistoga in November of last year and Auberge’s Stanly Ranch opening earlier this year, both offering opulent accommodations including on-premises restaurants, spas and even wine tastings.
One notable shift, particularly in the valley, is a movement toward reservation-only tastings as many wineries have discovered that they can better control traffic with an appointment system. Vintners have explored how to best utilize their often-large properties while giving guests a more curated, nuanced and intimate experience.
Spurred by the arrival of the Four Seasons, Calistoga is in the midst of a renaissance. Three of our listings showcase the investment and energy pouring into the city, ranging from casual dining options to posh tasting rooms.
Downtown Napa, meanwhile, seems to reshape itself every few years with a variety of new storefronts and restaurants. Several new tasting rooms have opened downtown and on the outskirts. A recent trend tilts toward a younger clientele and more laid-back culture; visitors can stroll the streets and pop in for tastings, while the food scene is an amalgam of fine dining and more casual eateries.
To help you explore the best of what’s new, the recommendations here are organized into Napa Valley proper and the city of Napa.
3700 Soda Canyon Road, Napa
Telephone (707) 257-8700, ext. 1
Open Open Saturdays during summer
Cost Tastings $75
Antica combines 600 years of Antinori winemaking history with a modern Napa twist. The winery, situated high on Atlas Peak at 1,450 feet, is one of the most secluded settings available to the public in Napa, with no neighbors noticeable while touring the 1,210-acre estate. The newly built, luxurious tasting room is adorned with plush seating and an outdoor patio with an infinity pool, which along with the delectable food pairings and stunning mountain views create an environment where guests shouldn’t feel rushed to leave. All tours are private and by reservation, and can include visiting the winery’s vast wine cave system.
The Antica wines come from the estate’s best blocks, with focused, balanced and intense offerings representing the mountain terroir. The A26 Chardonnay is especially exciting, one of California’s few premium barrel-aged Chardonnays sans malolactic fermentation, leading to a racy and fresh backbone of acidity supporting ample ripe fruit.—April Louis
Clif Family Enoteca
1334 Vidovich Lane, St. Helena
Telephone (707) 968-0625
Open Daily by appointment
Cost Food and wine pairings $100–$195
Down a gravel road from Clif Family’s tasting room and next door to the famed Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard, you will find the new Clif Family Enoteca, a bright and earthy private tasting area devoted to showcasing Clif Family’s single-vineyard Howell Mountain wines with food from executive chef John McConnell, who uses seasonal produce from the winery’s bountiful estate farm.
Early risers can reserve the Presto Gusto (offered only at 10 a.m.), which features four wines paired with brunch fare, such as buttermilk-Cheddar biscuits with La Quercia prosciutto and Clif Family solar-grown honey (harvested from pollinator-friendly solar farms). The La Cima Reserva tasting is the perfect layover between breakfast and dinner. Dishes might include a Sonoma lamb kibbeh with yogurt tahini and Za’atar or a savory gougère with ricotta duxelles. After your wine experience, walk over to the tasting room to purchase some of Clif Family’s staple pantry items to go, including olive oils, hot sauces, chocolates and nut mixes—and, of course, wine.—Elizabeth Redmayne-Titley
Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley, 400 Silverado Trail, Calistoga
Telephone (707) 403-6644
Open By appointment
Cost Tastings $75–$150
Not many resorts have an on-site winery, which is one reason Elusa is distinctive. Another is the more than 4 acres of Cabernet planted on the property, often outside a guest's door. And then there’s its highly regarded winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, while Jonathan Walden tends the winery day to day.
Elusa suggests a posh California farmhouse from the outside; inside, the tasting salon sets a similar tone of effortless luxury. Several tasting experiences are available, often accompanied by a selection of charcuterie, and range from an introductory seated tasting to private affairs. Evolution of Elusa offers a little of both, with a guided tour of the industrial-chic winery and a tasting of library wines.—Tim Fish
436 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena
Telephone (707) 963-2047
Open Daily by appointment
Cost Tastings $125–$1,000
Napa Valley has changed dramatically since Joe Heitz founded this winery in 1961, and no property epitomizes that better than Heitz Cellar itself. New owner and Nashville businessman Gaylon Lawrence Jr. has re-envisioned the winery, particularly its visitor experience.
The old stone tasting room has been transformed into a chic space where guests can take in the contemplative courtyard, the terrace that overlooks vineyards or the main salon’s lodgelike interior, warmed by a stone fireplace. While the atmosphere is not pretentious, the service rivals a fine-dining experience. Estate director Erik Elliott formally worked at The Little Nell, and director of hospitality Ruben Moreno is a French Laundry veteran. Four wines are typically poured at a tasting and a selection of charcuterie is served. For a splurge, the Vineyard to Bottle tasting is an excursion for four that includes vineyard tours and a library tasting. That’s $1,000 a person, so start saving your nickels.—T.F.
6484 Washington St., Suite G, Yountville
Telephone (707) 947-7039
Open Daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for shopping; tastings by appointment
Cost Tastings $75–$100
Sip while you shop? Why not? Heron House is home to 12 small-production, family-owned Napa brands and a curated selection of jewelry, textiles, artwork and more. Founded by Allison Steltzner, whose father has been growing grapes in Stags Leap since 1964, this quaint lounge opened in late 2019, but its location, tucked off Yountville’s main drag, is no longer a secret.
While you can pop in and shop any time, tastings are by appointment, with flights tailored around your preferences. All the wineries here have a direct connection to the Steltzners—as friends, neighbors or shared winemakers—and lean heavily on Cabernet, with offerings from Hobel, Lindstrom, Switchback Ridge and more. The Steltzner's brand Bench is also poured. There are two private rooms for tasting and a cozy sofa in the main room. While the vibe feels distinctly retail-driven, it’s a feast for the eyes while you whet your palate.—Aaron Romano
Lang & Reed Spring House
1244 Spring St., St. Helena
Telephone (707) 963-7547
Open Daily by appointment
Cost Tastings start at $75
At the corner of Spring and Oak in downtown St. Helena, along a sidewalk framed with roses, is the aptly named Spring House. Built in 1902, the powder-blue Victorian has seen its fair share of changes, but for nearly 30 years, the back of the house served as an office for Lang & Reed owners John and Tracey Skupny. In March 2021, the Skupnys expanded to the front of the house, offering tastings of their signature wines, Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc, in intimate yet relaxed areas, including the living and dining rooms.
Sitting on the shady front porch with the owners for a tasting, you could easily be coaxed into thinking you’re mingling with old friends. Family photos adorn the walls and warm blankets hanging from hooks beckon you to stay longer. Whether your host is John or Tracey, you're sure to walk away from the Spring House feeling like you’re part of the Lang & Reed family.—E.R.T.
1155 Lokoya Road, Napa
Telephone (707) 224-4030
Open Wednesday through Sunday by appointment
This historic Mount Veeder estate is far from new, but what is fresh is the modern hospitality building erected in place of a centuries-old house that burned down during the 2017 wildfires. An experience here is still steeped in history and explores the expansive 475-acre property—offering panoramic views at its highest peak (2,400 feet) and taking you back in time as you step into the 1889 stone cellar.
The Backen & Gillam-designed hospitality center, with rich, dark earth tones both inside and out, stands in contrast with the verdant surrounding but is illuminated by floor-to-ceiling opening doors, which bring the outside indoors. The service is warm yet understated, and a trip to Mayacamas is rarely the same each time. The outdoor lounge is the perfect place to reflect on the majesty of the estate while sampling benchmark wines, which can include old vintages or winery-exclusive bottlings.—A.R.
1451 Stanly Lane, Napa
Telephone (707) 415-2298
Open Daily by appointment
Cost Food and wine pairings $50–$100 and up
Not all tasting experiences come with sweeping vineyard vistas; located in Carneros and sharing space with a significant winery for multiple Duckhorn brands, Migration’s tasting room is an elegant and breezy oasis despite the only view being an adjacent parking lot. Guests are liable to see or hear private jets landing at the nearby Napa County Airport or cars whizzing by on Highway 29, but simplicity is part of the charm here, with wine being the focus. Tours of the adjacent winery can also be part of the experience.
Guests can enjoy flights indoors or on the covered, all-season courtyard, seated in comfy patio couches or at white wooden tables. Uniquely, a more expensive tasting flight option offers the opportunity to sample multiple Duckhorn brands, including Calera and Goldeneye, alongside Migration, comparing and contrasting Central Coast, Sonoma and Anderson Valley wines. In addition, the tasting room is dog-friendly and offers a “barkuterie board” for your canine companion. Charcuterie for humans is also available.—A.L.
6757 Washington St., Yountville
Telephone (707) 944-8080
Open Dinner daily; brunch Friday through Sunday
Locals and tourists alike lamented the departure of Richard Reddington’s Redd Wood in 2020, but they likely won’t be disappointed by its replacement. North Block still evokes Redd Wood with its open kitchen, high ceilings and charming courtyard for outdoor seating.
Chef Nick Tamburo, a former executive chef at Momofuku Nishi, captures the essence of California wine country cuisine, highlighting seasonal ingredients. A recent visit evoked the essence of spring, including grilled Swiss chard stuffed with radish, pea leaves and herbs, while an assortment of wood-fired pizzas included one with spring onions, Fiscalini aged Cheddar and chive oil. Larger plates are comfort dishes such as dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye steak or wood-roasted half-chicken with yogurt flatbread and hot sauce. A dozen wines by the glass are local-focused, including Clif Family RTE Sauvignon Blanc and Chappellet Mountain Cuvée. There are also craft beers and cocktails.—A.R.
Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection, 755 Silverado Trail N., Calistoga
Telephone (866) 942-7442
Open Daily lunch and dinner
The poolside vibe at Solage is no longer reserved for hotel guests. Picobar is a second, open-air, casual and contemporary eatery at the Calistoga resort, highlighting seasonal ingredients united with traditions from executive chef Gustavo Rios’ birthplace of Ensenada, Mexico. Small, shareable dishes such as the light and fresh Baja kampachi aguachile, with cucumber, mint, serrano chile and cilantro, or the Gulf shrimp ceviche, with avocado, salsa verde, cucumber and corn chips, aptly highlight Rios’ roots.
Tacos such as Niman Ranch al pastor, with guajillo chile marinade, avocado crema and charred pineapple, or Liberty Farms duck confit, with mole sauce, are more substantial offerings. There’s an abundance of tequila options and craft cocktails and a small but diverse selection of beer and wine geared toward complementing the food, such as the elegant Vinho Verde from famed Portuguese winemaking family Niepoort.—A.R.
Regiis Ova Caviar & Champagne Lounge
6480 Washington St., Yountville
Telephone (707) 947-7181
Open Wednesday through Sunday
Last summer, chef Thomas Keller and caviar entrepreneur Shaoching Bishop opened this pop-up lounge, and it’s still popping a year later. But who would want to close the doors on a place where you can taste Keller’s culinary whimsy served with a glass of bubbly?
The interior conjures a lavish garden, with natural textures and sea-green color tones accented by linen and gray Marquina marble. There’s also a casual outdoor patio for alfresco relaxing. The menu is ideal for pre- or post-dinner noshing and offers indulgent bites and snacks, both with and without Regiis Ova caviar (the brand Keller and Bishop founded in 2017). Highlights include avocado mousseline, with pistachio oil and Siberian caviar, and the truffle grilled cheese, with caramelized shallots. For the Ova aficionados, the caviar can be ordered à la carte. Its wine list boasts roughly 30 Champagnes, including Dom Pérignon and Ruinart, a handful of reds and whites, with select by-the-glass options.—A.R.
The Living Room at TRUSS
Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley, 400 Silverado Trail, Calistoga
Telephone (707) 709-2100
Since the debut of Four Seasons Napa in November 2021, the property has postponed opening the formal TRUSS dining room. The Living Room is the informal dining experience, and in this case, “informal” is relative. A handsome space, it’s done in warm stone and wood tones, with a high-pitched ceiling, a fireplace and a wall of glass that opens to a terrace offering a dynamic view of the Palisades and the resort’s pool area. The wine service and attention to detail are also anything but casual, while the menu covers all the bases for laid-back resort dining.
Pizzas are a centerpiece, including a decadent grilled maitake pizza with garlic cream, kale, egg and honey-balsamic. A short list of entrées offers diversity, and dishes such as the pork ribs with Calabrian chile and chimichurri offer big flavors and flair. Sides and nibbles include an eclectic mix of wild olives, onion dip with housemade potato chips, charcuterie and truffle Parmesan fries. Sommelier Morgan Gray, formerly of Grand Award-winning Restaurant Gary Danko, is building the resort’s wine list in anticipation of the TRUSS upscale dining room to come.—T.F.
2999 Solano Ave., Napa
Telephone (707) 699-2135
Open Wednesday through Monday noon to 8 p.m.
Cost Varies per bottle; $10 corkage per bottle purchased
It’s all about the wine at Bay Grape Napa, a wine-geek heaven located northwest of downtown Napa in an unassuming shopping mall. A second location for the popular Oakland wineshop known for its eclectic and esoteric vibe, the Napa outpost spotlights a different local winery each month, with special wines by the glass and flights offered in a pop-up tasting room format. It’s a great way to try otherwise unavailable wines from very small wineries that typically lack formal tasting rooms.
Bay Grape also offers a wide selection of unique international and domestic wines, including grower Champagne and little-seen styles such as Retsina (a wine made by adding natural resin during fermentation). Charcuterie items are always available for noshing, but local chefs often stop by for pop-up food events, making this trendy wineshop a choice hangout spot, especially thanks to the minimal corkage fee for guests to buy and enjoy bottles on-site.—A.L.
1227 1st St., Napa
Telephone (707) 963-8774
Open Thursday through Monday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost Flights $30–$45; BTG $12–$25; bottle service $60–$125
Brendel brings a hip feel to the downtown Napa wine scene, offering a modern-style tasting experience more commonly found in urban wine bars in San Francisco. You’ll immediately feel like a trendsetter while sipping the clean, crisp and approachable wines on offer at the stylish neon-lit bar.
In a new brand within the Lawrence Wine Estates portfolio, multiple winemakers from established brands such as Heitz and Burgess craft wines beyond the expected Napa grapes, including varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Trousseau and Malvasia Bianca in the brand’s blends. The tasting flights here embody a similar philosophy, where guests can mix and match to their taste. Service is unhurried and relaxed and, best of all, the tasting room is open until 7 p.m., making it an ideal stop for a pre-dinner tasting or a glass to wind down your day.—A.L.
1300 Main St., Suite 100, Napa
Telephone (707) 699-1864
Open Dinner Wednesday to Monday 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Japanese food was rare in Napa until Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto opened a restaurant here in 2010. Now there’s a second Iron Chef just down the street: Master chef Hal Yamashita (of Iron Chef All Stars, Japan), who opened his own namesake restaurant in late 2019.
Yamashita calls his approach to food Shin Washoku (“new traditional”), with an emphasis on ingredients and umami. Edamame is grilled and topped with truffle salt. Grilled black cod, one of the signature dishes, is marinated in miso and topped with Parmesan cheese and bottarga powder.
A seven-course menu ($98) might include grilled steak, a variety of nigiri tuna and a carpaccio of fish. The à la carte choices are precise, with a handful of rolls, donburi, nigiri and some grilled options. The wine list is also compact: 20 options, 10 available by the glass. The sake list is more robust, with dozens of selections of small-production sakes and flights available.—MaryAnn Worobiec
Oxbow Public Market, 610 1st St., Napa
Open Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner
The latest tenant in the popular Oxbow Public Market is Loveski, a self-described “Jew-ish” deli from Meadowood chef Christopher Kostow and his wife, Martina. Typical deli items mingle with elements of Martina’s Thai upbringing. The “Loveski Reuben” puts together hot corned beef and Swiss cheese, with kimchee and a gochujang dressing, for a delicious result. The matzoh ball soup, with rich chicken broth and tender matzoh, can come with traditional fresh dill or you can get it “Den’s Way,” with lemongrass, Thai herbs and chiles.
Not all of the food is fusion. Handmade sourdough bagels, housemade pickles, potato latkes and rugelach are traditional and tasty. There are also some fun surprises, such as loaded crinkle fries topped with crispy pastrami, cheese sauce and jalapeños. Pastrami also appears on the breakfast menu in a bagel sandwich, with scrambled eggs, American cheese and mustard. A kids pizza bagel makes the experience extra family friendly. There’s a small selection of beverages to wash it all down, including a red and a white wine made by local vintner Matthiasson ($10 a glass).—M.W.
Napa Barrel Project
1040 Clinton St., Napa
Telephone (707) 819-2100
Open Tuesday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday and Monday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A brewery may seem like an uncommon stop for wine lovers visiting Napa, but Napa Barrel Project is a great place to kick back with a pint after a day of tasting the valley's finest wine offerings. An offshoot of Sacramento’s Big Stump Brew Co., Napa Barrel Project puts a wine country spin on its barrel-aged Belgian-style beer, sourcing barrels from local wine producers including Saintsbury and Gamling & McDuck. Like a fine wine, these beers are multilayered, grape varietal specific in terms of barrel selection and truly unique.
The vibe evokes a modern brewpub, with an open and airy indoor space, simple picnic tables and numerous TVs tuned toward live sports. Besides the not-to-be-missed beer, artisanal pizza is the main attraction, with a dough recipe crafted by chef Julian Lopez of Mendocino’s Café Beaujolais. A respectable rotating wine list consistently includes noteworthy wineries, such as Wrath, Failla and Lichen.—A.L.
New Frontier Wine Co.
1040 Main St., #101, Napa
Telephone (707) 690-9923
Open Daily noon to 7 p.m.
New Frontier Wine Company’s new tasting room brings together all of vintner and entrepreneur Alejandro Bulgheroni’s brands, spanning California, Argentina, France and beyond, including 37 different wines from winemakers such as Philippe Melka, Michel Rolland, Alberto Antonini and more.
Managing director James Silver says they aim for comfort and accessibility, with a social, clublike vibe. The Main Street tasting lounge is a cozy setting, with warm earth-toned furniture, house plants, books and other furnishings that lend to the at-home feel. Tastings are tailored to a choice of California wines, international offerings or a vertical of Lithology—New Frontier’s high-end Napa Cabernet label. Wines by the glass are also available.—A.R.
3 Executive Way, Napa
Telephone (707) 259-9446
Open Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday through Monday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Some might recognize that RD Winery is in the former Hakusan Sake Gardens (and that a former home for Napa Smith Brewery). The large space, just south of downtown Napa in an unassuming corporate park, has been converted to house a collective of more than a dozen wine, cider and beer makers.
RD was founded by Vietnamese businessman Dong Van Nguyen (known for creating the Sea Links City beach resort in Vietnam), who began by exclusively exporting the wines to his homeland. Production grew, and now the wines are available domestically, with the tasting room opening its doors in 2020. Under the direction of CEO Mailynh Phan, the property is incredibly relaxed and friendly. Colorful paintings by Vietnamese artists adorn the walls inside, and there’s an outdoor space to relax with a glass of wine. Snacks are available, including Bao bun pulled pork sliders and veggie spring rolls, as well as a clever food-and-wine pairing menu for $25 per dish, which features a green curry–dusted popcorn that's matched with Grüner Veltliner.—M.W.
967 1st St., Napa
Telephone (707) 690-9957
Open Lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday
A tiki bar in downtown Napa is a welcome change of pace—a vacation spot within a vacation town. Wilfred’s, which opened last year, has a strong connection to wine. Owner Nat Komes, general manager of Flora Springs Winery, got the name Wilfred from a Hawaiian relative who used to own a bar in Honolulu. The decor is fun and tiki-chic, with floral patterns, colorful murals, tiki carvings and bamboo accents. There’s ample outdoor seating and enough pirate paraphernalia to remind one of a ride at Disneyland. The food is straightforward island fare, with Spam sliders, poke, a tender Kalua pork entrée, chicken katsu and pineapple fried rice—it’s the sort of place where macaroni salad is offered as a side (and it’s a tasty selection).
Of course, most people are drawn to the exotic cocktails and vibrant nightlife. The drinks (including nonalcoholic options) are flavorful and served in playful glassware. For example, the Waikiki Wipeout (rum, guava, orange, lime, chile and passionfruit) comes in large bowl to be shared among multiple people. Several other drinks offer the option of being served in a collectible tiki mug.—M.W.