The Vibe: 

If you think you might not make it to a true French chateau before you die, the grand estate at Domaine Carneros is the next best thing. From their sparkling wines to their landscaped gardens, sweeping views, and French parent company, this estate exudes French charm from a quiet corner of the Napa Valley. And they know how to work it. As you park your car, you can only look up and admire the flights of stairs that you have to ascend to reach their main terrace. You pass not one, but two fountains on the way up, and of course periodically stop to gaze at the hills of vines receding below. Once you reach the double doored entrance, you’re invited to take a seat on the terrace (if it’s a nice day) or make your way up another flight of stairs (indoor this time) to their tasting room. Unlike most Napa establishments, Domaine Carneros provides sit down service only, with tasting available by the flight, glass, or bottle. An accompanying cheese course rounds out the experience.

Known For: 
Sparkling Wine, Pinot Noir
Not good for: 
  • Those in a hurry (people looking to “power taste”)
  • People seeking cabernets or chardonnays
  • Kids, pets
  • Spendthrifts
  • Souvenier hunters
Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Architecture and Chateau buffs
  • Organic Wine buffs
  • Small groups (4-6) looking to tour a winery and learn about the making of sparkling wine (they offer daily tours for $25)
  • People with tired feet who want to sit quietly for a bit while enjoying a gorgeous view
  • Party throwers or engaged couples looking to impress their guests