6 Experiences in the Napa Valley to Get a Taste of Being a Winemaker

Are you a wine connoisseur with an appreciation for the entire winemaking process, from grape to glass? Does your dream Napa Valley vacation include not only sipping wine and strolling through sunny vineyards, but also learning about how wine is made?

There are many ways to experience a taste of what it’s like to be a winemaker, especially during harvest season, when you can witness the winemaking process. Here are a few wineries in Calistoga and beyond where you can see the process firsthand – and even make your own wine.

At Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford, you can take part in the age-old activity of grape stomping. This winery offers daily grape stomping experiences from the beginning of harvest season through the end of October. Not only do you get to stomp grapes with your bare feet and enjoy a glass of Grgich Hills wine, (a classic Napa Valley day, to be sure), but you’ll also take home a souvenir t-shirt and GoVino glass to commemorate your I Love Lucy moment.

The aerial tram at Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga takes you up to the winery at the peak of a hill in the center of the valley. These are the Napa Valley vistas of sprawling vineyards and quaint cottages that you’ve imagined. As you ride the tram to the top, take a peek below you at the production line. Especially during harvest season, you’ll see winery employees bustling to sort and crush the grapes that will become this year’s vintage.

Bennett Lane Winery in Calistoga offers an exclusive Private Blending experience that features a vineyard tour and a sensory evaluation seminar to learn about the notes of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. Then you’ll get the opportunity to custom blend your own bottle of Maximus Red Feasting Blend and enjoy a glass with a delicious cheese plate. Toast your accomplishment on the patio overlooking the vineyards and majestic Mount Saint Helena.

V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena invites guests to enjoy a bite to eat at the on-site Italian deli and then marvel at the entire process of taking grapes from stem to glass. On their crush pads, you can watch as workers sort, destem and press the grapes. From there, the winemaker works their magic to create the wines you’ll then sip on the outdoor veranda.

In the Blending Room at Raymond Vineyards in St. Helena, you get to be a Winemaker for a Day. Participate in a blending session and take home a bottle (or even order a case) of your very own wine, complete with a customized label, to share with friends and family.

If you’re still eager for more winemaking experiences come springtime, don’t miss out on Camp Schramsberg, the exclusive sparkling wine experience offered by Schramsberg Vineyards each year in Calistoga. You’ll learn hands-on pruning in the vineyards, how sparkling wines are made, how to saber a bottle of sparkling wine, all about bottle fermentation and assemblage and even how to create a sparkling wine pairing menu.

Any one of these exclusive experiences may well be the highlight of your Calistoga getaway, so book your visits today and come celebrate harvest season with us.