Best Winery Tour (2016)


One of the joys of visiting America's wine regions is the opportunity to learn more about the winemaking process while sampling local wines. Many wineries offer tastings, but fewer allow visitors behind the scenes and into the vineyards and production facilities themselves to deepen their wine knowledge. 

  • Chappellet

    St. Helena, Calif.

    Wine lovers touring Chappellet in beautiful St. Helena get to go 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.
    Photo courtesy of Chappellet

  • Caldwell Vineyard

    Caldwell Vineyard
    Napa, Calif.

    Lucky visitors who snag one of a limited number of tastings at Napa's Caldwell Vineyard descend 90 feet underground into a 20,000-square-foot volcanic ash cave, which maintains a temperature of a cool 59 degrees even on hot summer days. These 90-minute guided tastings often include the witty and entertaining stories of the winery told by John Caldwell himself.
    Photo courtesy of Caldwell Vineyard

  • Tamber Bey Vineyards

    Tamber Bey Vineyards
    Calistoga, Calif.

    Located on Sundance Ranch in Calistoga, Tamber Bey Vineyards offers a unique tour of its crush winery as well as the state-of-the-art equestrian facilities where performance horses are trained. Guests can choose between two different tastings with an optional cookie pairing by Michelle Romaine.
    Photo courtesy of Tamber Bey Vineyards

  • O'Brien Estate

    O'Brien Estate
    Napa, Calif.

    By-appointment tours of the O'Brien Estate in Napa are an immersive wine-in-hand experience where visitors get to walk through the vineyards, touch the wine barrels, watch the bottling line and relax outside on a quiet lawn with a glass of wine. Each visit includes a seated wine tasting.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery

    Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery
    Galena, Ill.

    Regularly scheduled tours at Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, located just outside of the town of Galena, take guests into the scenic country vineyards to learn about how these award-winning wines are made. Tours an be stand-alone or combined with a tasting of six different wines from a menu of more than 40.
    Photo courtesy of Richie Diesterheft / Flickr

  • Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard

    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

  • King Family Vineyards

    King Family Vineyards
    Crozet, Va.

    Vineyard and Winery Tours at Virginia's King Family Vineyards include a history of the family and farm, a visit to one of the estate vineyards to learn about viticulture in Virginia, a walk through the tank and barrel rooms and a guided tasting of six different wines.
    Photo courtesy of King Family Vineyards / Aaron Watson Photography

  • Wollersheim Winery

    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

  • Ladera Vineyards

    Ladera Vineyards
    Angwin, Calif.

    Visitors go beyond a simple tasting when they make an appointment for an Estate Tour at Ladera Vineyards in Napa Valley. This intimate experience gives a brief history of Ladera – a winery dating back more than a hundred years – and the gravity flow process used to craft the wines. The tour includes a walk through the vineyards, wine cave and a tasting of exclusive and limited release wines in the private Estate Room.
    Photo courtesy of Ladera Vineyards

  • Hendry Ranch Wines

    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

We asked 10Best and USA TODAY readers to vote for their favorite winery tours from a pool of 20 nominees, and the competition was fierce! California's Napa wine region proved dominant, with a battle for first place between Chappellet in St. Helena and Caldwell Vineyard in Napa. It was an extremely close contest between two very worthy wineries.

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

  1. Chappellet - St. Helena, Calif.
  2. Caldwell Vineyard - Napa, Calif.
  3. Tamber Bey Vineyards - Calistoga, Calif.
  4. O'Brien Estate - Napa, Calif.
  5. Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery - Galena, Ill.
  6. Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard - Peconic, N.Y.
  7. King Family Vineyards - Crozet, Va.
  8. Wollersheim Winery - Prairie du Sac, Wis.
  9. Ladera Vineyards - Angwin, 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) and Jil Child (Wine Tours of the World) were chosen based on their extensive knowledge of U.S. wineries and wine travel.

Other wineries nominated for Best Winery Tour included Archery Summit Winery, Byington Vineyard & Winery, Comstock Wines, Jarvis Estate, John Anthony Vineyards, Jordan Winery, Lancaster Estate, Paul Hobbs Winery, Petroni Vineyards and Repris Wines.

Congratulations to all our winning wineries!

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Jill Barth

Jill Barth

Jill Barth

Jil Child

Jil Child

Jil Child