In Wine Country, a cave is more than a cave: It's a magical place where wine quietly chills out to age gracefully.

Despite the ubiquity of world-class wine producers in Napa and Sonoma, wine caves—especially those that can be visited by the tasting public—are relatively few and far between. Head underground for a unique look at behind-the-scenes wine production and a taste from a classically aged barrel at these 12 wineries (one of them even has a waterfall!).

Cellar 47 at Pine Ridge Vineyards.(Courtesy of Pine Ridge)

Pine Ridge Vineyards

The centerpiece of Pine Ridge Vineyards' network of hillside caves is Cellar 47, a VIP tasting venue decorated with soft lighting, inviting furnishings, and sculptures by the glass magician Dale Chihuly. In their exclusive Savor Pine Ridge tour, wine educators take guests underground for a walk through five estate cabernet sauvignons—including the Howell Mountain Cab, with its lush, later-harvest flavors of cassis, blackberry, and dark chocolate—in one of Napa Valley's best cave tours. Small bites by winery chef Susan Lassalette are prepared to perfectly complement each sip ($125/person, reservations required). // 5901 Silverado Trail (Napa), pineridgevineyards.com

Schramsberg Vineyards

If you're considering popping the question to your S.O., a candlelit sparkling wine tasting in the historic, 125-year-old caves at Schramsberg, in the rolling hills above Calistoga, would be a golden opportunity. Here you'll learn the winery's Old World ways of producing bubbly in the methode champenoise, and may even be invited to try your hand at riddling the aging bottles. Tours are limited to just 10-12 guests, guaranteeing that each tasting—go all sparkling ($95) or give the Davies Vineyards wines ($75) a try—is a perfectly intimate experience. Don't miss out on the lesser known, toastier (and more expensive) J. Schram sparklers. Reservations are a must. // 1400 Schramsberg Rd. (Calistoga), schramsberg.com

Gloria Ferrer Winery

Though they were early pioneers in Sonoma Valley pinot noir production, these days Gloria Ferrer is better known for sparkling vintages, including the sweet honey and ripe apple flavored Royal Cuvee, whose first iteration was served to the king and queen of Spain in 1987. On their one-hour reserve tour, guests explore the winery and caves, learn about the production of sparkling wines, and get a taste of four estate-made versions ($35/person, reservations required). // 23555 Highway 121 (Sonoma), gloriaferrer.com

The waterfall at the heart of Jarvis Estate's wine cave.(Courtesy of Jarvis Estate)

Jarvis Estate

If there were an award for most spectacular wine cave, Jarvis Estate would be hard to beat. The 45,000 square foot cave, dug in a curved parabola shape, is accented with cast bronze doors and wall sconces, arched alcoves, and fiber optic chandeliers. In the center, a natural underground water source has been harnessed into a cascading waterfall and stream. Following a tour of the underground operation, guests are seated in the tasting chamber to sample six of Jarvis' estate and reserve wines, such as the Estate Chardonnay 2013, a bright, sunny wine with the flavor of honeysuckle and tropical fruit ($80/person, reservations required). // 2970 Monticello Rd (Napa), jarviswines.com

Vine Cliff Winery

Vine Cliff has more than one tasting room in Napa County, but it's only at their historic estate on Silverado Trail where you'll get to travel underground to taste wines like the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Estate, a classic Napa cab with aromas of cassis and plum and hints of violet and mint. In Vine Cliff's 90-minute legacy estate tasting experience, guests tour the 100-acre property where winemaking began in the 1870s and the 15,000 square foot wine caves before tasting what's on offer along with a pairing of artisan cheeses ($85/person, reservations required). // 7400 Silverado Trail (Napa), vinecliff.com

The Thomas George Estates wine cave dressed up for a private event.(Courtesy of Thomas George Estates)

Thomas George Estates

A decade ago, Russian River Valley wine pioneer Davis Bynum converted a hop kiln from the 1920s into a state-of-the-art wine making facility. In 2010, an 8,000 square foot wine cave was added as a barrel-aging and tasting/event space. In their luxurious reservation-only tasting tour, guests get a taste of five wines straight from the barrel, such as Thomas George's fruity, velvety 2014 Baker Ridge Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir. The experience ends at the tasting table for an intimate underground pairing of wine-and-food ($100/person). // 8075 Westside Rd (Healdsburg), thomasgeorgeestates.com

Gundlach Bundschu Winery

Gundlach Bundschu was making wine for a century before they added their French-inspired wine caves in the 1990s. In their tastings, guests are seated at a large, communal table among dozens of barrels of the winery's massive portfolio, and then walked through five vintages, such as the weighty Sonoma Valley Merlot and its aromas of blueberry and black tea, carefully paired with local cheese and charcuterie ($40/person, reservations required). If the process of winemaking interests you as much as its taste, check out Gundlach Bundschu's vineyard and cave tour which runs Thursday through Monday at 2:30pm ($45/person, reservations required). // 2000 Denmark St (Sonoma), gunbun.com

The mystical entrance to the cave at Bella Vineyards.(Courtesy of Bella Vineyards)

Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves

Exploring the wine caves at most wineries is among the most expensive tasting experiences but, at Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves, every taster gets to go underground. Enter the 7,000 square foot cave beneath Bella's historic Lily Hill vineyards for a reservation-free tasting of wines like the silky 2015 Lily Hill Estate Zinfandel with its floral nose and flavors of blackberries, black cherries, and licorice, seven days a week ($20). Go a little more in depth with a private tasting ($25), which guides guests through both the vineyards and caves and offers tastings among the aging barrels. In the Mix It Up tour ($65), you can try your hand at blending wines from Bella's aging underground barrels. // 9711 W Dry Creek Rd (Healdsburg), bellawinery.com

The pendulum at the center of the Stag's Leap wine caves.(Courtesy of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars)

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

At this nationally recognized winery, there is artistry both inside the bottle and out. The wine caves, some of the largest in Northern California at 34,000 square feet, house 6,000 barrels of wines, including the 2016 Aveta Sauvignon Blanc with its aromas of citrus, guava, and lemongrass. At the center of the network of underground tunnels hangs a Foucault pendulum, one of only 50 in the world. Take a tour of the estate and its underground heart daily at 11am ($75/person, reservations required). // 5766 Silverado Trail (Napa), cask23.com

Benziger Winery

In 2017, Benziger won Wine Enthusiast's people's choice award for the best winery tour—and the people were not wrong. In Benziger's Tribute Estate Tour ($50), guests get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the estate's biodynamically farmed vineyards, winery and wine caves, with tastes straight from the barrel along the way. The tour ends with a seated tasting of wines, like the rose petal and pomegranate-noted 2014 De Coelo Pinot Noir, in a private underground room. // 1883 London Ranch Rd (Glen Ellen), benziger.com

The historic wine caves at Del Dotto Winery.(Courtesy of Del Dotto Winery)

Del Dotto Winery

Del Dotto is the only winery in Napa to have two wine caves to its name—one on the St. Helena Estate, the other at the historic winery in Napa. The Napa property, restored in the late 1990s by the Del Dotto family, was one of the Valley's first wineries and its caves date back to the 1880s. At the St. Helena estate, which opened in 2007, the caves are far more opulent with chandeliers and wine sconces that would be at home in a Medieval castle. Take a 90-minute tour at either location complete with tastings of six to eight wines from the barrel; you may taste the the pear-, starfruit- and kiwi-tinged 2016 Piazza Del Dotto Sauvignon Blanc, along with bites of charcuterie, pizza, and dark chocolate ($60-75/person, reservations required). // 1055 Atlas Peak Rd (Napa) or 1445 St. Helena Hwy (St. Helena), deldottovineyards.com

Inglenook

Between its historic status and celebrity ownership, Inglenook has no shortage of cachet. But one of the winery's most interesting features is its underground wine-aging space.The winery's first caves were dug experimentally in 1883. More than a century later, the Coppola family constructed a new set of tunnels, the Infinity Caves, complete with private rooms for hosting seated, artisan-cheese-paired tastings of wines like the 2014 Rubicon, a sweet cabernet with notes of dark fruits, spice and vanilla. The Inglenook Experience ($50/person) happens daily; reservations are strongly recommended. // 1991 St. Helena Hwy (Rutherford), inglenook.com