To create the best tours of Napa and Sonoma, eliminating the need to spend hours researching wineries and introducing you to wineries that have excellent wines, wonderful ambiance, and personnel that go out of their way to make your tasting experience memorable.
I started visiting the wine country in 1986. I bought a guide book and headed to Napa. As I was driving through the wine country I was quite surprised at just how many wineries there were. I stopped at various wineries along the way, but quickly realized that popping in to wineries that have a "Tasting Today" sign was not the best way to visit the wine country.
I returned to the wine country a year later and this time I did about 30-40 hours of research preparing for my trip. What a difference! I visited some amazing wineries, some of which asked me "How did you find us?" Since then, I have returned to the wine country 2 to 3 times a year, and I have done hours and hours of research each time in order to find the best wineries to visit. Over the years, researching wineries has became a passion of mine. I have browsed hundreds of websites and read numerous books about the wineries of Napa & Sonoma including:
- Into the Caves
- Touring the California Wine Country
- Spectacular Wineries of Napa Valley
- Spectacular Wineries of Sonoma County
- Back Lane Wineries of Napa
- Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma
- The California Directory of Fine Wineries (1st thru 6th Edition)
Every time I travel to the wine country I find new wineries to visit. To date, I have visited over 250 different wineries. Some are absolutely wonderful and those are the wineries that I include in our tours.
I believe the three keys to a good winery are Wine, Ambiance and Experience. I believe the three keys to a good wine tour are, Quality, Location and Flexibility. Quality of the wines and the winery itself are the most important. Location is a big factor so that you don't spend more time driving than necessary, giving you more time to enjoy the wineries you visit. In a DIY tour, Flexibility gives you the ability to stay longer if you want, add a winery if you chose or drop one out if you have 'over' enjoyed one or more of the other wineries.
I still live in Chicago, so I am not available to drive you to your destinations, but I can certainly share my 20 years of experience, and my favorite winery finds, making it as easy as possible for you to visit the best wineries of Napa and Sonoma. Some of the wineries I recommend are well known but most are family owned boutique wineries that are off the beaten path. Every winery I recommend can be found on the internet, in a book or in a magazine article. That's how I found them, and you can too, I just make it a whole lot easier for you and help you focus in on the best of the best. But, whether you use one of our tours or do the research yourself my best piece of advice is ... don't just drive around, have a plan!
If you want a quick and easy way to enjoy a wonderful day of visiting excellent wineries, pick any one of our tours. If you have any questions about touring the wine country or you would like my opinion about a winery that you are thinking of visiting, feel free to call me or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to help you even if you aren't purchasing one of our tours.