In the mountains of Napa Valley, many of the best vistas come with vino. Here's a roundup of some of the best views in the Valley and the wineries where you can enjoy them.
Smith-Madrone is about the most down-to-earth winery you'll ever visit, but their location is way up close to the sky. Near the top of Spring Mountain (where there are many notable views like the one from Terra Valentine), Smith-Madrone has been making well-balanced, complex, approachable, and reasonably priced wines since the 70s. There are a number of different lookouts and vantage points here, so make sure to leave time to explore a little.
Viader sits across the valley from Smith-Madrone and offers a more refined experience. The tasting room is surrounded on three sides by heavy forest and has an expansive vista that breaks through the trees. You'll be just as impressed by their red wines and gracious hospitality as you are the views (Check out CADE while you're up there for notable architecture an impressive view).
VinRoc has a staggering view from their hillside pavilion, which overlooks the valleys and vineyards below Atlas Peak. The wines are bold, big, and worthy of collecting and the house and caves, designed by owner Kiki Lee with the help of her husband and VinRoc winemaker, Michael Parmenter, are built into the elements that make the land in this area so special (call ahead and stop at neighbors Antica and Bialla who both have fantastic views and wines).
Ovid is beautiful inside and out. They have a vantage point overlooking the center of the Valley from the winery deck and the design of the winery itself is unobtrusive, fitting nicely into the rocky landscape. Although the winemaking processes are advanced and operation relatively new, there is a feel of respect for the land and maturity in and around the farm-like structure.Their wines are serious, sell out every year, and are perfect for collectors seeking cult wines that are hard to make and hard to find.
Chappellet is perched at the top of Pritchard Hill. Many locals site this as the best view in the Valley. Chappellet, like Viader, is surrounded by woods and is family-owned and operated. It's known for its diverse group of fantastic wines, and famous gardens. If you're invited to a picnic at Chappellet, drop everything and go.
Sterling Vineyards is unique because it's located atop a mountain-sized hill in the middle of the valley floor that requires an aerial tramway to access. As I'm sure you can imagine, the views from the tram as well as the winery are exceptional; and the collection of wines has a sterling reputation both in and out of the valley.
Silverado Vineyards makes some remarkable wines. But it's their “terrace tastings" and sunsets that make it a must-visit. Though they're open to the public, there's an exclusive feel as you wind up the hillside to the winery. Sit, sip and stare across the valley at your pace or hang out in the tasting room. Either way, you can't escape the view.
There are many other notable views in the valley, please take the time to add your favorites to the list!