Saint Helena Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn

Most Recent Things to Do in Saint Helena

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    V. Sattui Winery

    by machomikemd Written Nov 15, 2013
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    The V. Sattui Winery, just beside the Saint Helena Highway is a destination by itself. This wine store, Italian market place and mini foot stall cum wine tasting and souvernir store plus picnic garden and wedding destination, is a brainchild of the 5th generation vitner Dario Sattui (he also owns the bigger Castello Di Amorosa in Calistoga, a few miles north of the V. Sattui Winery, see my tips there). This is easily one of the more popular destinations in the whole Napa Valler Area since it is packed full of people everyday.

    This winery even surpasses the main wine making and the Italian Style Castle of Dario Sattui's Castello DI Amorosa, where all of the wines sold in V. Sattui Winery comes from, plus where most of the grapes are harvested.

    The Main Tasting Room is located in the center of the Winery and is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday a wine tasting of 6 of their wines cost $ 10 and for the exclusive and reserved wines, it's $ 15. They have a huge assortment of red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot or Pinot Noir. White wines like the Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, plus a number of sparkling winea(Champagne OK! ) and Rose' wines.

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    Cullinary Institute of America at Greystone

    by machomikemd Written Nov 14, 2013
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    This is the home of the Budding Chef's who want to be the next Mario Battali or Wolfgang Puck or Kat Cora or Bobbie Flay. This area of Napa is one of the of the four Locations of the World Famous Culinary Institute of America. The sprawling complex houses their culinary school, A Spice Islands Market, Vitners Hall of Fame and their showpiece Restaurant, the Wine Spectator Restaurant (where the budding Master Chefs and apprentices make their famous meals wherein the menu is changed every week). I will do a separate resto tip on the Wine Spectator Restaurant. They also sell famous wines but unlike most wineries, they don't have a wine growing area on the Campus. The place may be high end but is sure is a nice place for Romantic Activities.

    According to their Website:

    Located in California's lush Napa Valley, the CIA's California campus features a wide variety of innovative professional development programs. Our teaching kitchens are among the finest professional education facilities in the world. Programs are centered in a demonstration theatre and around a series of cooking islands in the 15,000-square-foot teaching area, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, minutes from world-class vineyards and some of America's top restaurants.

    While on campus, students also benefit from our 15 acres of vineyards, the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies, the Sutter Home Organic Garden, the Cannard Herb Garden, the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, the DeBaun Theater, the Ken and Grace De Baun Café, and the Spice Islands Marketplace (campus store). Collectively, our programs and facilities emphasize the cooking and baking traditions of many cultures; fresh, seasonal ingredients; health and nutrition; and sustainable agriculture.

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    Don't miss Oliver!

    by blueskyjohn Written Aug 23, 2012

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    There are a few shops in Saint Helena worht checking out. One in particular is Oliver Napa Valley. A very unique store that is larger than you would expect. Specializing in a wide variety of Olive oil, mustards and vinegars. They also have some household goods and pottery. The Olive oil and mustards are very good. A nice store to check out.

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    V. Sattui Winery

    by riorich55 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Picture That Draws You In
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    With all apologies to my friend, Roz, who really liked this place in all honesty this was the least appealing winery my wife and I visited in our 2 days in Napa Valley. Here are my reasons:

    1) Very crowded - Yes, we were there right after noon on a Tuesday afternoon, so we ran into the lunch crowd, so that was my fault

    2) Too commercialized - I should have seen this coming with the Big 125th Anniversary Sign

    3) The food in the deli was OK, but very small portion for the price. We should have bought our food elsewhere.

    4) According to their website only THEIR WINE and THEIR FOOD were permitted on the picnic grounds. I didn't think the grounds were that special and when they say something like only their wines and their food it makes me want to sneak in something and see what happens. As it was we bought a little bit to eat and didn't buy any wine.

    5) This seemed to be like the Walmart of Wineries. I would rather pay a little more and enjoy the experience rather then feel like a number.

    Some people have said in reviews to stop by here just for the experience. I would skip the deli and even the 6 tastings for $5 come on. Visit the display they have in their main building, but other then that there are too many other places to visit to spend much time here.

    Again, sorry Roz!!

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    Louis Martini--large, family owned, traditional

    by atufft Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    4th of July Employee Party at Martini Winery
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    Of the dozen or so wineries located on Hwy 29 in this area, newcomers can be easily persuaded to visit the wrong ones, or the newbies that really have no track record of success. The largest winery by far in this area would be Louis Martini which produces great wine for the price. The hospitality tour and tasting provided by the staff is very professional even if the exterior facade of the winery appears more industrial than boutique. Martini wines are generally distinctive for moderate use of barrel aging, partial use of larger American oak barrels, and preferring insted to make advantage of large wooden upright tanks to produce forthright and fruity style wines. Unlike many wineries that depend upon the open market for grapes, Martini has extensive vineyards in Napa and Sonoma Counties, the grapes from which produce the more exclusive lines of wine. These are all great food wines at a reasonable price. I'm not a fan of their white wines (except for the Italian style Russian River Pinot Gris), but their Cabernet Savignon and Zinfandel shouldn't be dismissed as simple because they tend to age fairly well. I've had more than a few occasions where the host at a party brought down from a warm kitchen cabinet a bottle of Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, kept as a souvenir from a visit to the winery. And, on more than one occasion, these wines, sometimes ten or more years old have survived survived surprisingly well. I don't recommend aging any wine this way, and Martini wines are most often designed to drink shortly after time of purchase, but I confess that when a person brings out a Martini from the 1960's or earlier, I'm quite thrilled to give it a try.

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    Heitz Cellars and Raymond Vineyards

    by atufft Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Heitz Cellars Tasting Room
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    These two wineries are not far from each other in the south of St. Helena benchland area where so many European financed wineries are cropping up. Heitz Cellars is an original California boutique winery started in 1961 when there were only twenty in the valley. Today, Joe and Alice are replaced by his son and daughter. The tasting room is easy to find, but the winery itself is off Taplin Road. I recommend buying a bottle or more of Heitz Cellars Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon annually as a collectible, since the same vineyard has reliably produced about the same number of bottles per year for the last thirty-some years. The eucalyptus nose on this wine is unique, and nobody will question its quality when you uncork it. I've tasted a vertical series of this particular wine twice, as well as in comparison with the Bella Oaks Vineyard, the best fall back if a Martha's Vineyard bottle isn't available, and I find that Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon provides a great vintage comparison devoid of major stylistic modifications from year to year. I also have enjoyed the Grignolio on several occasions, but I'm less fond of the other white wines. Heitz Cab is the classic worth the high bottle price.
    Raymond Vineyards has its origins as a long standing California vineyard family who eventually founded a winery. This is a much larger production than Heitz and their wines are very stable from vintage to vintage. The reserve selection of the Cabernet Sauvignon is outstanding, but I also like their Chardonnay. These are mostly made from classic Napa Valley benchland grapes, although Raymond does blend in other grapes for particular wines. Whereas Heitz is likely to be a crowed tasting room, Raymond is more relaxed.

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    Folie-a-Deux and St. Clement

    by atufft Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Folie-a-Deux Tasting Room in 1987
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    Many boutique wineries started a trend in the early 1980's of making wine fun and silly. Folie-a-Deux name is not traditional nor reverent, and in fact are irreverent to the customarily snotty wine snob attitude, an attitude that scares away a lot of American consumers. Despite this, Folie-a-Deux wine quality is no joke, and so larger wineries imitated the effort to make good wine fun. Folie-a-Deux, originally founded by the healthcare professionals Larry and Evie Dizmang focused on Chardonnay mostly, and eventually sold out to the Trinchero Family, inventors of White Zinfandel. Originally, created by a family with a limited budget, the tasting room was also the family living room until a separate home was built nearby. I worked for the the Folie-a-Deux owners one summer, and routinely tasted the wines. At that time, the Chardonnay was highly prized and sought after, while the sparkling wine venture was something of a flop. Since the Trinchero's have purchased the vineyards and tasting room, the interesting experimental blends are still a tradition, but the antique furniture has been moved out of the old farm house. But, check this place out. The knoll where the tasting room is located has a pleasant view across the northern end of the valley.
    St. Clement, a little closer to St. Helena, but still near the Deer Park Road Hwy 29 crossroads area, is more serious and sober, having a rock hewn cellar and claim of tradition dating back to the 19th century. St. Clement makes some outstanding and well polished wines. Recently, the has been a winemaker change, with talented young Danielly Cyrot taking charge. The tasting room is also an old home, though more of a Victorian mansion than a midwest style farmhouse, and so is also a very pleasant place to stop. This place will need a reservation for tour however.

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    Burgess Cellars

    by atufft Updated Feb 15, 2007

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    Burgess Cellars
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    Half way up the Deer Park Road hill toward Angwin, Burgess Cellars and Vineyards hangs onto a great steep hillside with an excellent view. This family owned winery has been a favorite of mine over the years. The steep slope of Howell Mountain on the eastern side of the Napa Valley tends to stress the vines by lack of water and an intense afternoon sunshine. Here, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes produce wines that are concentrated in both fruit and tannin. This balance is important because while tannin is key to creating an ageworthy red, so too is concentrated fruit essense that can outlast the cellar aging process. So, Burgess Cellars is a red wine fan's favorite, as they just produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot, and Syrah. Tasting is by appointment only, but since retail sales are open from 10 - 4 daily, there's always the outside chance of tasting something if you intend to buy. The winery is rarely busy. I've taken great tours of the old redwood and stone cellars, viewing the upright barrels, and such, and really like the hospitality of this winery. Don't expect to taste before youy buy, but if you check out the library collection available for sale, you'll be surprised at how reasonable Burgess Cellar prices are. There's mostly tradition here, without the overdone fan fare of the label artwork and such. Just good wines at reasonable prices. As said, tese are good agers, and I've long been a fan of the Zinfandel style produced by Burgess.

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    Chappellet: On the Eastern Slope of Napa Valley

    by atufft Updated Feb 15, 2007

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    Picnic Grounds at Pritchard Hill Vineyards
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    Whereas the vineyards of Mayacamas mountains west of St. Helena have gravely volcanic soils, a thick arbor of Redwood and Manzanita forests, a relative abundance of rain, and mostly morning sun, the vineyards in the Vaca mountain range east of St. Helena have thin rocky volcanic soils, a thin arbor of an occasional oak tree, minimal rain, and a intense afternoon sun. The Mayacamas range of mountains often produce red grapes of strong tannins, pronounced natural acids, and lower resulting alcohol levels. The Vaca range, in contrast, often produces concentrated fruit and riper grapes with lower acidity. Both areas produce distinctive flavors and winemakers do mix the fruits to make a more balanced wine. Obviously, the blending of resulting wines, particularly with the more abundant supply of benchland grapes from deep soils of the valley floor, can, if properly done, produce great wines, even if somewhat generic in character. This is typically the case for the larger producers, such as Rutherford Hill Winery. However, at Chappellet Winery, the red grapes--Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec--are vinified into character driven estate wines that show the distinctive qualiites of the Vaca Range above St. Helena. The Pritchard Hill Vineyards, the source of Chappellet grapes, claims to use farming techniques that minimize use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The winery picnic grounds have an excellent view of the valley below, and the modern rusty steel roofed winery building is quite spectacular with really great views from the roof. Call the winery to make a reservation for a tour and tasting. The images here are from a wine country tour that I conducted with my California Wine Appreciation students in about 1990.

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    Spring Mountain Wineries

    by atufft Updated Feb 15, 2007

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    Spring Mountain Winery
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    Spring Mountain road branches off the northeast side of St. Helena, and actually will continue all the way over to Sonoma County. It's a curvy road up a steep section of the Mayacamas Mountains, so expect for travel up hill to take a while. However, the rewards at the upper section of Spring Mountain Road are considerable. Spring Mountain Vineyard is the most famous, due to it's prominent role in the soap opera TV series Falcon's Crest. But, I'm actually more fond of the wines at Cain Vineyards and Robert Keenan. Another Spring Mountain Road winery, Smith-Madrone, I have featured on another tip for this page. In any case, these wineries all have web pages that can update you as to their hours, but each has a wonderful vista and some beautiful hillside vineyards. The variety of micro-climates in this area is considerable, but in general this side of the Mayacamas mountain range recieves it's share of rain, and the hillside vineyards are more likely to be shaded by towering redwood and madrone trees. Thus, the focus is more often on rich, age worthy Cabernet, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc blended wines. Most of these wineries, Spring Mountain in particular, will mix in benchland grapes from the valley floor near St. Helena and elsewhere, providing a more accessible wine early on.

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    Rombauer Winery

    by Agraichen Written Aug 17, 2006

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    Wine tasting in Napa is a wonderful way to spend a day or two or....One of the better (in my opinion) wineries in the Napa Valley is Rombauer. The Retail Manager, Jim Kozler, is extremely knowlegeable and enjoys talking about "his" wine and the winery.

    For aviation buffs, there are memorabilia from arount the world on airplanes. The winery owner is a flyer and collects photos and models of planes from around the world.

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    More Spring Mountain Wineries...

    by atufft Written May 3, 2006

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    Smith-Madrone Winery
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    I have here a series of images from a special tasting that I arranged at Smith-Madrone several years back. The winery has a nice park like setting near the winery building, and the views of the Napa Valley floor are spectacular. Here, tractors with wheels are often not able to climb the terraced vineyards, so one may often see an old fashioned tractor with "tracts". We had a chance to talk to the winemaker and check out his equipment. Smith-Madrone also makes an excellent Riesling. While this wine is normally produced by the bulk wineries in the valley (e.g. V. Sattui) to satisfy the hordes of novice consumers who need something sweet on their palate, the riesling of Smith-Madrone is actually quite sophisticated, and moderately age worthy depending upon the vintage.

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    V. Sattui Winery

    by sarahandgareth Written Aug 22, 2003
    V Sattui Winery

    V. Sattui is one of the most popular wineries in the St Helena area - it's carved out quite a niche for itself, despite the fact that you'll never see one of their bottles in your local liquor store. That's because they sell their wine exclusively by mail order or directly in the winery: they don't distribute at all.

    In addition to the winery itself, they have an amazing delicatessen, with an exceptional array of meats, cheeses and other delicacies. That, and the picnic tables outside, make this an extremely popular stop, and by late afternoon, the place can be mobbed.

    We visited, instead, early in the morning one day, when there were only a few people in the tasting area (aided by one polyglot staff member, who switched back and forth between wine advice in English, Spanish, Japanese and Tagalog).

    They have an extensive array of wines - their blush/rosé is especially well-known - and we were especially taken with a Cabernet Sauvignon. We also enjoyed the Madeira, though we weren't as taken with the sweeter white wines.

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    Vincent Arroyo Winery

    by sarahandgareth Written Aug 22, 2003
    The winery

    Vincent Arroyo was one of the first wineries we visited, and one of the best winery experiences we had. It's very much on the smaller end of the winery scale, producing about 6,000 cases annually.

    Back with Vincent first arrived up here, he apparently did pretty much everything himself. These days, though, there are a few other staff, including Debbie (whose initials, DKC, are on their Bordeaux blend). Debbie is the chatty one - Vincent himself doesn't talk all that much, we found, though he was happy to pour wines for us. Between them, they led us through the winery's current production, which was fabulous: this was probably the highest average standard of wine we tasted (nearly every other place had a disappointment or two).

    Sadly, their signature wine, the Petite Sirah, was already sold out, even though they had only bottled it the previous weekend: we fell in love, but they didn't have any for us to take home. We'll just have to go back in time next year...

    In addition to wines, incidentally, we were charmed by their dogs - one a hospitality dog, the other a winemaker with her own label, Joy's Choice!

    The most striking thing about Vincent Arroyo's wines is the price. Despite the small size of the winery, and the calibre of the production, he doesn't ramp up the prices: we were amazed, and delighted, at the value for money.

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  • Beringer Vineyards

    by Rick_Green Written Feb 25, 2003

    Built in 1876 by Frederick and Jacob Beringer, this is one of the oldest wineries in Napa. The Beringers brought the winemaking traditions of their native Germany and dug underground wine tunnels hundreds of feet long that maintain a constant temperature of 58°F. Tours run from 9:30am to 5pm daily with wine tastings conducted at the end in the historic Rhine House, Frederick’s Victorian residence modeled on his ancestral home. Multilingual staff can communicate in French, German, Italian, and sign language.

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