I’m a national parks geek through and through and I’m always game for camping or hiking. I also enjoy life’s finer and more romantic offerings, things like spa treatments and wine tastings. So when we started planning a San Francisco/Wine Country weekend trip for Valentine’s Day, I set out to find the most romantic wineries in Napa.
With several hundred wineries in the Napa Valley, this task is easier said than done. A trip to Wine Country is romantic in and of itself, but I wanted something extra-special and memorable. I specifically wanted to visit smaller, lesser-known wineries as part of our romantic Napa Valley itinerary.
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The most romantic wineries in Napa Valley
My criteria were exceptionally beautiful grounds and a unique offering, something I wouldn’t find anywhere else. Bonus points if the winery is reasonably-priced because holy smokes, a weekend of Napa Valley wine tastings is spendy.
To help with my decision, I asked several other travel bloggers — who also happen to be fellow oenophiles. Here, I put together our collective recommendations for the most romantic wineries in Napa.
Porter Family Vineyards
The drive to Porter Family Vineyards, in southern Napa Valley’s Coombsville section, is breathtaking. It’s well away from downtown and most hotels or Napa Valley vacation rentals, but you drive through mile after mile of picture-perfect rolling vineyards. This area is easily one of the most romantic places in Napa.
We blocked off an entire afternoon for our appointment at Porter Family. Something about the perfect reviews told me it was worth the 50-minute Lyft ride.
Quick note: If at all possible, don’t drive yourself around to Napa Valley wine tastings. Order Lyfts or Ubers, hire a private car, take an organized wine tour, or assign a designated driver. It’s much more spread out than people realize and traffic gets pretty bad.
It was well worth the ride. Porter Family tastings are strictly by reservation only and they’re completely private (if that doesn’t scream “most romantic wineries in Napa,” I don’t know what does!). Florencia, the winery’s sales and marketing director, greeted us outside with two glasses of Bev’s Chardonnay. She sat with us and wanted to know everything about us. We honestly felt like this was a wine date with a friend.
After we finished our chardonnay, Florencia gave us a complete tour of the winery. We first saw Porter Family’s 14-acre vineyards and sweeping views. By the way, that’s tiny! Frog’s Leap, another stop on our romantic Napa Valley itinerary, has 250 acres — and is by no means one of the biggest.
Next, we went to the enormous and absolutely beautiful underground wine cave. We were surprised to find our wine tasting set up in a private, candlelit dining room. Our wine was ready for us, each glass paired with artisan cheese or a chocolate truffle. This is precisely what makes Porter Family one of the most romantic wineries in Napa. Even better, it was the least expensive wine tasting all weekend!
During our tasting, we learned that Porter Family doesn’t distribute its wines — at all. The only way to enjoy it is to visit or contact the winery directly (yes, they ship!). We think that’s incredibly special, to have wine you can’t just buy at a store. Bottles are affordable, most between $40-55, and we’re especially fond of the Sandpiper Red.
What to wear in Napa Valley in the spring/summer
Recommended by Anna Maria at Unraveling Wine
V. Sattui Winery is far and away one of the most romantic wineries in Napa Valley. This gorgeous Italian-themed winery in the heart of St. Helena has a wine tasting option for everyone. You’ll find an experience that pairs perfectly with your romantic Napa Valley itinerary.
Let the friendly staff guide you through a tasting of V. Sattui’s delicious wines. The tasting room is beautiful and the views from the grounds are stunning. Grab a couple’s picture in front of the fountain or in the garden.
Choose your favorite wine (I highly suggest the bubbly!) before heading over to their artisanal deli. Choose from the huge selection of meats and cheese and enjoy a picnic on the lawn under the shade of the oak trees.
If you and your partner crave a more substantial meal, follow your nose to the V. Sattui food truck for some delicious BBQ ribs or wood-fired pizza. Pair these with their Glisson Vineyard Zinfandel. Don’t forget dessert! The tiramisu is divine.
V. Sattui hosts events year-round with delicious wine and food pairing events in its barrel room. Insider’s tip: make a reservation and book a tour in advance.
Recommended by Kenny at KNYCX Journeying
There are many things to see and do in San Francisco, with its Scenic 49 Mile Drive. When you want to venture outside the city, though, visiting one of the many romantic places in Napa Valley is a perfect day trip — especially if you like natural scenery, great food, and delicious wine.
Sterling Vineyards is among the most popular attractions, and certainly one of the most romantic wineries in Napa Valley, located near the river. International paper broker Peter Newton founded it in 1964, with a passion for shaping Napa Valley into a prestigious wine region. It’s gained international recognition since, winning first place in the Ottawa Wine Tasting of 1981.
The vineyard covers a total of 1,200 acres across various sites in the Napa Valley – but it’s not just a winery. It’s an architectural landmark. The main structure is designed by Martin Waterfield in the style of an Aegean monastery. The beautiful simplicity of the architecture makes exploring Sterling a leisurely, yet intimate experience.
Walk along the historic building and learn about wine-making techniques with a glass of private-label white wine in hand. Finally, take your date for a ride on the famous, one-of-a-kind Sterling aerial tram to the top of a volcanic hill, which offers panoramic views of the entire valley.
Looking for more activities to add to your romantic Napa Valley itinerary? Check these out!
Castello di Amorosa
Recommended by Val, @voyageswithval
Castello di Amorosa is without a doubt one of the most romantic wineries in Napa Valley. Where else in California can you sip wine in a 13th-century castle?!
Although built in the ’90s, the castello was constructed from hand-made materials, replicating techniques centuries old. It was the owner’s goal to create an authentic Tuscany castle in the heart of Napa Valley, and he certainly succeeded!
Today, Castello di Amorosa is one of the most romantic places in Napa, where you can stroll across the grounds with your partner, exploring the castle and sipping on their Italian-inspired wines. They offer several ways to experience the castle, wine, or even food in their romantic vineyard.
We found this to be the perfect stop on our way to the Redwoods, when we only had time for one Napa winery and wanted a unique yet memorable and romantic experience. If you enjoy sweeter wines, don’t miss the delicious La Fantasia!
Recommended by Monica at Planner at Heart
Far Niente is all about passion. Passion for wine, passion for Mother Nature, and passion for an intimate experience. Located in Oakville, the stunning 13-acre property sits atop a crest far away from the crowds.
It’s worth it to build your day around a tasting appointment here, as it’s one of the most romantic places in Napa. We did so at the recommendation of a sommelier friend and it was an amazing highlight of our trip. A reservation is a must at Far Niente, as it is the only way to visit the winery.
Far Niente has four different tasting and tour combos, all done in small groups, allowing for intimate interaction with your guide — and private little moments with your date. If you’re a car aficionado, there’s a tour option that includes a stop at the Carriage house featuring vintage cars and motorcycles.
Admittedly, prices are higher than the other most romantic wineries in Napa. However, Far Niente is special-occasion-worthy for an intimate experience coupled with premium wine tastings. A taste of Napa’s “liquid gold,” AKA the Dolce wine, is a must!
What to wear in Napa Valley in the fall/winter
Recommended by Allison Green at California Crossroads
No list of the most romantic wineries in Napa is complete without Trefethen Family Vineyards, one of my personal favorites.
I first heard about Trefethen from a friend who received a bottle as a gift. She raved about the wine and begged me to bring her a bottle, even if we didn’t do a full tasting.
Intrigued, I looked into the winery and realized it’s right next to another winery we already had an appointment with, Laird Family Estate (which is also phenomenal, by the way). It was a no-brainer to add Trefethen to our romantic Napa Valley itinerary.
As we entered Trefethen’s estate, I felt my heartbeat quicken. It’s downright regal. Grand. Stately. Oozing romance. We learned that the historic 400-acre estate was originally built in 1886. It fell into disrepair, but in 1968, Catherine “Katie” and Eugene Trefethen laid eyes on it and quickly set to work restoring it.
Today, well over 130 years later, the third generation of Trefethens is at the helm and the original structure still stands, though with several improvements and additions. It’s also a one-of-a-kind, the only wooden 19th-century tri-level gravity-flow winery in all of Napa Valley.
Our wine tasting was impeccable, combining elements of fun, education, and amazing wine. Semi-private tastings are upstairs in a vast room, overlooking the vineyards. We tried five wines and genuinely loved every single one, including varietals we thought we didn’t like. Our favorites were a white blend called Quandary and the winery’s signature dry riesling.
What truly makes Trefethen stand apart from the crowd is the unparalleled attention to detail and customer service. Our wine hostess was wonderful, encouraging us to try new wines through approachable (and fun!) education. We ordered some wine bottles and she personally shipped them to us at home.
A year later, I still text my newfound wine-dealer-turned-friend every other month or so to re-up! I assure you, you won’t find that level of personalized service at one of the big, commercial Napa wineries.
Which of the most romantic wineries in Napa Valley are you most excited to visit? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram @_chasingtrail, and be sure to pin this post for planning your romantic Napa Valley itinerary!