One could visit Napa Valley and never leave the town of St. Helena. Known for world-class wineries, an exciting culinary scene, independent shops and galleries, and gorgeous vistas, St. Helena is at once modern and charming, offering a small-town vibe with big city hospitality and amenities.
In addition to its rich history and reputation as “Napa Valley’s Main Street,” St. Helena is home to some of California’s best wineries. From boutique, small-production facilities to state-of-the-art, iconic properties, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite must-visit spots when wine tasting in St. Helena.
As the first winery built in Napa Valley after the repeal of Prohibition, Merryvale Vineyards produces exceptional wines from Bordeaux varieties uniquely expressed through classic Napa Valley terroir. Wine experiences abound at Merryvale, from the ultra-premium Profile Estate Picnic that kicks off 800 feet above the valley floor, to the Burger Butler Experience, which includes a tasting of five wines followed by the hand-delivery of your pre-ordered burger from the beloved Gott’s Roadside, to the classic blending lab that can accommodate groups from 12 to over 100 for the ultimate hands-on winery activity.1000 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574, (877) 887-7763
Sustainability is at the core of Conn Creek’s identity. Founded in 1973, this Napa Green-certified winery specializing in Bordeaux-varietal-based red wines was the first “green,” energy-efficient winery building in Napa Valley. Today, the Mediterranean-style winery offers classic and interactive wine experiences, including the “Barrel Blending Experience®,” in which guests become winemaker for a day. After tasting through barrel samples of cabernet sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals from select Napa Valley sub-appellations, they create a custom wine blend of their own to take home.8711 Silverado Trail, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-9100
A visit to St. Helena wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the iconic Charles Krug Winery, home to California’s first tasting room. But don’t let the winery’s long history fool you. Today, Charles Krug Winery is a beautifully designed, world-class center for hospitality and wine tourism. Every detail, from carefully crafted tasting experiences to the feel and functionality of the property, are timeless yet modern, setting the standard for Wine Country travel today. Guests will fall in love with the winery’s endless stories at every turn, not to mention the rich portfolio of wines that express all that Napa Valley’s diverse terroir has to offer.2800 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 967-2229
HALL Napa Valley produces cabernet sauvignon with fruit from nine estate vineyards, of which five are California Certified Organic Farming (CCOF). Both tasting room locations (St. Helena and Rutherford) boast a collection of modern art with pieces from some of the world’s most renowned contemporary artists. At their St. Helena tasting room, enjoy carefully curated experiences like the signature HALLmark Tour and Tasting, which takes guests on a stroll around the grounds, and concludes with a tasting in one the winery’s private salons, or the Ultimate Cabernet Experience, in which the winery’s most experienced wine educators guide guests through the terroir and techniques that go into crafting HALL’s rare and highly allocated cabernet sauvignons.401 St. Helena Highway South, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 987-2626
With a family history that goes back to the late 1940s, this flagship Napa Valley winery offers small-lot, estate-grown wines at a state-of-the-art, yet warmly inviting property that features an intimate tasting room, bocce court, wine caves, and a gourmet culinary center. Wine experiences place an emphasis on education, showcasing the exciting nuances that terroir can impart on a wine’s flavor. Explore wines from Trinchero’s mountain vineyards in the Mountain Flight, and compare and contrast them with the wines from the valley floor in your next visit. Or, indulge in the Signature Experience where you will sip through a vertical tasting of Trinchero’s Signature Cabernet Sauvignon with a selection of cheeses while you cozy up around the outdoor firepit.3070 North St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-1160
Originally the dowry of Caroline Bale for her marriage to Charles Krug in the mid-1800s, Fantesca is now owned by college sweethearts Susan and Duane Hoff, who have created a place for seasoned wine connoisseurs in search of luxury wine experiences. Guests are asked to answer a short questionnaire prior to booking an appointment for a private tasting. They are rewarded for taking this extra step with intimate, personalized tastings of Fantesca’s premium, small-production, award-winning wines in a stunning setting that includes a 300-foot Spring Mountain cave and sprawling vineyard views.2920 Spring Mountain Road, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 968-9229
While you could easily spend days wining (and dining!) your way through St. Helena and still not hit every great spot, do splurge on Louis M. Martini’s Underground Cellar Experience, which takes place in the 85-year-old barrel cellar and includes a tasting of small-lot and library wines with expertly curated pairings from Chef Aaron Meneghelli. Head over to William Cole Vineyards and kill two birds with one stone: the historic winery not only hosts tastings of William Cole’s flagship Cuvée Claire Cabernet Sauvignon, but also of sister property Predecessor Estate’s ultra-small-lot, single-varietal wines from Howell Mountain.
Spend an afternoon at the 42-acre Ehlers Estate, exploring the winery’s rich history that dates back to the late 1800s and learn about the Leducq Foundation, dedicated to research in cardiovascular disease and stroke, which was established by the winery’s second owners, Jean and Sylviane Leducq.
Lastly, be sure to check out Faust Haus, the dramatic former farmhouse and Prohibition Era cellar, where you will enjoy age-worthy and terroir-driven wines in a gothic fairy tale setting.