Best Napa Wineries for Food and Wine
It’s always such a treat to spend time in the Napa Valley. Driving down Highway 29 or the Silverado Trail, you’re treated to green rolling hills, vast fields of grapevines, majestic wineries, and even some Michelin-starred restaurants. Yes, Napa Valley is home to some of the world’s best wine and food, and on our recent visit to this magical place, we decided to pair the valley’s culinary delights with some lovely vintages…at the wineries themselves.
To our delight, we found that several of the best Napa wineries have food and wine pairings, with culinary delights ranging from full meals to simple cheese pairings. And we weren’t disappointed!
I wanted to share our experience so when you’re planning your trip to Napa Valley you’ll have plenty of information on the best Napa wineries for food and wine tasting experiences. And if you’ve have never been to Napa Valley before make sure to review The Best Napa Valley Wineries for First Time Visitors.
In this list, I’ve included both wineries we visited, as well as several others along the route with similar offerings to give you a broad choice of venues.
So let’s go…..
Food and Wine Pairings in Napa Valley
The Hess Collection
We started at The Hess Collection, which offers several food and wine pairing options: Vine to Table (vineyard tour and 3-course lunch with wine pairing), Tour of the Palate (museum tour, 3-course wine and food pairing), Tour, Wine & Chocolate Experience, and the Tour, Wine & Cheese Experience. We opted for the latter. We had a pleasant guided tour around the grounds and winery and then enjoyed some of their recent releases paired with artisan cheese, local fruits, and nuts. If you have a chance to stop here, make sure to see the Hess Art Collection. This is a private collection, very selective, and a definite must-see for art enthusiasts.
Our next stop was Starmont Winery, also in Napa, where we did a unique food and wine pairing. While they seem to have discontinued this particular culinary experience, it is worth a mention in case they revive it in the future. While wines are typically paired with cheese/fruit/nut or a full meal, Starmont did things a bit differently to challenge our palate. We were treated to 4 wines (Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah) along with a sampler platter that contained handmade potato chips, caramel corn, beef jerky, and a shortbread cookie. We also got quite the education on how and why wines are paired. Great stuff!
Robert Sinskey Vineyards
Our last stop in the town of Napa was Robert Sinskey Vineyards. This vineyard practices the whole farm philosophy, sharing vineyards with their sheep, growing culinary crops, and maintaining their own hives for both pollination and honey. Dedicated to the culinary experience, Sinskey offers five different culinary experiences: Pinot Alfresco (half bottle of wine + curated tastes), Eat Drink RSV (communal food and wine pairing), Perfect Circle Tour (vineyard and farm tour, cellar tour, wine and meal pairing), Chef’s Table (vineyard and farm tour, cellar tour, and 5-course meal with wine pairing), and the Flight of Five, which we opted for. The Flight of Five allowed us to taste five different wines, which were accompanied by seasonal tastes from their garden. It was so refreshing to see them use what was grown on the property; not just the grapes for the wine, but the bites themselves.
Leaving Napa and heading down Highway 29, you can stop in Oakville at either B Cellars or Robert Mondavi Winery. B Cellars is a small vineyard located on 11 acres with a large cave for both barrel storage and their Grand Salon. They offer four different wine and food pairings (which can be found here). I am most impressed by their Chef’s Garden Pairing and am hoping to partake on my next trip to Napa Valley. The Chef’s Garden Pairing is a farm-to-table meal encompassing four courses based on localvore cuisine, and each course has a different wine pairing. Yum!
Robert Mondavi Winery
Robert Mondavi Winery offers one of the more ambitious food and wine programs in the Napa Valley. They range from the simple to the complex and change periodically. Current offerings include an Exclusive Cellar Tasting (wine and cheese/charcuterie accompaniment), Wine and Chocolate Tasting, Wine Pairing with Cheese, Harvests of Joy (tour, 3-course wine-pairing lunch), Garden to Table Dinner (walk tour of the gardens, behind the scenes kitchen tour, 3-course wine-pairing dinner), and the granddaddy of them all, the Five Decades Dinner, which offers wines from each of the last five decades, followed by 4-course wine-pairing dinner. This is one of the more well-known wineries and of course one of the best Napa wineries.
Heading further north on Highway 29, you’ll hit Rutherford, where we experienced one of Peju Winery’s culinary offerings. We spent an hour learning about the art of pairing food and wine in their Wine & Culinary Exploration experience. Their chef prepared some very tasty little bites that they paired with several recent releases. Peju also offers a Small Farm Cheese and Wine Pairing, Farm to Table Luncheon (3 courses and a chat with the chef!), and an Interactive Culinary Experience, where you get to do hands-on prep with their chef, scout and pick ingredients for you meal, and then enjoy a feast with wine pairings.
Round Pond Estate
Also in Rutherford, you’ll find Round Pond Estate, a multifaceted winery producing not only wine but olive oil, vinegars and other taste treats from their land. When you select a culinary experience from Round Pond, it will be filled with bounty from their garden, including their own eggs, honey, produce, and herbs. Round Pond offers several wine and food pairings: Il Pranzo (estate and garden tours, tasting of wine, olive oil and vinegar, lunch and wine pairing), Garden to Table Brunch (garden tour, cooking demo, brunch and wine pairing), and the Signature Tour & Lunch (tour the estate, winery, olive mill and vinegar acetaia, lunch and wine pairing). Don’t forget to take home some of their artisan syrups, in addition to their wine!
Del Dotto Vineyards
Making our way further north, we made another stop in St. Helena at Del Dotto Vineyards. Visitors are in for a treat here, not only with the wine but the food as well. Executive Chef Joshua Schwartz has worked at the French Laundry, Bouchon and Per Se, all restaurants with at least one Michelin star. While we only did a simple wine and cheese pairing, Del Dotto does have a rotating list of food and wine pairing events led by Chef Schwartz. Currently, they are offering Delicacies by Del Dotto: A Wine & Food Tasting Experience (dates in September, November & December). Barrel tasting in the caves along with some pretty good food is a tempting reason to get back to this winery!
There is no shortage of wine at food pairings at some of the best Napa wineries. In addition to those mentioned above, check out the following wineries for their culinary experiences: