Schweiger Vineyards' passionate oenophiles cultivate varietals from 62 acres of volcanic soil using solar-powered technology. Vineyards Estate tours commence with an abridged chronicling of the grape plantation's yesteryears as guests sip house-made chardonnay, with hints of pear, citrus, and oak, and inhale the aromas of lemongrass and pensiveness in the sauvignon blanc. Expeditions then journey through the tank room and on through Schweiger’s underground cellar as adventurers sip flutes of merlot, with cedar and black-pepper notes, and sample a cabernet with a finish as smooth as a velvet pillow coated in shortening. The tour guides at Schweiger Vineyards suggest toting along cameras to capture their breathtaking views that overlook Napa Valley at elevations of up to 2,000 feet.
Wildflower-filled vases adorn hardwood tables within Savour St. Helena's rouge-tinted tasting room, where servers dish out hard-to-find vinos culled from small wineries. The Vinter's Tasting offers oenophiles and foodphiles the makings of an authentic vintner's lunch, uniting assorted cheeses and charcuteries with the sipper's choice of three wines. Quaffs of the Areté 2010 sauvignon blanc or the Houdini 2007 merlot escort nibbles of artisanal cheeses, cured meats, and mixed olives to a flavorful promenade chaperoned by bites of crusty french bread and a kindly corkscrew. Alternatively, a flight of Spotted Owl Vineyards 2008 mountain cuvée and Veendercrest 2005 Rutherford cabernet sauvignon can coast in for a smooth landing upon your palate's runway.
Opening its hallowed, grape-infused halls in 1876, Beringer Vineyards boasts a storied history buoyed by a rich register of fine wines. During the tour and wine tasting for two, couples, connoisseurs, and career-regretting raisins sample four pours from the Private Reserve collection, highlighted by the chardonnay and the cabernet sauvignon. A blend of grapes reared and refined by the stern confines and fermentation lectures of French Nevers oak, the 2007 cabernet holds an outstanding grade of 93 from Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. Wines get swirled, sniffed, and slurped amid the horizon of linear vineyards and ornately manicured gardens that pepper Beringer's property. The grounds also feature architectural highlights such as the Rhine House, a 125-year-old homestead and prime example of Victorian architecture, teeming with stained-glass windows, gables, turrets, and the ghosts of frock coats past.