2-Day Wine Tasting Itinerary in St. Helena

  • 12189
  • 0

2-Day Wine Tasting Itinerary in St. Helena

By Devin Parr October 30, 2023

Known as “Napa Valley’s Main Street,” many consider St. Helena to be the heart of the region. It has a rich history of California winemaking dating back to the 1800s and boasts Napa Valley’s first commercial winery, Charles Krug, not to mention dozens of charming shops, restaurants, and hotels.

Most importantly, St. Helena is home to many iconic and boutique wineries that will make any trip to Napa Valley complete. To help you navigate all that this region has to offer, we have created a two-day wine tasting itinerary that will take you through eight great wineries in St. Helena.

Day One

Heitz Cellar
Photo Courtesy of Heitz Cellar

The Salon – 436 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, CA 94574
The Estate – 500 Taplin Road, St. Helena CA 94574, (707) 963-2047

Reservations: Required

Kick off your trip to St. Helena with a visit to Heitz Cellar, where history and luxury come together. The 19th century winery’s legacy runs deep, as it is home to sprawling vineyards that produced the very first vineyard-designated Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa. Visit their Salon, right in the heart of St. Helena, for the Cabernet-focused Heritage Experience, or venture to the Estate, founded in the late 1800s, to further delve into the rich history of the property. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

Insider Tip: If you’re keen on touring the 19th century estate, book either the Spring Valley Experience or The Vineyard to Bottle Experience. These both include tours through the historic estate, as well as the historic Stone Cellar.

Louis M. Martini Winery
Martini Park, Photo Courtesy of Louis M. Martini Winery

254 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 968-3362

Reservations: Required

This iconic property recently completed restoration of their historic winery, originally built in 1933 and among the first to open after the repeal of Prohibition. Famous for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Louis M. Martini Winery no doubt played a significant role in putting Napa Cabernet on the map. The winery offers tastings in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. Choose from a flight of seasonal wines that change every three months, in-depth library tastings, or selections of Louis M. Martini’s most popular wines, paired with local delicacies.

Insider Tip: For true indulgence, reserve a spot at the Underground Cellar Experience, which—as you might have guessed—takes place in the winery’s historic underground cellar and features small-lot wine releases served with curated pairings from Chef Aaron Meneghelli.

Clif Family Winery
Photo Courtesy of Clif Family Winery

Refugio Tasting Room – 709 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574
Enoteca Tasting Room – 1334 Vidovich Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 968-0625

Reservations: Not required at the Rifugio Tasting Room, required at the Enoteca Tasting Room

If the name sounds familiar, we wouldn’t be surprised. The very family who started Clif Bar used that same ingenuity and love of food to found Clif Family Winery. Clif Family Winery has two different tasting rooms, one that welcomes walk-ins and one that is reserved for private tasting experiences. The Refugio Tasting Room has a laid-back atmosphere and focuses on wine and food pairings, like the King of the Mountain Tasting, which pairs four bites with four Howell Mountain Wines. The Enoteca Tasting Room is reserved for private tastings, like the Estate Tasting Experience, which highlights the winery’s small-production wines.

Insider Tip: Check out the Clif Family Bruschetteria Food Truck. The truck is typically parked in the heart of St. Helena, just outside their Refugio Tasting Room. The fun menu includes various bruschettas like the Funghi or B.L.T, along with delectable appetizers like polenta tots, always using fresh, CCOF-certified organic and seasonal produce from the Clif Family Farms.

Merryvale Vineyards
Photo Courtesy of Merryvale Vineyards

1000 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-7777

Reservations: Required for some experiences

Family-owned and operated, Merryvale Vineyards’ historic building was the first winery built in Napa Valley following the repeal of Prohibition. This rich history shows in the winery’s stunning gardens, barrel rooms, and vineyards. Its proprietors, the Schlatter family, and winemaker Andrew Wright, focus on Bordeaux varieties, employing thoughtful farming and winery practices to ensure the wines are world-class and reflective of Napa Valley terroir. To that end, Merryvale Vineyards is Napa Green Land and Napa Green Winery certified.

Insider Tip: Want a little cheese with that wine? Book the Artisanal Wine & Cheese Tasting for a semi-private, guided tasting experience that pairs Merryvale wines with locally sourced cheeses.

Day Two

Fantesca Estate & Winery
Photo Courtesy of Fantesca Estate & Winery

2920 Spring Mountain Road, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 968-9229

Reservations: Required

This property was originally the dowry of Caroline Bale for her marriage to Charles Krug in the mid-1800s. Current owners Susan and Duane Hoff wanted to recognize this rich heritage when they purchased it, naming it after a clever and strong-willed lead female character from the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, which was the inspiration for Cirque du Soleil. The winery is now known for small-production, award-winning wines produced by winemaker Heidi Barrett in a stunning setting that includes a 300-foot Spring Mountain cave, sprawling vineyard views, and luxurious wine experiences. Trust us, it’s beautiful.

Insider Tip: Got a favorite quote (yours or someone else’s)? Submit it to be considered as a “Fortune Corkie” and printed on one of Fantesca’s wine corks.

Photo Courtesy of Beringer

2000 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 257-5771

Reservations: Not required but recommended

Jacob Beringer and his brother Frederick came to Napa from Mainz, Germany, ultimately purchasing 215 acres in 1875, which would become home to what is now California’s oldest continuously operated winery. Beringer would build on this tradition of industry “firsts,” becoming the first to give public tours in 1934, and the first and only winery to have both a red and a white wine named #1 Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator. Be sure to visit the iconic Rhine House mansion for its stunning stained-glass windows and architecture while sipping reserve and single-vineyard wines.

Insider Tip: For $30, take the Legacy Cave Tour, where you will sip a selection of wines as your guide leads you through the Old Winery and historic tunnels while sharing details of Beringer’s rich history and commitment to quality.

Markham Vineyards
Photo Courtesy of Markham Vineyards

2182 St. Helena Highway N, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-5292

Reservations: Required

This longstanding winery got its start with the dawn of winemaking in Napa Valley. The original builder of Markham’s iconic Stone Cellar came to Napa from Bordeaux, initially arriving with other Gold Rush pioneers. Instead of gold the winemaker discovered Napa’s rich soil, perfect for growing wine grapes, and utilized his skills in viticulture to become one of the largest producers prior to Prohibition. After recently undergoing a makeover, Markham’s tasting room is an even more beautiful space to sample the winery’s renowned Merlots. We particularly love the Best of Napa Valley Merlot Tasting, which includes samplings of small lot and limited-production Merlots, showcasing how these wines can differ vastly depending on climate, soil, and elevation.

Insider Tip: If you happen to be in town for one of Markham Vineyards’ events, be sure to snag tickets! All of the winery’s events take place in the historic Stone Cellar, featuring floor-to-ceiling wine barrels and a beautiful stone interior. Events include everything from dinners with renowned chefs to craft classes like wreath making.

Trinchero Napa Valley
Photo Courtesy of Trinchero Napa Valley

3070 N St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-1160

Reservations: Required for all tastings

Trinchero Winery has been family-owned and operated since 1948. They offer several tasting and experience options in their modern and airy tasting room with bright white furniture and large windows. We’d suggest reserving a spot on the Winemaker’s Selection Tasting to try a selection of current release wines, and a dessert wine, paired with Executive Chef James Houghton’s personal cheese selections.

Insider Tip: If you’re interested in learning how soil, climate, elevation, and sun exposure can influence what’s in your glass, sign up for the Taste of Terroir experience, which features a horizontal tasting of four single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon wines from St. Helena, Atlas Peak, and Mt. Veeder appellations.