Top 7 Rutherford Wineries to Visit

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Top 7 Rutherford Wineries to Visit

By Dena Roche April 15, 2023

Nestled between Oakville and St. Helena in Napa Valley, California, the Rutherford AVA produces some of Napa’s finest wines. For Cabernet lovers, this is where to come to taste the rich, opulent, structured cab Napa is famous for. Not surprising, Rutherford wineries also produce delicious Bordeaux blends to further intoxicate red wine fans.

We know that terroir drives uniqueness in wine, and Rutherford’s special flavor profile is the result of its distinct deep gravel and sandy soils, coupled with the area’s microclimate, which create a longer growing season and hang time. The wine’s tannins are rounded out with a soft, dusty style, imparting such a distinct signature that it’s known as “Rutherford Dust.” For many fans of Rutherford wines, it’s an utterly addicting element that keeps them coming back vintage after vintage.

To taste the best of Napa Valley’s Rutherford wineries, follow our guide to the top tasting rooms to visit.

Sullivan Estate Grounds
Photo Courtesy of Sullivan Estate

Known for world-class Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons, Sullivan Rutherford mixes traditional-style wines with the mastery of today’s finest winemaking techniques. With private tastings available seven days a week by appointment, you’ll revel in this elegant yet comfortable atmosphere of the tasting room, which overlooks the winery’s stunning estate vineyards and gardens.

Insider Tip: Book the Founder’s Tasting, a privately hosted tour followed by a seated wine tasting with light bites. A knowledgeable Wine Educator will guide you through a selection of the Estate Collection and the J.O. Sullivan Founder’s Reserve Collection. It’s truly a special experience.

1090 Galleron Road, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-9646

Beaulieu Vineyards located in Rutherford, CA
Photo Courtesy of Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) located in Rutherford, CA

Since 1900 when Georges des Latour founded Beaulieu with the goal to create wine that rivaled those found in his native France, “BV” has been a pioneer in Napa Valley. For many years its winemaker was the legendary “Maestro” André Tchelistcheff. His Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was the first cult Cab in Napa and is still considered one of the best today.

Insider Tip: For the ultimate tasting, schedule the 120-minute Georges de Latour Library Experience where you’ll have the chance to try the legendary wine BV is known for.

1960 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA 94573, (707) 257-5749

Inglenook Winery
Photo Courtesy of Inglenook Winery

Started in 1881, Inglenook has ushered in a series of firsts in Napa Valley, including the first Merlot vines planted, one of the first gravity flow wineries, and the first bottling assembly line. Since buying the winery in 1975, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola has been the Godfather at Inglenook. The winery is known for its Rubicon estate Bordeaux-style red wine, which has been made since 1978.

Insider Tip: To learn more about the legacy and wines of Inglenook opt for the Private Library Tour and Tasting, a sommelier-led library tasting in the historic Inglenook Chateau.

1991 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA 84573, (707) 968-1161

Grgich Hills Winery
Photo Courtesy of Courtesy of Grgich Hills Estate / Ken Morris

Napa Valley wines gained international acclaim at the 1976 Paris Tasting when the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay bested all the storied white Burgundies to be named best white wine in the world. Mike Grgich was the winemaker that crafted that famous wine. After the shocking victory, he and his sister founded Grgich Hills Estate. Not surprisingly, it’s Chardonnay that reigns supreme here, each bottling made from their certified organic vineyards.

Insider Tip: Book the Wine and Food Tour and enjoy a tasting of delights prepared by the estate’s Culinary Advisor paired with wines in the private Salon. You’ll get a tour of the Ranch House with stops at the Rutherford vineyard and winery cellar.

1829 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA 94573, (707) 963-2784

Photo Courtesy of PEJU / Katie Gallogly

Family owned, and led by visionary Tony Peju, the Father of Custom Crush, Peju Winery is known for its classic Bordeaux varietals shining on their own, like the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, or blended into intoxicating bottles like the 2016 Sketches, a blend of Cabernet and Merlot. Book a Classic Seated Tasting to experience five of Peju’s most popular Napa Valley wines. You can also request a cheese plate and on the weekends a Chef’s Sampler is available. You’re likely to see the matriarch of the family, Herta Peju, digging in the dirt to ensure the roses and dahlias are creating a bouquet as intoxicating as that of their wines.

Insider Tip: Visit the charming, 50-foot tower on property that graces all estate-bottled Peju labels. It also happens to be one of the tallest buildings in Napa Valley.

8466 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA 94573, (707) 963-3600

Napa Cellars
The perfect wine and food pairing experience awaits. Photo Courtesy of Napa Cellars

If your palate is getting a little tired of Napa Cabs, head to Napa Cellars to taste a wide variety of varietals from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. The Reserve tasting will highlight the best small-lot wines crafted by winemaker Joe Shirley, while the Winemaker tasting features some of his favorite lesser-known red varietals.

Insider Tip: Enjoy your tasting in the unique geodesic domed tasting room commissioned by Napa Cellar’s founder Charlie Woods.

7481 St. Helena Highway South, Oakville, CA 94562, (707) 944-2565

Groth Winery
Photo Courtesy of Groth Vineyards and Winery

Pac-Man would gladly gobble up the award-winning wine at Groth Vineyards & Winery. The family-owned vineyard was founded by the former CFO of Atari, and first jumped on the international wine scene when its 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon became the first American wine given 100-points by Robert Parker. In 2019, the 2016 Reserve Cab was named the fourth best wine in Wine Spectator’s prestigious Top 100 list.

Insider Tip: Taste Groth’s Cabernet Sauvignon legacy with the Oakville Roots: The Many Expressions of Oakville Cabernet, a 60-minute experience that showcases how small variances in soil, climate, and topography can affect the character of a wine.

750 Oakville Cross Road, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 754-4254