Chardonnay: Articles on the Chardonnay White Wine Grape Varietal

Franciscan

The Vibe: 

While wine libraries are not uncommon in Napa, the space allocated for the purpose at Franciscan stands out. Lots of warm wood, long tables, and floor to ceiling storage make for an impressive but not overwhelming atmosphere for those seeking to schedule a private event or tasting, or interested in attending one of the winery’s daily educational seminars. Founded more than three decades ago, the winery today is owned by the behemoth Constellation Brands; however, it retains its warm, historic vibe and doesn’t feel overly corporate.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Corporate events
  • Private tastings
  • Receptions
  • Picnics
  • Seminars (see web site)
  • Small to mid size groups (no appt necessary for groups <8)
  • Nice landscaping
Not good for: 
  • Tours
  • Shoppers
  • Napa history buffs
Known For: 
Cuvee Sauvage ( natural yeast Chardonnay), Magnificat (estate grown Bordeaux blend), Chardonnay
Pictures: 
Outside Franciscan Winery
The Tasting Counter
Library
Franciscan Fireplace
Shopping
Outside Patio

Locations

1178 Galleron Road Highway 29
Saint Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 28' 23.9232" N, 122° 25' 55.5744" W
1178 Galleron Road Highway 29
Saint Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 28' 23.9232" N, 122° 25' 55.5744" W
Phone Number: 
7079673830

Freemark Abbey Winery

The Vibe: 

This historic winery enjoys the distinction of having been founded by Napa’s first female winery operator, Josephine Tychson. Josephine and her ailing husband purchased land, planted grapes, and built the first winery on the site in the 1880s, under the name of Tychson Cellars. Today, after more than a century of ownership change, Prohibition, and expansion, her portrait still graces the tasting room wall. Now owned by Kendall Jackson, the sunny, spacious tasting room (complete with piano) offers a selection of several cabernets, along with viognier, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, zinfandel and syrah.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Napa history buffs
  • Private tastings/events
  • Busses and limos
  • Tours (by appt)
Not good for: 
  • Weddings
Known For: 
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay
Pictures: 
The Entrance to Freemark Abbey
The Tasting Counter
Inside the tasting room
Piano
The Fireplace at Freemark Abbey
Freemark Abbey Patio
Outside Freemark Abbey

Locations

3022 St. Helena Hwy. North
Saint Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 31' 28.4088" N, 122° 29' 49.9848" W
3022 St. Helena Hwy. North
Saint Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 31' 28.4088" N, 122° 29' 49.9848" W
Phone Number: 
7079639694

Charles Krug Winery

The Vibe: 

With the distinction of being the Napa valley’s first winery, (founded in 1861) and incorporating Native American techniques into their first vintages (see the apple press), Charles Krug allows visitors to enjoy a taste of the early days of the valley in the mini-museum located in the back room. Its historic cache was further embellished several decades ago, when Peter Mondavi came along and acquired the winery. Today, he and his sons are in the throes of replanting most of their 800+ Napa acres and restoring the historic Charles Krug buildings.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Napa history buffs
  • Shoppers
  • Picnics
Not good for: 
  • Tours
  • Weddings
  • Events
Known For: 
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay
Pictures: 
Charles Krug Tasting Counter
Charles Krug Cider Press
Charles Krug Museum
Charles Krug History Placard
Charles Krug Picnic Area
Shopping at Charles Krug
Shopping at Charles Krug

Locations

2800 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 31' 4.0836" N, 122° 29' 18.0132" W
2800 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 31' 4.0836" N, 122° 29' 18.0132" W
Phone Number: 
7079672200

ZD Wines

The Vibe: 

ZD is a popular place for wine tourists. Many groups stop here for tours and tastings. It is $10 for a tasting and $15 dollars to taste reserves. This winery was founded by two aerospace engineers, as a weekend hobby and was soon transformed into a full-time business, family run and operated. ZD Winery is dedicated to practicing organic farming. The vineyard runs almost completely off solar power as well, reducing their carbon footprint.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Large Group Tours/Buses
  • To promote environmentally-friendly wine-making practices
Not good for: 
  • Picnics
  • Kids and pets
  • Hosting weddings or hosting events
  • Food pairings
Known For: 
Chardonnay
Pictures: 
ZD Wines
ZD Wines - Garden Walkway
ZD Wines - Tasting area
ZD Wines, Solar Panels amoung the vineyard

Location

8383 Silverado Trail
Rutherford, CA 94573
United States
38° 28' 42.7332" N, 122° 23' 30.0732" W
Phone Number: 
7079635188

Grgich Hills Estate

The Vibe: 

One of the most familiar names in Napa, Mike Grgich enjoys the status of Croatian immigrant turned celebrity after the coup he scored as winemaker of the winning California chardonnay in the Paris Tasting of 1976. Visitors to the homey Napa tasting space can enjoy a warm reception in a barrel-flanked room, or a tour of the facility during one of their daily, by-appointment-only tours.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Small groups
  • Tours (offered daily; by appt)
  • Private tastings
Not good for: 
  • Large groups
  • Picnics
  • Shoppers
Known For: 
Chardonnay, Fume Blanc, Dessert Wine
Pictures: 

Locations

1829 St. Helena Hwy.
Rutherford, CA 94573
United States
38° 26' 51.0864" N, 122° 24' 44.6652" W
1829 St. Helena Hwy.
Rutherford, CA 94573
United States
38° 26' 51.0864" N, 122° 24' 44.6652" W
Phone Number: 
8005323057

PlumpJack Winery

The Vibe: 

PlumpJack Winery is one of several businesses founded by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome. As part of the PlumpJack group (which includes inns, restaurants, wineries, and even a clothing boutique), the brand represents much that is hip and vibrant about the northern California aesthetic. The wines at Plumpjack Winery tend to be highly rated, and the tasting room staff at their Oakville hospitality center are enthusiastic and helpful. A great stop for San Franciscans who’ve eaten at one of the Plumpjack restaurants, or anyone curious about Newsom’s entrepreneurial streak.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Tastings for small to medium sized groups
  • Shoppers
  • PlumpJack/Gavin Newsom Fans
Not good for: 
  • Tours
  • Buses/Limos
  • Weddings
  • Events
  • Picnics
  • Kids/pets
Known For: 
Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve Chardonnay
Pictures: 
The Tasting Counter
Shopping, perfect for gifts

Locations

620 Oakville Crossroad
Oakville, CA 94562
United States
38° 26' 16.3932" N, 122° 23' 56.7636" W
620 Oakville Crossroad
Oakville, CA 94562
United States
38° 26' 16.3932" N, 122° 23' 56.7636" W
Phone Number: 
7079451220

Shafer Vineyards

The Vibe: 

At Shafer Vineyards all visits are by appointment only and are priced around $45 per person. The tastings are an informative and relaxed session around a family style dining table. The winery holds no more than 10 people in their tasting room at a time. Shafer Vineyards allows only guests that are 21 and over for visits. The Shafer Vineyards also operates on solar power, and prides itself on eco-friendly, sustainable farming.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Small Groups
  • Wine History & Knowledge Seekers
  • Great Views
Not good for: 
  • Families (Anyone Under 21)
  • Picnics
  • Weddings/large groups
  • Looking for food
Known For: 
Chardonnay and Merlot
Pictures: 
Shafer Vineyards

Location

6154 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558
United States
38° 24' 55.8504" N, 122° 20' 11.4072" W
Phone Number: 
7079442877

Chardonnay: The Great Chameleon

I learned to cook from my Mom, cooking programs on PBS, and a wide range of authors whose books perched on the kitchen shelves, patiently waiting for the moment they were needed. We reached for these books frequently, usually three and four at a time, spreading them across the kitchen table to compare ingredients and techniques. We had a rule – always follow the recipe as it was written the first time, then we could improvise. Of course, we broke this rule frequently,

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winemaker Bob Bertheau Talks Washington Wine

Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the largest and most revered wineries in America. Located in Washington's Columbia Valley, Chateau Ste. Michelle is often -and mistakenly- overlooked by oenophiles searching for fine American wine. It isn't often that one gets to "talk shop" with the winemaker from a winery of the caliber of Chateau Ste. Michelle -they tend to be awfully busy people after all- but IntoWine.com had the good fortune of being able to do just that. What follows is our chat with Chateau Ste. Michelle Winemaker Bob Bertheau.

Lynmar Estates Winery

The Vibe: 

Lynmar Estates is a 47-acre estate along the Russian River Valley with organic garden views, expansive vistas, and notable architecture. The winery can accommodate drop-ins from 10am-5pm every day, with tastings starting at $10.  You can also opt to book a more extravagent tasting in advance, including a tour of the gardens and a full gourmet luncheon prepared by the in-house chef.

Picnic tables are available by appointment: if you schedule ahead, and purchase a Lynmar wine, you can reserve a picnic table in their redwood grove.

Special events at Lynmar include “Pinot and Pizza,” which pairs wines with pizzas made from organic Estate garden ingredients in their on-site woodburning oven, on select days throughout the year, and "Cultivation Classes," which include wine pairings, garden tours, and a membership into Lynmar’s Friends of the Garden program.  "Friends" can then visit, plant and harvest the community garden throughout the year.

The owner, Lynn Fritz, is an expert in global logistics and humanitarian relief efforts and the winery has been in the family since 1980.

The vineyard shares a border with Laguna de Santa Rosa, a 250 square-mile watershed that is home to mammals, reptiles, native plants and migrating birds. Lynmar's vineyard and winery team uses the most habitat-friendly farming techniques and is sensitive to the needs of the ecosystem.

The winery is available for private events, but cannot host weddings due to permit issues.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Garden Views
  • Food Pairings
  • Pinot Noir
  • Chardonnay
  • Picnics
  • Eco-friendly
  • Modern Architecture
Not good for: 
  • Budget Travelers
  • Old-world Architecture
  • Hosting a Wedding
Known For: 
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Pictures: 
Lynmar Estates
Lynmar Estates

Location

3909 Frei Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
United States
38° 26' 33.7128" N, 122° 50' 45.1176" W
Phone Number: 
7078293374
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