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Chappellet: A Secluded Napa Valley Gem

Chappellet: A Secluded Napa Valley Gem

Located up on Pritchard Hill in a part of Napa Valley that’s far enough from the hustle and bustle that it seems like another world, Chappellet has been producing excellent wine since its founding 50 years ago. As long as I’ve been aware of Napa Valley and its wine culture, I’ve enjoyed what Chappellet has to offer, but it wasn’t until a recent trip to Napa that I made the time to go see the place and taste the wines on site.

Once I arrived at their property, it seemed as if I were hours removed from the traffic that keeps Highway 29 at a crawl on weekend afternoons. In reality, I was just a handful of miles away. The estate is stunning. The winery facility was ahead of its time when constructed and fits in as part of the landscape in a manner that most built at that time simply don’t. My party was greeted by Dominic Chappellet, son of founders Donn and Molly Chappellet. We toured the winery facility, rode around the property, and finally settled in the barrel room to taste a selection of current releases and some older bottles too.

The hospitality offered at Chappellet is infectious; each member of their team I encountered was helpful and naturally gregarious. Over a couple of hours, they shared information about their personal history, Napa in general, and the wine world at large. Every question we asked turned into an engaging and convivial back and forth.

No matter how many wineries I visit, the value of tasting wine in the place it’s made is driven home anew each time. There’s simply no substitute for an estate visit when you want to glean a greater understanding of a winery, especially one with a rich history like Chappellet's. Fifty years is a considerable amount of time in any business. When you consider how small the Napa wine Industry was back in 1967, you’ll appreciate how important a part Chappellet played in earning the region its reputation.

Every offering I tasted at Chappellet well represents the winery's history, as well as the part of Napa the fruit is from. Here’s a peek at my current favorites from the experience:

Chappellet Winery 2015 Chenin Blanc ($32)

Only a few American wineries make a serious stab at chenin blanc. Most that do make one vinify it as fun picnic wine. Lighthearted, drinkable wines make the world go round — but it’s nice to see a winery aim higher too. Lychee fruit and fresh apricot aromas are evident on the nose. The palate is studded with stone fruit and spice, and there's depth to spare. Minerals, spice, and continued intense stone fruit characteristics are in play on the finish. What shines most here is the texture and weighty mouthfeel.

Chappellet Winery 2013 Signature Chardonnay ($45)

Pineapple, toast, and vanilla notes burst from the nose. A parade of orchard fruits, spice, and bits of yeasty crust are evident on the palate. The long finish shows off spice, caramel, and citrus rind. There’s a terrific balance here between fruit and acid that is complemented by the noticeable but non-obtrusive oak.

Chappellet Winery 2014 Merlot ($45)

Oodles of black cherry and earth aromas inform the welcoming nose. Red and black fruit, with cherries in abundance, dominate the palate alongside spice and wisps of dusty dark chocolate. Earth, chicory, and hints of espresso are all evident on the long, firm finish. Racy acid and supple tannins provide terrific structure. This is an impressive and age-worthy example of merlot.

Chappellet Winery 2014 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon ($65)

Black raspberry and cherry aromas are buttressed by bits of black peppercorn, and all three come together to form an intriguing aromatic profile. Red berry fruits interspersed with bits of black fruit continue through the deep, sinewy palate. Dusty cocoa and dried black cherry notes are evident on the long, pleasing finish. Firm tannins and acid provide excellent structure.

Chappellet Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc ($80)

Copious leather and Bing cherry aromas nearly explode from the nose here. The palate is studded with a procession of red and black cherry flavors that are accompanied by spice, earth, and bits of minerals. Dark, dusty chocolate, chicory, and white pepper are all evident on the long finish.

Chappellet Winery Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (N/A)

This is Chappellet's flagship wine. The current vintage is 2014, but this older version, at nearly nine years of age, is still coming to its own. It’s quite delicious, but has decades of age-worthiness ahead of it. Black cherry and raspberry aromas inform the nose alongside hints of toasty oak. The palate brings to mind earth-covered cherries tinged with black pepper. The impossibly long finish shows off baker’s chocolate, chicory, espresso, and bits of red earth. There are many examples of great cabernet sauvignon in Napa Valley, but only a handful truly distinguish themselves as far above the majority; this is one of those.

Next time you’re in Napa, I suggest that you put Chappellet on your short list of must-visit producers. Call ahead for an appointment. You’ll be glad you did.


Napa Valley Road Trip: The Backcountry of Highway 128

Looking to go off-the-beaten-path in Napa Valley? Look no further than California State Route 128 east, also known as Sage Canyon Road, which winds its way through the Vaca Mountain Range and up to Lake Berryessa. On this hidden gem of a road trip you’ll find historic boutique wineries, uncompromised views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The curvy roads and changing topography along the way make for an epic cruise, and you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time to an undiscovered Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil or Shady Oaks Bed & Breakfast would make a great home base to set out and explore this beautiful region.


Start your journey at Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail. As one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations, Conn Creek is focused on what Napa Valley does best: Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks.
Insider tip: Make an appointment for Conn Creek’s internationally-acclaimed Barrel Blending Experience, where guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from many of Napa Valley’s appellations before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending your own bottle to take home.

From Conn Creek, take Hwy 128 heading east and continue for approximately 4.5 miles, following Sage Canyon Road to get to Chappellet Winery. Located on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennessey, Chappellet features some of the best views in the Napa Valley, not to mention spectacular wines.
Insider tip: Make sure your phone is charged because you’ll want to Instagram a shot from atop the hill looking over Lake Hennessey (featured in cover image).

Head back the way you came for about 1.5 miles, then turn right to get back on 128 east. Continue for about 5 miles until you reach Nichelini Family Winery. This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property, and relax with a spirited game of bocce ball before getting back on the road.

Continue your off-the-beaten-path adventure on 128 east for another 3.5 miles until you reach Turtle Rock Bar & Café. With dollar bills adorning the ceiling and walls, this tiny dive bar is a popular oasis for locals and visitors exploring Lake Berryessa.
Insider tip: Leave your mark by hanging a signed dollar bill on the ceiling, and don’t miss the homemade eggrolls, perfect with a cold beer after a day of wine tasting.

End your adventure with a golden hour hike or a peaceful kayak ride at Lake Berryessa, the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long. There are year-round recreational opportunities at this beautiful spot, but spring and summer are obviously the most popular seasons to get up there and enjoy the views.
Insider tip: Grab a cabin or camping spot at Pleasure Cove Marina - where you can also rent a kayak, SUP board, fishing boat, houseboat, or party pontoon - and spend the next day soaking up the lake life.

Looking for a longer adventure? Reverse the route and extend your road trip to explore the entirety of Hwy 128, which stretches all the way west through Sonoma County to the Mendocino Coast - check out a longer, multi-day “Wine to Waves” itinerary here.

Summer Road Trip Pro Tips:

Don’t forget the obvious essentials: Car chargers, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, swimwear, picnic blanket, etc.

Cool it. Don’t forget a cooler for the car to store road trip snacks and purchased wines (you don’t want them overheating in the trunk on a hot day!).

Skip the stilettos. Flat shoes are a must-have for exploring the vineyards, squeezing in a spontaneous hike, or bringing your best bocce game.

Layer up. It can get hot during the summer days, especially in the Lake Berryessa area, but tasting rooms and wine caves can be downright chilly - it’s always best to bring a sweater to combat fluctuating temps.

Rock out. Create a rocking playlist to pump up your road trip crew - if you’re short on time, we love Spotify’s 2019 Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Other Wineries to Explore:

Maxville Winery A visit to Maxville Winery is like stepping into a secluded wine country all your own. With a 35-acre lake, over 1000 acres of pristine Chiles Valley vineyards, and wine tasting experiences that are completely customized, it&aposs like discovering old Napa Valley. Give them a call to create your very own personalized experience!

Kuleto Estate - Located on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley overlooking Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford, this extraordinary mountaintop estate features 82 individual vineyard blocks, three distinctive soil types, and a range of elevations and exposures.

Somerston Estate - The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.

Outdoor Recreation Activities:

Moore Creek Park at Lake Hennessey features 15 miles of dog-friendly trails. There is also a swimming hole at the very top of the trails. The lake also features a new boat dock and kayaking is permitted, but no bodily contact or paddle boarding is permitted, as it is the valley’s drinking water.

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long, with a 2,000-acre wildlife area along its east side. One of the largest bodies of fresh water in California, it offers boating, water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing and other fast-paced water sports, plus quiet coves for kayaking, swimming and fishing. In the summer, the water can reach 75 degrees — the perfect cool-down after a hike or a stroll through sun-drenched vineyards.


Napa Valley Road Trip: The Backcountry of Highway 128

Looking to go off-the-beaten-path in Napa Valley? Look no further than California State Route 128 east, also known as Sage Canyon Road, which winds its way through the Vaca Mountain Range and up to Lake Berryessa. On this hidden gem of a road trip you’ll find historic boutique wineries, uncompromised views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The curvy roads and changing topography along the way make for an epic cruise, and you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time to an undiscovered Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil or Shady Oaks Bed & Breakfast would make a great home base to set out and explore this beautiful region.


Start your journey at Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail. As one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations, Conn Creek is focused on what Napa Valley does best: Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks.
Insider tip: Make an appointment for Conn Creek’s internationally-acclaimed Barrel Blending Experience, where guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from many of Napa Valley’s appellations before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending your own bottle to take home.

From Conn Creek, take Hwy 128 heading east and continue for approximately 4.5 miles, following Sage Canyon Road to get to Chappellet Winery. Located on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennessey, Chappellet features some of the best views in the Napa Valley, not to mention spectacular wines.
Insider tip: Make sure your phone is charged because you’ll want to Instagram a shot from atop the hill looking over Lake Hennessey (featured in cover image).

Head back the way you came for about 1.5 miles, then turn right to get back on 128 east. Continue for about 5 miles until you reach Nichelini Family Winery. This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property, and relax with a spirited game of bocce ball before getting back on the road.

Continue your off-the-beaten-path adventure on 128 east for another 3.5 miles until you reach Turtle Rock Bar & Café. With dollar bills adorning the ceiling and walls, this tiny dive bar is a popular oasis for locals and visitors exploring Lake Berryessa.
Insider tip: Leave your mark by hanging a signed dollar bill on the ceiling, and don’t miss the homemade eggrolls, perfect with a cold beer after a day of wine tasting.

End your adventure with a golden hour hike or a peaceful kayak ride at Lake Berryessa, the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long. There are year-round recreational opportunities at this beautiful spot, but spring and summer are obviously the most popular seasons to get up there and enjoy the views.
Insider tip: Grab a cabin or camping spot at Pleasure Cove Marina - where you can also rent a kayak, SUP board, fishing boat, houseboat, or party pontoon - and spend the next day soaking up the lake life.

Looking for a longer adventure? Reverse the route and extend your road trip to explore the entirety of Hwy 128, which stretches all the way west through Sonoma County to the Mendocino Coast - check out a longer, multi-day “Wine to Waves” itinerary here.

Summer Road Trip Pro Tips:

Don’t forget the obvious essentials: Car chargers, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, swimwear, picnic blanket, etc.

Cool it. Don’t forget a cooler for the car to store road trip snacks and purchased wines (you don’t want them overheating in the trunk on a hot day!).

Skip the stilettos. Flat shoes are a must-have for exploring the vineyards, squeezing in a spontaneous hike, or bringing your best bocce game.

Layer up. It can get hot during the summer days, especially in the Lake Berryessa area, but tasting rooms and wine caves can be downright chilly - it’s always best to bring a sweater to combat fluctuating temps.

Rock out. Create a rocking playlist to pump up your road trip crew - if you’re short on time, we love Spotify’s 2019 Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Other Wineries to Explore:

Maxville Winery A visit to Maxville Winery is like stepping into a secluded wine country all your own. With a 35-acre lake, over 1000 acres of pristine Chiles Valley vineyards, and wine tasting experiences that are completely customized, it&aposs like discovering old Napa Valley. Give them a call to create your very own personalized experience!

Kuleto Estate - Located on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley overlooking Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford, this extraordinary mountaintop estate features 82 individual vineyard blocks, three distinctive soil types, and a range of elevations and exposures.

Somerston Estate - The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.

Outdoor Recreation Activities:

Moore Creek Park at Lake Hennessey features 15 miles of dog-friendly trails. There is also a swimming hole at the very top of the trails. The lake also features a new boat dock and kayaking is permitted, but no bodily contact or paddle boarding is permitted, as it is the valley’s drinking water.

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long, with a 2,000-acre wildlife area along its east side. One of the largest bodies of fresh water in California, it offers boating, water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing and other fast-paced water sports, plus quiet coves for kayaking, swimming and fishing. In the summer, the water can reach 75 degrees — the perfect cool-down after a hike or a stroll through sun-drenched vineyards.


Napa Valley Road Trip: The Backcountry of Highway 128

Looking to go off-the-beaten-path in Napa Valley? Look no further than California State Route 128 east, also known as Sage Canyon Road, which winds its way through the Vaca Mountain Range and up to Lake Berryessa. On this hidden gem of a road trip you’ll find historic boutique wineries, uncompromised views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The curvy roads and changing topography along the way make for an epic cruise, and you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time to an undiscovered Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil or Shady Oaks Bed & Breakfast would make a great home base to set out and explore this beautiful region.


Start your journey at Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail. As one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations, Conn Creek is focused on what Napa Valley does best: Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks.
Insider tip: Make an appointment for Conn Creek’s internationally-acclaimed Barrel Blending Experience, where guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from many of Napa Valley’s appellations before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending your own bottle to take home.

From Conn Creek, take Hwy 128 heading east and continue for approximately 4.5 miles, following Sage Canyon Road to get to Chappellet Winery. Located on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennessey, Chappellet features some of the best views in the Napa Valley, not to mention spectacular wines.
Insider tip: Make sure your phone is charged because you’ll want to Instagram a shot from atop the hill looking over Lake Hennessey (featured in cover image).

Head back the way you came for about 1.5 miles, then turn right to get back on 128 east. Continue for about 5 miles until you reach Nichelini Family Winery. This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property, and relax with a spirited game of bocce ball before getting back on the road.

Continue your off-the-beaten-path adventure on 128 east for another 3.5 miles until you reach Turtle Rock Bar & Café. With dollar bills adorning the ceiling and walls, this tiny dive bar is a popular oasis for locals and visitors exploring Lake Berryessa.
Insider tip: Leave your mark by hanging a signed dollar bill on the ceiling, and don’t miss the homemade eggrolls, perfect with a cold beer after a day of wine tasting.

End your adventure with a golden hour hike or a peaceful kayak ride at Lake Berryessa, the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long. There are year-round recreational opportunities at this beautiful spot, but spring and summer are obviously the most popular seasons to get up there and enjoy the views.
Insider tip: Grab a cabin or camping spot at Pleasure Cove Marina - where you can also rent a kayak, SUP board, fishing boat, houseboat, or party pontoon - and spend the next day soaking up the lake life.

Looking for a longer adventure? Reverse the route and extend your road trip to explore the entirety of Hwy 128, which stretches all the way west through Sonoma County to the Mendocino Coast - check out a longer, multi-day “Wine to Waves” itinerary here.

Summer Road Trip Pro Tips:

Don’t forget the obvious essentials: Car chargers, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, swimwear, picnic blanket, etc.

Cool it. Don’t forget a cooler for the car to store road trip snacks and purchased wines (you don’t want them overheating in the trunk on a hot day!).

Skip the stilettos. Flat shoes are a must-have for exploring the vineyards, squeezing in a spontaneous hike, or bringing your best bocce game.

Layer up. It can get hot during the summer days, especially in the Lake Berryessa area, but tasting rooms and wine caves can be downright chilly - it’s always best to bring a sweater to combat fluctuating temps.

Rock out. Create a rocking playlist to pump up your road trip crew - if you’re short on time, we love Spotify’s 2019 Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Other Wineries to Explore:

Maxville Winery A visit to Maxville Winery is like stepping into a secluded wine country all your own. With a 35-acre lake, over 1000 acres of pristine Chiles Valley vineyards, and wine tasting experiences that are completely customized, it&aposs like discovering old Napa Valley. Give them a call to create your very own personalized experience!

Kuleto Estate - Located on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley overlooking Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford, this extraordinary mountaintop estate features 82 individual vineyard blocks, three distinctive soil types, and a range of elevations and exposures.

Somerston Estate - The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.

Outdoor Recreation Activities:

Moore Creek Park at Lake Hennessey features 15 miles of dog-friendly trails. There is also a swimming hole at the very top of the trails. The lake also features a new boat dock and kayaking is permitted, but no bodily contact or paddle boarding is permitted, as it is the valley’s drinking water.

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long, with a 2,000-acre wildlife area along its east side. One of the largest bodies of fresh water in California, it offers boating, water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing and other fast-paced water sports, plus quiet coves for kayaking, swimming and fishing. In the summer, the water can reach 75 degrees — the perfect cool-down after a hike or a stroll through sun-drenched vineyards.


Napa Valley Road Trip: The Backcountry of Highway 128

Looking to go off-the-beaten-path in Napa Valley? Look no further than California State Route 128 east, also known as Sage Canyon Road, which winds its way through the Vaca Mountain Range and up to Lake Berryessa. On this hidden gem of a road trip you’ll find historic boutique wineries, uncompromised views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The curvy roads and changing topography along the way make for an epic cruise, and you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time to an undiscovered Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil or Shady Oaks Bed & Breakfast would make a great home base to set out and explore this beautiful region.


Start your journey at Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail. As one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations, Conn Creek is focused on what Napa Valley does best: Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks.
Insider tip: Make an appointment for Conn Creek’s internationally-acclaimed Barrel Blending Experience, where guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from many of Napa Valley’s appellations before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending your own bottle to take home.

From Conn Creek, take Hwy 128 heading east and continue for approximately 4.5 miles, following Sage Canyon Road to get to Chappellet Winery. Located on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennessey, Chappellet features some of the best views in the Napa Valley, not to mention spectacular wines.
Insider tip: Make sure your phone is charged because you’ll want to Instagram a shot from atop the hill looking over Lake Hennessey (featured in cover image).

Head back the way you came for about 1.5 miles, then turn right to get back on 128 east. Continue for about 5 miles until you reach Nichelini Family Winery. This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property, and relax with a spirited game of bocce ball before getting back on the road.

Continue your off-the-beaten-path adventure on 128 east for another 3.5 miles until you reach Turtle Rock Bar & Café. With dollar bills adorning the ceiling and walls, this tiny dive bar is a popular oasis for locals and visitors exploring Lake Berryessa.
Insider tip: Leave your mark by hanging a signed dollar bill on the ceiling, and don’t miss the homemade eggrolls, perfect with a cold beer after a day of wine tasting.

End your adventure with a golden hour hike or a peaceful kayak ride at Lake Berryessa, the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long. There are year-round recreational opportunities at this beautiful spot, but spring and summer are obviously the most popular seasons to get up there and enjoy the views.
Insider tip: Grab a cabin or camping spot at Pleasure Cove Marina - where you can also rent a kayak, SUP board, fishing boat, houseboat, or party pontoon - and spend the next day soaking up the lake life.

Looking for a longer adventure? Reverse the route and extend your road trip to explore the entirety of Hwy 128, which stretches all the way west through Sonoma County to the Mendocino Coast - check out a longer, multi-day “Wine to Waves” itinerary here.

Summer Road Trip Pro Tips:

Don’t forget the obvious essentials: Car chargers, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, swimwear, picnic blanket, etc.

Cool it. Don’t forget a cooler for the car to store road trip snacks and purchased wines (you don’t want them overheating in the trunk on a hot day!).

Skip the stilettos. Flat shoes are a must-have for exploring the vineyards, squeezing in a spontaneous hike, or bringing your best bocce game.

Layer up. It can get hot during the summer days, especially in the Lake Berryessa area, but tasting rooms and wine caves can be downright chilly - it’s always best to bring a sweater to combat fluctuating temps.

Rock out. Create a rocking playlist to pump up your road trip crew - if you’re short on time, we love Spotify’s 2019 Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Other Wineries to Explore:

Maxville Winery A visit to Maxville Winery is like stepping into a secluded wine country all your own. With a 35-acre lake, over 1000 acres of pristine Chiles Valley vineyards, and wine tasting experiences that are completely customized, it&aposs like discovering old Napa Valley. Give them a call to create your very own personalized experience!

Kuleto Estate - Located on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley overlooking Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford, this extraordinary mountaintop estate features 82 individual vineyard blocks, three distinctive soil types, and a range of elevations and exposures.

Somerston Estate - The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.

Outdoor Recreation Activities:

Moore Creek Park at Lake Hennessey features 15 miles of dog-friendly trails. There is also a swimming hole at the very top of the trails. The lake also features a new boat dock and kayaking is permitted, but no bodily contact or paddle boarding is permitted, as it is the valley’s drinking water.

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long, with a 2,000-acre wildlife area along its east side. One of the largest bodies of fresh water in California, it offers boating, water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing and other fast-paced water sports, plus quiet coves for kayaking, swimming and fishing. In the summer, the water can reach 75 degrees — the perfect cool-down after a hike or a stroll through sun-drenched vineyards.


Napa Valley Road Trip: The Backcountry of Highway 128

Looking to go off-the-beaten-path in Napa Valley? Look no further than California State Route 128 east, also known as Sage Canyon Road, which winds its way through the Vaca Mountain Range and up to Lake Berryessa. On this hidden gem of a road trip you’ll find historic boutique wineries, uncompromised views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The curvy roads and changing topography along the way make for an epic cruise, and you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time to an undiscovered Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil or Shady Oaks Bed & Breakfast would make a great home base to set out and explore this beautiful region.


Start your journey at Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail. As one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations, Conn Creek is focused on what Napa Valley does best: Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks.
Insider tip: Make an appointment for Conn Creek’s internationally-acclaimed Barrel Blending Experience, where guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from many of Napa Valley’s appellations before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending your own bottle to take home.

From Conn Creek, take Hwy 128 heading east and continue for approximately 4.5 miles, following Sage Canyon Road to get to Chappellet Winery. Located on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennessey, Chappellet features some of the best views in the Napa Valley, not to mention spectacular wines.
Insider tip: Make sure your phone is charged because you’ll want to Instagram a shot from atop the hill looking over Lake Hennessey (featured in cover image).

Head back the way you came for about 1.5 miles, then turn right to get back on 128 east. Continue for about 5 miles until you reach Nichelini Family Winery. This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property, and relax with a spirited game of bocce ball before getting back on the road.

Continue your off-the-beaten-path adventure on 128 east for another 3.5 miles until you reach Turtle Rock Bar & Café. With dollar bills adorning the ceiling and walls, this tiny dive bar is a popular oasis for locals and visitors exploring Lake Berryessa.
Insider tip: Leave your mark by hanging a signed dollar bill on the ceiling, and don’t miss the homemade eggrolls, perfect with a cold beer after a day of wine tasting.

End your adventure with a golden hour hike or a peaceful kayak ride at Lake Berryessa, the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long. There are year-round recreational opportunities at this beautiful spot, but spring and summer are obviously the most popular seasons to get up there and enjoy the views.
Insider tip: Grab a cabin or camping spot at Pleasure Cove Marina - where you can also rent a kayak, SUP board, fishing boat, houseboat, or party pontoon - and spend the next day soaking up the lake life.

Looking for a longer adventure? Reverse the route and extend your road trip to explore the entirety of Hwy 128, which stretches all the way west through Sonoma County to the Mendocino Coast - check out a longer, multi-day “Wine to Waves” itinerary here.

Summer Road Trip Pro Tips:

Don’t forget the obvious essentials: Car chargers, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, swimwear, picnic blanket, etc.

Cool it. Don’t forget a cooler for the car to store road trip snacks and purchased wines (you don’t want them overheating in the trunk on a hot day!).

Skip the stilettos. Flat shoes are a must-have for exploring the vineyards, squeezing in a spontaneous hike, or bringing your best bocce game.

Layer up. It can get hot during the summer days, especially in the Lake Berryessa area, but tasting rooms and wine caves can be downright chilly - it’s always best to bring a sweater to combat fluctuating temps.

Rock out. Create a rocking playlist to pump up your road trip crew - if you’re short on time, we love Spotify’s 2019 Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Other Wineries to Explore:

Maxville Winery A visit to Maxville Winery is like stepping into a secluded wine country all your own. With a 35-acre lake, over 1000 acres of pristine Chiles Valley vineyards, and wine tasting experiences that are completely customized, it&aposs like discovering old Napa Valley. Give them a call to create your very own personalized experience!

Kuleto Estate - Located on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley overlooking Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford, this extraordinary mountaintop estate features 82 individual vineyard blocks, three distinctive soil types, and a range of elevations and exposures.

Somerston Estate - The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.

Outdoor Recreation Activities:

Moore Creek Park at Lake Hennessey features 15 miles of dog-friendly trails. There is also a swimming hole at the very top of the trails. The lake also features a new boat dock and kayaking is permitted, but no bodily contact or paddle boarding is permitted, as it is the valley’s drinking water.

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long, with a 2,000-acre wildlife area along its east side. One of the largest bodies of fresh water in California, it offers boating, water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing and other fast-paced water sports, plus quiet coves for kayaking, swimming and fishing. In the summer, the water can reach 75 degrees — the perfect cool-down after a hike or a stroll through sun-drenched vineyards.


Napa Valley Road Trip: The Backcountry of Highway 128

Looking to go off-the-beaten-path in Napa Valley? Look no further than California State Route 128 east, also known as Sage Canyon Road, which winds its way through the Vaca Mountain Range and up to Lake Berryessa. On this hidden gem of a road trip you’ll find historic boutique wineries, uncompromised views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The curvy roads and changing topography along the way make for an epic cruise, and you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time to an undiscovered Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil or Shady Oaks Bed & Breakfast would make a great home base to set out and explore this beautiful region.


Start your journey at Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail. As one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations, Conn Creek is focused on what Napa Valley does best: Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks.
Insider tip: Make an appointment for Conn Creek’s internationally-acclaimed Barrel Blending Experience, where guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from many of Napa Valley’s appellations before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending your own bottle to take home.

From Conn Creek, take Hwy 128 heading east and continue for approximately 4.5 miles, following Sage Canyon Road to get to Chappellet Winery. Located on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennessey, Chappellet features some of the best views in the Napa Valley, not to mention spectacular wines.
Insider tip: Make sure your phone is charged because you’ll want to Instagram a shot from atop the hill looking over Lake Hennessey (featured in cover image).

Head back the way you came for about 1.5 miles, then turn right to get back on 128 east. Continue for about 5 miles until you reach Nichelini Family Winery. This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property, and relax with a spirited game of bocce ball before getting back on the road.

Continue your off-the-beaten-path adventure on 128 east for another 3.5 miles until you reach Turtle Rock Bar & Café. With dollar bills adorning the ceiling and walls, this tiny dive bar is a popular oasis for locals and visitors exploring Lake Berryessa.
Insider tip: Leave your mark by hanging a signed dollar bill on the ceiling, and don’t miss the homemade eggrolls, perfect with a cold beer after a day of wine tasting.

End your adventure with a golden hour hike or a peaceful kayak ride at Lake Berryessa, the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long. There are year-round recreational opportunities at this beautiful spot, but spring and summer are obviously the most popular seasons to get up there and enjoy the views.
Insider tip: Grab a cabin or camping spot at Pleasure Cove Marina - where you can also rent a kayak, SUP board, fishing boat, houseboat, or party pontoon - and spend the next day soaking up the lake life.

Looking for a longer adventure? Reverse the route and extend your road trip to explore the entirety of Hwy 128, which stretches all the way west through Sonoma County to the Mendocino Coast - check out a longer, multi-day “Wine to Waves” itinerary here.

Summer Road Trip Pro Tips:

Don’t forget the obvious essentials: Car chargers, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, swimwear, picnic blanket, etc.

Cool it. Don’t forget a cooler for the car to store road trip snacks and purchased wines (you don’t want them overheating in the trunk on a hot day!).

Skip the stilettos. Flat shoes are a must-have for exploring the vineyards, squeezing in a spontaneous hike, or bringing your best bocce game.

Layer up. It can get hot during the summer days, especially in the Lake Berryessa area, but tasting rooms and wine caves can be downright chilly - it’s always best to bring a sweater to combat fluctuating temps.

Rock out. Create a rocking playlist to pump up your road trip crew - if you’re short on time, we love Spotify’s 2019 Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Other Wineries to Explore:

Maxville Winery A visit to Maxville Winery is like stepping into a secluded wine country all your own. With a 35-acre lake, over 1000 acres of pristine Chiles Valley vineyards, and wine tasting experiences that are completely customized, it&aposs like discovering old Napa Valley. Give them a call to create your very own personalized experience!

Kuleto Estate - Located on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley overlooking Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford, this extraordinary mountaintop estate features 82 individual vineyard blocks, three distinctive soil types, and a range of elevations and exposures.

Somerston Estate - The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.

Outdoor Recreation Activities:

Moore Creek Park at Lake Hennessey features 15 miles of dog-friendly trails. There is also a swimming hole at the very top of the trails. The lake also features a new boat dock and kayaking is permitted, but no bodily contact or paddle boarding is permitted, as it is the valley’s drinking water.

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long, with a 2,000-acre wildlife area along its east side. One of the largest bodies of fresh water in California, it offers boating, water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing and other fast-paced water sports, plus quiet coves for kayaking, swimming and fishing. In the summer, the water can reach 75 degrees — the perfect cool-down after a hike or a stroll through sun-drenched vineyards.


Napa Valley Road Trip: The Backcountry of Highway 128

Looking to go off-the-beaten-path in Napa Valley? Look no further than California State Route 128 east, also known as Sage Canyon Road, which winds its way through the Vaca Mountain Range and up to Lake Berryessa. On this hidden gem of a road trip you’ll find historic boutique wineries, uncompromised views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The curvy roads and changing topography along the way make for an epic cruise, and you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time to an undiscovered Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil or Shady Oaks Bed & Breakfast would make a great home base to set out and explore this beautiful region.


Start your journey at Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail. As one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations, Conn Creek is focused on what Napa Valley does best: Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks.
Insider tip: Make an appointment for Conn Creek’s internationally-acclaimed Barrel Blending Experience, where guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from many of Napa Valley’s appellations before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending your own bottle to take home.

From Conn Creek, take Hwy 128 heading east and continue for approximately 4.5 miles, following Sage Canyon Road to get to Chappellet Winery. Located on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennessey, Chappellet features some of the best views in the Napa Valley, not to mention spectacular wines.
Insider tip: Make sure your phone is charged because you’ll want to Instagram a shot from atop the hill looking over Lake Hennessey (featured in cover image).

Head back the way you came for about 1.5 miles, then turn right to get back on 128 east. Continue for about 5 miles until you reach Nichelini Family Winery. This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property, and relax with a spirited game of bocce ball before getting back on the road.

Continue your off-the-beaten-path adventure on 128 east for another 3.5 miles until you reach Turtle Rock Bar & Café. With dollar bills adorning the ceiling and walls, this tiny dive bar is a popular oasis for locals and visitors exploring Lake Berryessa.
Insider tip: Leave your mark by hanging a signed dollar bill on the ceiling, and don’t miss the homemade eggrolls, perfect with a cold beer after a day of wine tasting.

End your adventure with a golden hour hike or a peaceful kayak ride at Lake Berryessa, the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long. There are year-round recreational opportunities at this beautiful spot, but spring and summer are obviously the most popular seasons to get up there and enjoy the views.
Insider tip: Grab a cabin or camping spot at Pleasure Cove Marina - where you can also rent a kayak, SUP board, fishing boat, houseboat, or party pontoon - and spend the next day soaking up the lake life.

Looking for a longer adventure? Reverse the route and extend your road trip to explore the entirety of Hwy 128, which stretches all the way west through Sonoma County to the Mendocino Coast - check out a longer, multi-day “Wine to Waves” itinerary here.

Summer Road Trip Pro Tips:

Don’t forget the obvious essentials: Car chargers, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, swimwear, picnic blanket, etc.

Cool it. Don’t forget a cooler for the car to store road trip snacks and purchased wines (you don’t want them overheating in the trunk on a hot day!).

Skip the stilettos. Flat shoes are a must-have for exploring the vineyards, squeezing in a spontaneous hike, or bringing your best bocce game.

Layer up. It can get hot during the summer days, especially in the Lake Berryessa area, but tasting rooms and wine caves can be downright chilly - it’s always best to bring a sweater to combat fluctuating temps.

Rock out. Create a rocking playlist to pump up your road trip crew - if you’re short on time, we love Spotify’s 2019 Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Other Wineries to Explore:

Maxville Winery A visit to Maxville Winery is like stepping into a secluded wine country all your own. With a 35-acre lake, over 1000 acres of pristine Chiles Valley vineyards, and wine tasting experiences that are completely customized, it&aposs like discovering old Napa Valley. Give them a call to create your very own personalized experience!

Kuleto Estate - Located on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley overlooking Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford, this extraordinary mountaintop estate features 82 individual vineyard blocks, three distinctive soil types, and a range of elevations and exposures.

Somerston Estate - The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.

Outdoor Recreation Activities:

Moore Creek Park at Lake Hennessey features 15 miles of dog-friendly trails. There is also a swimming hole at the very top of the trails. The lake also features a new boat dock and kayaking is permitted, but no bodily contact or paddle boarding is permitted, as it is the valley’s drinking water.

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long, with a 2,000-acre wildlife area along its east side. One of the largest bodies of fresh water in California, it offers boating, water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing and other fast-paced water sports, plus quiet coves for kayaking, swimming and fishing. In the summer, the water can reach 75 degrees — the perfect cool-down after a hike or a stroll through sun-drenched vineyards.


Napa Valley Road Trip: The Backcountry of Highway 128

Looking to go off-the-beaten-path in Napa Valley? Look no further than California State Route 128 east, also known as Sage Canyon Road, which winds its way through the Vaca Mountain Range and up to Lake Berryessa. On this hidden gem of a road trip you’ll find historic boutique wineries, uncompromised views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The curvy roads and changing topography along the way make for an epic cruise, and you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time to an undiscovered Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil or Shady Oaks Bed & Breakfast would make a great home base to set out and explore this beautiful region.


Start your journey at Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail. As one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations, Conn Creek is focused on what Napa Valley does best: Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks.
Insider tip: Make an appointment for Conn Creek’s internationally-acclaimed Barrel Blending Experience, where guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from many of Napa Valley’s appellations before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending your own bottle to take home.

From Conn Creek, take Hwy 128 heading east and continue for approximately 4.5 miles, following Sage Canyon Road to get to Chappellet Winery. Located on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennessey, Chappellet features some of the best views in the Napa Valley, not to mention spectacular wines.
Insider tip: Make sure your phone is charged because you’ll want to Instagram a shot from atop the hill looking over Lake Hennessey (featured in cover image).

Head back the way you came for about 1.5 miles, then turn right to get back on 128 east. Continue for about 5 miles until you reach Nichelini Family Winery. This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property, and relax with a spirited game of bocce ball before getting back on the road.

Continue your off-the-beaten-path adventure on 128 east for another 3.5 miles until you reach Turtle Rock Bar & Café. With dollar bills adorning the ceiling and walls, this tiny dive bar is a popular oasis for locals and visitors exploring Lake Berryessa.
Insider tip: Leave your mark by hanging a signed dollar bill on the ceiling, and don’t miss the homemade eggrolls, perfect with a cold beer after a day of wine tasting.

End your adventure with a golden hour hike or a peaceful kayak ride at Lake Berryessa, the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long. There are year-round recreational opportunities at this beautiful spot, but spring and summer are obviously the most popular seasons to get up there and enjoy the views.
Insider tip: Grab a cabin or camping spot at Pleasure Cove Marina - where you can also rent a kayak, SUP board, fishing boat, houseboat, or party pontoon - and spend the next day soaking up the lake life.

Looking for a longer adventure? Reverse the route and extend your road trip to explore the entirety of Hwy 128, which stretches all the way west through Sonoma County to the Mendocino Coast - check out a longer, multi-day “Wine to Waves” itinerary here.

Summer Road Trip Pro Tips:

Don’t forget the obvious essentials: Car chargers, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, swimwear, picnic blanket, etc.

Cool it. Don’t forget a cooler for the car to store road trip snacks and purchased wines (you don’t want them overheating in the trunk on a hot day!).

Skip the stilettos. Flat shoes are a must-have for exploring the vineyards, squeezing in a spontaneous hike, or bringing your best bocce game.

Layer up. It can get hot during the summer days, especially in the Lake Berryessa area, but tasting rooms and wine caves can be downright chilly - it’s always best to bring a sweater to combat fluctuating temps.

Rock out. Create a rocking playlist to pump up your road trip crew - if you’re short on time, we love Spotify’s 2019 Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Other Wineries to Explore:

Maxville Winery A visit to Maxville Winery is like stepping into a secluded wine country all your own. With a 35-acre lake, over 1000 acres of pristine Chiles Valley vineyards, and wine tasting experiences that are completely customized, it&aposs like discovering old Napa Valley. Give them a call to create your very own personalized experience!

Kuleto Estate - Located on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley overlooking Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford, this extraordinary mountaintop estate features 82 individual vineyard blocks, three distinctive soil types, and a range of elevations and exposures.

Somerston Estate - The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.

Outdoor Recreation Activities:

Moore Creek Park at Lake Hennessey features 15 miles of dog-friendly trails. There is also a swimming hole at the very top of the trails. The lake also features a new boat dock and kayaking is permitted, but no bodily contact or paddle boarding is permitted, as it is the valley’s drinking water.

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long, with a 2,000-acre wildlife area along its east side. One of the largest bodies of fresh water in California, it offers boating, water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing and other fast-paced water sports, plus quiet coves for kayaking, swimming and fishing. In the summer, the water can reach 75 degrees — the perfect cool-down after a hike or a stroll through sun-drenched vineyards.


Napa Valley Road Trip: The Backcountry of Highway 128

Looking to go off-the-beaten-path in Napa Valley? Look no further than California State Route 128 east, also known as Sage Canyon Road, which winds its way through the Vaca Mountain Range and up to Lake Berryessa. On this hidden gem of a road trip you’ll find historic boutique wineries, uncompromised views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The curvy roads and changing topography along the way make for an epic cruise, and you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time to an undiscovered Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil or Shady Oaks Bed & Breakfast would make a great home base to set out and explore this beautiful region.


Start your journey at Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail. As one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations, Conn Creek is focused on what Napa Valley does best: Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks.
Insider tip: Make an appointment for Conn Creek’s internationally-acclaimed Barrel Blending Experience, where guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from many of Napa Valley’s appellations before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending your own bottle to take home.

From Conn Creek, take Hwy 128 heading east and continue for approximately 4.5 miles, following Sage Canyon Road to get to Chappellet Winery. Located on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennessey, Chappellet features some of the best views in the Napa Valley, not to mention spectacular wines.
Insider tip: Make sure your phone is charged because you’ll want to Instagram a shot from atop the hill looking over Lake Hennessey (featured in cover image).

Head back the way you came for about 1.5 miles, then turn right to get back on 128 east. Continue for about 5 miles until you reach Nichelini Family Winery. This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property, and relax with a spirited game of bocce ball before getting back on the road.

Continue your off-the-beaten-path adventure on 128 east for another 3.5 miles until you reach Turtle Rock Bar & Café. With dollar bills adorning the ceiling and walls, this tiny dive bar is a popular oasis for locals and visitors exploring Lake Berryessa.
Insider tip: Leave your mark by hanging a signed dollar bill on the ceiling, and don’t miss the homemade eggrolls, perfect with a cold beer after a day of wine tasting.

End your adventure with a golden hour hike or a peaceful kayak ride at Lake Berryessa, the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long. There are year-round recreational opportunities at this beautiful spot, but spring and summer are obviously the most popular seasons to get up there and enjoy the views.
Insider tip: Grab a cabin or camping spot at Pleasure Cove Marina - where you can also rent a kayak, SUP board, fishing boat, houseboat, or party pontoon - and spend the next day soaking up the lake life.

Looking for a longer adventure? Reverse the route and extend your road trip to explore the entirety of Hwy 128, which stretches all the way west through Sonoma County to the Mendocino Coast - check out a longer, multi-day “Wine to Waves” itinerary here.

Summer Road Trip Pro Tips:

Don’t forget the obvious essentials: Car chargers, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, swimwear, picnic blanket, etc.

Cool it. Don’t forget a cooler for the car to store road trip snacks and purchased wines (you don’t want them overheating in the trunk on a hot day!).

Skip the stilettos. Flat shoes are a must-have for exploring the vineyards, squeezing in a spontaneous hike, or bringing your best bocce game.

Layer up. It can get hot during the summer days, especially in the Lake Berryessa area, but tasting rooms and wine caves can be downright chilly - it’s always best to bring a sweater to combat fluctuating temps.

Rock out. Create a rocking playlist to pump up your road trip crew - if you’re short on time, we love Spotify’s 2019 Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Other Wineries to Explore:

Maxville Winery A visit to Maxville Winery is like stepping into a secluded wine country all your own. With a 35-acre lake, over 1000 acres of pristine Chiles Valley vineyards, and wine tasting experiences that are completely customized, it&aposs like discovering old Napa Valley. Give them a call to create your very own personalized experience!

Kuleto Estate - Located on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley overlooking Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford, this extraordinary mountaintop estate features 82 individual vineyard blocks, three distinctive soil types, and a range of elevations and exposures.

Somerston Estate - The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.

Outdoor Recreation Activities:

Moore Creek Park at Lake Hennessey features 15 miles of dog-friendly trails. There is also a swimming hole at the very top of the trails. The lake also features a new boat dock and kayaking is permitted, but no bodily contact or paddle boarding is permitted, as it is the valley’s drinking water.

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long, with a 2,000-acre wildlife area along its east side. One of the largest bodies of fresh water in California, it offers boating, water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing and other fast-paced water sports, plus quiet coves for kayaking, swimming and fishing. In the summer, the water can reach 75 degrees — the perfect cool-down after a hike or a stroll through sun-drenched vineyards.


Napa Valley Road Trip: The Backcountry of Highway 128

Looking to go off-the-beaten-path in Napa Valley? Look no further than California State Route 128 east, also known as Sage Canyon Road, which winds its way through the Vaca Mountain Range and up to Lake Berryessa. On this hidden gem of a road trip you’ll find historic boutique wineries, uncompromised views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The curvy roads and changing topography along the way make for an epic cruise, and you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time to an undiscovered Napa Valley.

Auberge du Soleil or Shady Oaks Bed & Breakfast would make a great home base to set out and explore this beautiful region.


Start your journey at Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail. As one of the only wineries to source Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from nearly all of the Napa Valley’s distinct appellations, Conn Creek is focused on what Napa Valley does best: Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The energy-efficient facility was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley and includes 12”-thick walls made of Styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks.
Insider tip: Make an appointment for Conn Creek’s internationally-acclaimed Barrel Blending Experience, where guests are invited to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from many of Napa Valley’s appellations before becoming “winemaker for a day” and blending your own bottle to take home.

From Conn Creek, take Hwy 128 heading east and continue for approximately 4.5 miles, following Sage Canyon Road to get to Chappellet Winery. Located on Pritchard Hill overlooking Lake Hennessey, Chappellet features some of the best views in the Napa Valley, not to mention spectacular wines.
Insider tip: Make sure your phone is charged because you’ll want to Instagram a shot from atop the hill looking over Lake Hennessey (featured in cover image).

Head back the way you came for about 1.5 miles, then turn right to get back on 128 east. Continue for about 5 miles until you reach Nichelini Family Winery. This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property, and relax with a spirited game of bocce ball before getting back on the road.

Continue your off-the-beaten-path adventure on 128 east for another 3.5 miles until you reach Turtle Rock Bar & Café. With dollar bills adorning the ceiling and walls, this tiny dive bar is a popular oasis for locals and visitors exploring Lake Berryessa.
Insider tip: Leave your mark by hanging a signed dollar bill on the ceiling, and don’t miss the homemade eggrolls, perfect with a cold beer after a day of wine tasting.

End your adventure with a golden hour hike or a peaceful kayak ride at Lake Berryessa, the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long. There are year-round recreational opportunities at this beautiful spot, but spring and summer are obviously the most popular seasons to get up there and enjoy the views.
Insider tip: Grab a cabin or camping spot at Pleasure Cove Marina - where you can also rent a kayak, SUP board, fishing boat, houseboat, or party pontoon - and spend the next day soaking up the lake life.

Looking for a longer adventure? Reverse the route and extend your road trip to explore the entirety of Hwy 128, which stretches all the way west through Sonoma County to the Mendocino Coast - check out a longer, multi-day “Wine to Waves” itinerary here.

Summer Road Trip Pro Tips:

Don’t forget the obvious essentials: Car chargers, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, swimwear, picnic blanket, etc.

Cool it. Don’t forget a cooler for the car to store road trip snacks and purchased wines (you don’t want them overheating in the trunk on a hot day!).

Skip the stilettos. Flat shoes are a must-have for exploring the vineyards, squeezing in a spontaneous hike, or bringing your best bocce game.

Layer up. It can get hot during the summer days, especially in the Lake Berryessa area, but tasting rooms and wine caves can be downright chilly - it’s always best to bring a sweater to combat fluctuating temps.

Rock out. Create a rocking playlist to pump up your road trip crew - if you’re short on time, we love Spotify’s 2019 Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Other Wineries to Explore:

Maxville Winery A visit to Maxville Winery is like stepping into a secluded wine country all your own. With a 35-acre lake, over 1000 acres of pristine Chiles Valley vineyards, and wine tasting experiences that are completely customized, it&aposs like discovering old Napa Valley. Give them a call to create your very own personalized experience!

Kuleto Estate - Located on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley overlooking Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford, this extraordinary mountaintop estate features 82 individual vineyard blocks, three distinctive soil types, and a range of elevations and exposures.

Somerston Estate - The Estate is a secluded property high in the Vaca Mountains of the eastern Napa Valley. They focus on producing Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the quality and unique nature of their property. This 1,628-acre property includes over 225 acres of sustainably farmed hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 feet to 2,400 feet.

Outdoor Recreation Activities:

Moore Creek Park at Lake Hennessey features 15 miles of dog-friendly trails. There is also a swimming hole at the very top of the trails. The lake also features a new boat dock and kayaking is permitted, but no bodily contact or paddle boarding is permitted, as it is the valley’s drinking water.

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County at 23 miles long, with a 2,000-acre wildlife area along its east side. One of the largest bodies of fresh water in California, it offers boating, water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing and other fast-paced water sports, plus quiet coves for kayaking, swimming and fishing. In the summer, the water can reach 75 degrees — the perfect cool-down after a hike or a stroll through sun-drenched vineyards.


Watch the video: 2017 Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay (September 2021).