TOP 25 WINERIES Spring 2021: Best Bay Area Wineries to Visit


Esther Mobley

Going wine tasting is one of the great Bay Area pastimes. Visiting a winery here is a chance to experience so many of the features that make this region special: the land’s natural beauty, a rich tradition of artisanal craftsmanship, and a deep, abiding love for eating and drinking deliciously.

Best of all, world-class wines are now made in all corners of the Bay Area — not just in the famous appellations of Napa and Sonoma counties, but also on mountains overlooking Silicon Valley and in former military bases in the East Bay. Today’s Wine Country consists not only of palatial estates overlooking vineyards but also sleek tasting bars in downtown squares, industrial warehouses, and, increasingly, sidewalks and parking lots, as urban wineries adapt to the needs of the COVID-19 era.

This list represents our favorite 25 wineries in the Bay Area to visit right now. The wineries here produce excellent bottles, of course, but we’ve also chosen them for the experiences they offer — whether that involves striking scenery, succulent food pairings or, ever more important, thoughtful safety precautions.

Mayacamas Vineyards

A downtown Napa outpost for classic, mountain-grown Cabernet and Chardonnay.

The Mayacamas estate is located 2,400 feet high on Mount Veeder, in the western hillsides of Napa Valley. Diehard fans of this historic winery’s rugged, chewy Cabernet Sauvignon and energetic Chardonnay can arrange to visit the mountain property for a $115 fee, but for those not quite ready to brave the mountain roads, there’s the downtown Napa tasting room, which feels like a chic wine bar. The outdoor seating on First Street offers prime opportunities for people watching, and the $35 basic tasting feels exceedingly fairly priced for these wines. (That tasting gets you a pour of the current vintage of Mayacamas’ Cabernet Sauvignon, a bottle of which goes for $135.) Older bottles of Mayacamas are available here, too, if you’re curious to see how these concentrated wines hold up after a decade or two. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Mayacamas Chardonnay, which balances fresh, salty notes with intense, ripe fruit flavors. It just might be the sleeper hit.

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