Best Napa Valley Wine & Cheese Tasting Experiences (Up Valley North)
A Napa Travel Guide Including Wineries in St. Helena and Calistoga
There are close to a thousand Napa Valley wine tasting rooms and/or wineries to visit in the “other valley,” but far fewer offer food pairings or wine and cheese tasting. For those who love cheese as much as we do at Jordan, we’ve compiled a two-part list of the best Napa wineries to visit for wine and cheese pairing. One of the biggest mistakes first-time visitors to wine country make is booking back-to-back appointments at wineries that are too far apart, and they end up spending too much vacation time driving or sitting in traffic. To help maximize your Napa wine tasting time, the Top Wineries for Wine & Cheese Tasting in Napa Valley is broken into north (up valley) and south (lower Napa Valley). The below Napa travel guide, updated each summer, features eight vintners serving cheese plates as part of their tasting experiences in northern Napa Valley towns of St. Helena and Calistoga. All wine and cheese tastings are offered by appointment unless otherwise noted, so be sure to book in advance. If any of your favorites aren’t on this list, please leave a comment. If you’re looking for wine tasting in Napa, Yountville, Oakville or south Rutherford, view the Top Wineries for Wine & Cheese Tasting in Southern Napa Valley.
Top North Napa Valley Wine & Cheese Tasting Map Travel Guide
Best Napa Wineries with Wine & Cheese Tasting in North Napa Valley
A relaxing setting for wine and cheese tasting at Beringer’s Rhine House.
Soak up the historic architecture and gorgeous lawns of Beringer’s Rhine House, built in 1884 and renovated in 2016, with the Reserve Pairing on the Porch. A new experience as of spring 2017, this tasting features Beringer’s flagship Private Reserve Chardonnay, Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Nightingale dessert wines with two cheeses and a sweet treat, all served at your private table surrounded by towering spruce, dogwood and magnolia trees. Advance reservations recommended, but walk-ins are accepted. $50
Daryl “Dario” Sattui’s Tuscan castle winery and tasting room is a sight to be seen, a tour to be taken. Towers, turrets, a dungeon, chapel, great hall and more await awestruck visitors. Those focused on the wines–a mix of Italian and Bordeaux varietals—might enjoy the guided tour of the castello, followed by a seated tasting in the Il Passito Room of six Napa wines, paired with artisan cheeses. $75
Cool off on a hot afternoon in Napa Valley with Clos Pegase’s Connoisseur Cave Tour & Tasting. The experience begins with a short, guided walk around the estate’s artistic alcoves, sculptures and art collection. Guests then disappear into the candle-lit caves and the romantically dim Cave Theatre, where a selection of cheeses, charcuterie and chocolates are paired with current-release and library chardonnays, pinot noirs and cabernets, among other wines. $60
Visit the Anthology Salon for a private, seated tasting of appellation-specific cabernet sauvignons from famed Napa wine regions, such as Atlas Peak, Stags Leap District, St. Helena and Rutherford. Then taste Anthology, the flagship red wine of the winery, a blend of grapes grown throughout Napa Valley. A cheese plate accompanies the tasting. $45
The sister winery of Schramsberg, Davies Vineyards honors the namesake founders of California’s prestige sparkling wine house, Jack and Jamie Davies. A son, Hugh, carries on their legacy at this two-story stone building, hosting guests for intimate tasting experiences, including Basics of Pairings with Cheese, where participants discover guidelines for matching wine with cheese. Davies pinot noirs and cabernet sauvignons, and Schramsberg’s top sparklers, are poured with specific cheeses and accoutrements, to demonstrate how textures, flavor interactions, fat, acidity and tannins come into play when cheese meets wine in the mouth. $95
The winery’s Estate Tasting and Private Tasting each includes a cheese pairing. In the former, a dedicated host guides guests through a sampling of small-production estate and vineyard-designated wines from the Duckhorn Wine Company portfolio. The Private Tasting offers the same, as well as the opportunity to select specific wine varietals (at time of reservation), which will be matched to specific artisan cheeses. Tastings are hosted in Marlee’s Garden or in a private room at the farmhouse-style winery in northern Napa Valley. $70-$85
The Ultimate Cabernet Experience, conducted in the restored 1885 Bergfeld building, is a seated tasting of the producer’s highest-rated and longest-aging cabernet sauvignons and blends, surrounded by rows of barrels. Five wines, including a barrel sample, are served with a cheese plate. $150.
On Sundays, Phelps—of blended red wine Insignia fame—conducts two guided Wine & Cheese Pairings sessions, matching regional cheeses and house-made bites from chefs Brian Sutton and Ryan Seal, with the producer’s white and red wines. Evaluate their selections, and make matches of your own, in this semi-private tasting. $125.
Ladera found its vineyard and winery home on Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain, though the tasting room is now more easily accessible, in northern St. Helena, in the same complex as Brasswood Bar + Kitchen. Add a serves-two cheese board ($25) to any tasting of Ladera’s sauvignon blancs, chardonnays, cabernet sauvignons, malbecs and pinot noirs. $35-$60
Ted, Laddie and Chris Hall’s ranch is perched high above the Napa Valley, where they grow organic fruits and vegetables, raise horses and laying chickens, press fruit from their olive trees into oil, and produce wine. (On their 600-acre Tomales Station ranch, they raise Scottish Highland cattle.) Register for the two-hour Mayacamas Estate Experience, which departs from the family’s Farmstead restaurant in St. Helena to the Long Meadow Ranch, where guests are treated to a tour and tastings of the wines and Prato Lungo Extra Virgin Olive Oil, accompanied by house-cured charcuterie and cheeses. $75.
This venerable Napa wine producer in St. Helena offers the Good Life Flight, with seasonal delicacies–most certain to include intriguing local cheeses, matched to some of the winery’s most sought-after bottlings, among them the flagship Cellar 254 Lot 1 Cabernet Sauvignon. $150
Located just across Highway 29 from the famous Gott’s Roadside, Merryvale offers a seated, semi-private Artisanal Cheese and Wine tasting, which pairs the Schlatter family’s wines—predominantly sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon—with cheeses produced by local, family-owned creameries. $55
Plan ahead for this historic bubbly producer’s Tour & Tasting with Reserve Wines & Cheese Pairing. Tour the caves dug in the 1870s by Chinese laborers, learn how traditional sparkling wine is made, and enjoy five limited-production bubblies and still wines with cheese, served in an elegant, redwood tasting salon. $125
Somerston, located 10 miles east of the Silverado Trail with breathtaking views of Napa Valley, conducts a daily estate tasting during which the property’s three best wines (made from merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon grapes) are paired with three cheeses. The winery’s sister brand, Priest Ranch, offers a similar experience in Yountville. $75
The Taste of Terroir experience includes a tour of the Napa winery and a cheese plate, to be enjoyed alongside wines made from grapes grown in the St. Helena, Atlas Peak and Mt. Veeder regions. Compare and contrast the impact varying soils, climate and exposures have on the finished wines ($85). Or settle into the Legacy Lounge for the Time in a Bottle Tasting Experience ($75), also accompanied by cheeses and a selection of charcuterie. There, guests taste library, current-release and barrel samples of the same wines, and have the inside track on purchasing them.
Known for its well-stocked deli and intensely popular picnic grounds, this popular Napa winery also offers a seated tasting of cheese and charcuterie with its Blending Seminar. After a tour of the grounds, play winemaker and blend your own version of Paradiso, V. Sattui’s Bordeaux-style red wine. $75
Taste the winery’s Private Stock 16 Row Cabernet Sauvignons from various vintages, paired with some of the best regional cheeses selected by estate chef Tom Stafford. Vine Cliff’s vineyards are in the Oakville (cabernet sauvignon) and Los Carneros (chardonnay) AVAs; the tasting room is conveniently located on St. Helena Highway/129 in St. Helena, just south of Dean & DeLuca. $70