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Oakville is located in the middle of the Napa Valley and is home to some of the most famous wineries and best Cabernet Sauvignon in the region. Weíll skip a few of the names you probably already knowóRobert Mondavi, Opus Oneóand focus on the wineries you should know. Read on to become as knowledgeable about Oakville as a local.

Day 1

Art and Wine

turnbull-wine-cellars-750Image Source: Yelp
Turnbull Wine Cellars
8210 St Helena Highway
Oakville, CA 94562
(707) 963-5839
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 58 reviews
Reservations: Not required for the bar tasting, required for the private tasting
Directions: Drive 12 miles north from Napa on Highway 29, the winery will be directly on your right

This beautiful winery was built by modernist architect William Turnbull, and an architect’s eye is apparent in everything about the building, from the vaulted ceilings to the way it seems made for its space amongst the sequoia trees. Rich and concentrated, the wines are classic examples of Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. You can enjoy a private tasting in the living room or on the vineyard terrace, but we’d recommend not missing the casual bar tasting in the Gallery Tasting Room. This is because the space is also home to a rotating collection of historic black and white photography from some of the most respected photographers in the business, including Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. Insider tip: Just 1.5 miles north of Turnbull is La Luna, an authentic Mexican grocery store that sells the best burritos and quesadillas in the north end of Napa Valley.

Cult Experience

ghost-block-750Image Source: Yelp
Ghost Block
7830-40 Saint Helena Hwy
Oakville, CA 94558
(866) 422-4818
Reservations: Required
Directions: Turn left out of Turnbull onto Highway 29 heading south. Drive 0.5 miles and take a left onto Oakville Cross Road. The winery is part of a larger crush facility, so ask your reservationist where to park and meet your host.

The Pelissa family has been farming Cabernet Sauvignon in Oakville since 1903 and selling grapes to some of the best wineries in the Napa Valley. They started their own brand in 2006, and the results are stunning. Their Sauvignon Blanc is made in the French sur lie style (aging the wine with the dead yeast cells, or lees, after fermentation), giving the wine a full, creamy mouthfeel while retaining bracing acidity. The Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet and 100% Oakville: steel beams of structure overlaid with plush black fruit and smooth tannins. Private tastings with family members are available by appointment. Insider tip: The always-delicious Oakville Grocery is a stones throw from the winery, so be sure to hit it up for a breakfast sandwich or tasty lunch before or after your visit.

European Flair

far-niente-750Image Source: Yelp
Far Niente
1350 Acacia Dr
Oakville, CA 94562
(707) 944-2861
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 100 reviews
Reservations: Required
Directions: Head back out to Highway 29 on Oakville Crossroad. Take a left onto Highway 29 heading south, drive 0.2 miles and take a right onto Oakville Grade. Drive 1 mile and turn left onto Acacia Drive. Follow this road until you reach the winery.

If you want to visit Switzerland while youíre in Napa Valley, youíre in luck. Far Niente’s gorgeous European-inspired chalet on the western hillside will transport you, and then their velvety wines will bring you right back to Napa Valley. They make a classic Napa Valley Chardonnay with plenty of creamy oakiness, and the Cabernet Sauvignons are deep and well-structured. The thorough tour of the winery includes a stop at the vintage car barn and finishes with a delicious wine and food pairing. Insider tip: Be sure to taste the Dolce sweet botrytis wine paired with blue cheese. Itís as close to heaven as a wine pairing will get you.

Oakville Classic

cardinale-winery-750Image Source: TripAdvisor & Yelp
Cardinale Winery
7600 St Helena Hwy
Oakville, CA 94562
(800) 588-0279
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 15 reviews
Reservations: Required
Directions: Take Acacia Drive back out to Oakville Grade, turn right onto Oakville Grade and follow it out to Highway 29. Turn right onto Highway 29, and drive south for less than a mile. Take a left at the Cardinale sign.

Cardinale makes just one wine per vintage, a Cabernet Sauvignon blend from the best mountain vineyard properties around Napa Valley, including Mt. Veeder, Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain, and Diamond Mountain. The wine is rich, luscious and powerful, a true modern Napa Valley Cabernet. The winery is situated on top of one of the many hills that dot the center of Napa Valley, giving uninterrupted views of both ends of the valley, and the tasting experience is as private and elegant as you would expect. Insider tip: Make your reservation a few weeks in advance, and a few months in advance during the busy season (May – October), as appointments are limited and popular.

An American Classic

silver-oak-cellars-750Image Source: Yelp
Silver Oak Cellars
915 Oakville Cross Rd
Oakville, CA 94562
(707) 942-7022
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 205 reviews
Reservations: Recommended
Directions: The Oakville Cross Road bridge is closed for repairs starting in September 2015, so you’ll need to take a slightly longer route. Turn left onto Highway 29, drive south for 3 miles and take a left onto the Yountville Cross Road. Follow this to the Silverado Trail, where you’ll take a left, drive 2.4 miles, and then take a left onto Oakville Cross Road. Drive 1.8 miles and the winery is on your left.

Silver Oak is renowned for their Cabernet Sauvignon’s unique flavor profile, which is gained from their signature move—aging the wines in American oak barrels. This gives the wines vanilla and coconut flavors, as well as a soft roundness. The winery’s classic wine country architecture simultaneously makes you feel relaxed and refined, and they have several wine tasting experiences on offer, from a casual current vintage tasting to a private tour of the estate. Insider tip: Be sure to snap a picture with the famous white water tower outside the winery, whose image iconically graces the Silver Oak wine label.

Day 2

Major Fun at Miner

miner-family-wines-750Image Source: Yelp
Miner Family Winery
7850 Silverado Trail
Oakville, CA 94562
(800) 366-9463
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 71 reviews
Reservation: Not required for the bar tasting, required for tours and classes
Directions: Head north from Napa on the Silverado Trail for 11 miles, the winery will be on your right.

Right off the Silverado Trail with a spectacular view across the Napa Valley, Miner Family Wines is a great place to casually stop in (no appointments required at the bar). They specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon blends, but make other interesting wines too, including Sangiovese, Tempranillo, and Rhône Valley blends. Tasting experiences include the causal bar tasting, a cave tour and a sommelier-led tour and tasting, take your pick. Insider tip: Book the Oracle Blending Seminar, where you’ll try your hand at blending the five traditional Bordeaux varietals into your own unique blend, and then taste it against the Miner Family Oracle red wine blend.

Rock & Roll Cabernet

gargiulo-vineyards-750Image Source: Yelp
Gargiulo Vineyards
575 Oakville Cross Rd
Oakville, CA 94558
(707) 944-2770
Reservations: Required
Directions: Turn left onto Silverado Trail, drive south for 2 miles and take a right onto Oakville Cross Road. In 0.2 miles the winery is on your left.

The Gargiulo family comes from a farming background and has been farming in Oakville since the 1980s, so they know a thing or two about growing Cabernet Sauvignon. Their inky, dense Oakville wines will give you a whole new appreciation for the intensity of Cabernet Sauvignon. Private tours and tastings are available at the winery by appointment, where you’ll tour the vineyards and then be guided through a tasting of the wines in their beautiful tasting room made of reclaimed materials. Insider tip: Be sure to check out Jeff Gargiulo’s prized guitar collection, and he may even let you play one!

Fun with Shakespeare

plumpjack-winery-750Image Source: Yelp & PlumpJack Winery
PlumpJack Winery
620 Oakville Cross Rd
Oakville, CA 94562
(707) 945-1220
TripAdvisor: 3.5 stars, 42 reviews
Reservation: Not required for groups of less than 7
Directions: Turn left back onto Oakville Cross Road, drive a few hundred feet and turn into the winery on your right.

Named for the lovable rascal in Shakespeare, this playful winery specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Interestingly, most of the wines, even the Reserve wines, are bottled with screw caps, as a continuation of the winery’s commitment to approachability and sustainability. The tasting room is fun and laid back, with a refreshingly irreverent atmosphere; you’ll probably end up laughing over glasses of Cabernet with new friends before your visit is over. Insider tip: This winery is very dog friendly, so bring the pooch and relax on the patio!

Family-Focused Farming

groth-750Image Source: Groth & Yelp
Groth Vineyards & Winery
750 Oakville Cross Rd
Oakville, CA 94562
(707) 754-4254
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 18 reviews
Reservations: Required (closed Sundays)
Directions: Turn right onto Oakville Cross Road, drive 0.5 miles and the winery is on your right.

The Groth family purchased vineyard land in Oakville in 1981, and was soon farming full-time to produce the lush, fruit-filled wines they make today. They specialize in Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but their Sauvignon Blanc is also worth checking out (and quite a bargain at $20). Tastings and tours are offered on certain days at certain times, so check their website. The brightly painted adobe-style winery is hard to miss as you drive down Oakville Cross Road. Insider tip: The special Rooted in Oakville Tour includes an in-depth tour of the winery and vineyards, followed by a tasting of current vintages, barrel samples, and library wines. Certainly the best way to get to know Groth!

An Oakville Surprise

brick-&-mortar-750Image Source: brick & mortar and Back Room Wines
brick & mortar
Oakville, CA 94562
Reservations: Required (closed Saturday through Monday)
Directions: The winery will provide address and directions when you book your appointment

We’ll throw a curveball at you with brick & mortar: Not only is it one of the newest wineries in Oakville—founded in 2011—but it specializes in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The fruit is sourced from Napa Valley Atlas Peak (from Italian legend Antinori vineyard, in fact) and Spring Mountain, as well as Sonoma Russian River Valley, and made into bold, beautiful wines. They are open for private tastings by appointment at their winery, which includes a tour of the vineyards and cellar. Insider tip: Ask for a taste of the Rose of Pinot Noir, then buy a few bottles to take home; it’s a delightfully refreshing, pear and strawberry-filled wine, and a bargain at $22.

It’s hard to go wrong in the heart of Napa Valley, but these ten Oakville wineries will give you a great start in one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon regions in the world.

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