Emeritus Vineyards wins title of Best Winery Tour

Eberle Winery, Chappellet, Schramsberg Vineyards and Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard in top five

One of the best ways to enhance your appreciation for wine (and hone your palate) is to see firsthand how it's made, from the vine to the bottle. Many wineries offer tastings, but some take visitors behind the scenes into the vineyards and production facilities for an in-depth look at how their wines are produced. Which U.S. winery runs the best tour? We asked our readers to vote for their favorite from a pool of 20 nominees, and the results are in.

  • Hendry Ranch Wines
    Napa, Calif.

    Visitors to Hendry Ranch Wines in Napa can choose from two different tour options. The more in-depth Seminar Tour is led by owner George Hendry and includes background on the property, farming philosophy and the economics of grape growing, followed by an intensive guided tasting of seven current release wines. A shorter Afternoon Tour gives a brief overview of what's happening on the vineyard with a tasting of six wines.
    Photo courtesy of Hendry Ranch Wines

  • Hamel Family Wines
    Sonoma, Calif.

    A visit to Hamel Family Wines in Sonoma, available by appointment only, includes a tour of the HFW estate led by an Estate Ambassador, followed by a wine tasting (or "dry" tasting for non-wine drinkers). Some experiences offer food pairings or snacks created by the winery's executive chef.
    Photo courtesy of Hamel Family Wines

  • Quintessa
    Saint Helena, Calif.

    Visits to Quintessa winery in St. Helena are privately hosted and tailored for each guest. A visit might include a walk to a scenic overlook with sweeping views of the vineyards followed by a guided tour into the winery and caves to learn about the winemaking process. Each experience ends with a relaxed seated tasting at a private table, featuring the winery's current release and library vintages.
    Photo courtesy of Quintessa

  • Biltmore Winery
    Asheville, N.C.

    Situated on the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate just outside of Asheville, the Biltmore Winery is the most visited in the nation. Guests enjoy complimentary tastings of more than 20 reds, whites and roses (included in Biltmore admission) with the option to sign up for a behind-the-scenes winery tour or vine-to-wine tour and tasting experience.
    Photo courtesy of Biltmore Estate

  • Wollersheim Winery
    Prairie du Sac, Wis.

    A winery tour at Wollersheim Winery in Wisconsin begins with a video giving a brief overview of the estate's 160-year winemaking history. Visitors get to see the vineyards before entering the production facilities, where a glassed-in viewing area looks in on the fermentation room. After a visit to the underground limestone aging cellars, tour participants enjoy a short guided tasting.
    Photo courtesy of Wollersheim Winery

  • Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard
    Peconic, N.Y.

    Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard demonstrates its commitment to educating novices and aficionados alike through its wide assortment of tours. Options range from processing facility and barrel cellar tours to the more comprehensive Vine to Wine Tour through the vineyards and facilities. Guests can also opt to be a winemaker for the day by signing up for a VIP Blending Class.
    Photo courtesy of Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard

  • Schramsberg Vineyards
    Calistoga, Calif.

    By-appointment tours of Schramsberg Vineyards in beautiful Calistoga begin with a journey into the estate's historic 125-year-old wine caves, where visitors learn about traditional methods of producing sparkling wines. After the tour, guests enjoy a seated tasting.
    Photo courtesy of Schramsberg Vineyards

  • Chappellet
    St. Helena, Calif.

    Guests touring Chappellet in beautiful St. Helena get to peek behind the scenes inside the winery's historic Pritchard Hill facility, walk through the vineyards and sample limited-production wines crafted for the winery's private club members. These adults-only tours are by appointment only.
    Photo courtesy of Chappellet

  • Eberle Winery
    Paso Robles, Calif.

    Established in 1979, Eberle has been producing fine wines in Paso Robles for nearly four decades – the longest continuously run family-owned winery in the area. Guests are invited on a dog-friendly tour of the 17,000-square-foot underground caves while sampling Eberle's award-winning wines made exclusively from Paso Robles grapes.
    Photo courtesy of Eberle Winery

  • Emeritus Vineyards
    Sebastopol, Calif.

    During a tour of Emeritus Vineyards, visitors descend into the Hallberg Ranch Estate, explore the process dry farming (and other sustainable farming practices), get a lesson in Pinot Noir clones, walk through the growth cycle of a vine and enjoy a seated tasting with views over the vineyards of Hallberg Ranch.
    Photo courtesy of Emeritus Vineyards

The top 10 winners in the category Best Winery Tour are as follows:

  1. Emeritus Vineyards - Sebastopol, Calif.
  2. Eberle Winery - Paso Robles, Calif.
  3. Chappellet - St. Helena, Calif.
  4. Schramsberg Vineyards - Calistoga, Calif.
  5. Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard - Peconic, N.Y.
  6. Wollersheim Winery - Prairie du Sac, Wis.
  7. Biltmore Winery - Asheville, N.C.
  8. Quintessa - Saint Helena, Calif.
  9. Hamel Family Wines - Sonoma, Calif.
  10. Hendry Ranch Wines - Napa, Calif.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Jill Barth (L’occasion), Jil Child (Wine Tours of the World) and Karen MacNeil were chosen based on their deep knowledge of the American wine landscape.

Congratulations to all our winning winery tours!

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Jill Barth

Jill Barth

Jil Child

Jil Child

Karen MacNeil

Karen MacNeil