These travelers know their wine. One of the internet's most popular travel sites, TripAdvisor, has compiled a list of the top 10 wine destinations based on user reviews and opinions. Each of these outstanding tours offer the opportunity for wine aficionados and novice tasters alike to enjoy sensational sips while learning the vine-to-wine story behind delicious vintages.
“According to a recent TripAdvisor survey, nearly one-third of U.S. respondents are planning a vineyard visit this fall, and we want to highlight 10 palate-pleasing tours as travelers make their plans,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor.
From underground caves to intimate tasting rooms, all of these vineyards bring something unique to visiting tasters. With harvest underway at many wineries across the country, fall is one of the best times of year to take a tour.
1. Pride Mountain Vineyards, St. Helena, California
Two-thousand feet above the Napa Valley floor, guests of this 235-acre estate will enjoy exquisite views of Mount St. Helena while touring sun-soaked vineyards. The 90-minute experience takes visitors through the production facility, then concludes in the 23,000 square-foot cave where each barrel is aged to perfection.
Tours operate six days a week with a $15 fee; advance reservations required.
2. Hendry Ranch Wines, Napa, California
Since 1939, the Hendry family has harvested the hills of this 114-acre ranch located 10 miles northwest of Napa. The winery welcomes travelers with a two and a half hour tour led by owner George Hendry, who gives an in-depth lesson into the art and science behind the bottle. A TripAdviser traveler might the tour highly informative.
Tours operate daily with a $40 fee; advance reservations required.
3. Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard, Peconic, New York
New York wines are gaining momentum and aspiring viticulturists will enjoy this intimate tour on the North Fork of Long Island. Travelers will learn the unique growing conditions of Long Island grapes before sampling the aromatic beverages including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. One TripAdvisor reviewer commented “I learned more on this tour than in any other I have taken.”
Tours are offered Saturday and Sunday with a $25 fee; advance reservations required.
4. Frog’s Leap Winery, Rutherford, California
In the heart of Napa Valley, this organic winery makes use of Earth’s bounty, producing nearly 60,000 cases each year. During a 90-minute tour, guests will sip four different varietals while enjoying a leisurely stroll through rows of succulent grapes, lush gardens, and the historic Red Barn production facility. Frog's Leap purports sustainable grape farming and viticultural practices.
Tours are offered Monday – Friday with a $20 fee; advance reservations required.
5. O’Brien Estate Winery, Napa, California
The romance of wine country is alive at this 40-acre estate where guests will sip wines labeled with amorous poetry while hot air balloons drift over the distant hills. During the hour-long tour, travelers will be led through the winemaking process, starting beside the leafy vines and concluding in the French oak barrel storage room.
Tours are offered daily with a $20 fee; advance reservations required
6. Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Healdsburg, California
In the hills of Alexander Valley, visitors can enjoy a 90-minute tour of this magnificent estate. Guests will explore the cobblestone terrace overlooking the vineyards before enjoying a seated tasting with chef-paired hors d'oeuvres. Jordan Vineyard specializes in Bordeaux-style wines.
Tours are offered Monday – Saturday and select Sundays for a $30 fee; advance reservations required.
7. The Benziger Family Winery, Glen Ellen, California
This family-run winery individually lies just at the base of Sonoma Mountain. Benziger currently harvests 29 blocks of vines to create custom blends. Visitors can choose between tram-style or in-depth walking tours where they will learn about the winery’s organic and sustainable practices.
Tours are offered daily for a fee of $20 - $40; reservations are recommended but not required.
8. Wollersheim Winery, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin
Wollersheim is the only Wisconsin Winery to make the list. The property lies just thirty miles northwest of Madison. Here, vino enthusiasts can visit this beautiful hillside property that was first established as a winery more than 150 years ago. During the hour-long tour, guests will explore the production and fermentation facilities before sampling wines crafted from the vineyard’s winter-hardy grapes.
Tours are offered daily for a $5 fee; no reservations required.
9. Jarvis Estate, Napa, California
Tunneled into the Vaca Mountains, vintage aficionados will be dazzled by the 45,000 square-foot cave system of this subterranean production facility. The impressive architecture is highlighted throughout a 90-minute tour, which includes a stop at the cave’s underground, cascading waterfall. A TripAdvisor traveler commented, “We toured Jarvis on our last day in Napa, and it was spectacular!”
Tours are offered daily for a $60 fee; advance reservations required.
10. Schramsberg Vineyard, Calistoga, California
Renowned for their sparkling wines, this historic estate welcomes travelers to explore its 125-year-old hand-dug caves nestled into the rugged Diamond Mountains. The tour details the classic process of producing sparkling wine before concluding with a candlelit tasting of four bubbly blends. Visitors to Schramsberg enjoyed learning the history of the vineyard and exploring the unique architecture of the caves.
Tours are offered daily for a $50 fee; advance reservations required.