The Best Calistoga Wine Experiences

People say that Calistoga is known for three things: "Hot Springs, Cool Wines and Warm Welcome." First, the city is blessed with hot springs and an artificial geothermal geyser known as the Old Faithful of California. Second, the city became an official Napa Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) in 2009, which assures connoisseurs that when they buy Calistoga wine, 85% of the grapes used were grown by vineyards in the region. Finally, the city is home to charming inns and b&b's, so stay at a Calistoga bed and breakfast to experience the city's warm welcome. While there, be sure to taste the best of Calistoga wine.

Castello di Amorosa
4045 North Saint Helena Highway
Calistoga, California 94515
(707) 967-6272
www.castellodiamorosa.com

With a name translating to the "castle of love," Castello di Amorosa produces Italian style hand-crafted wines similar to those produced in Italy's central Tuscan and Umbrian regions. A 12th-century-style Tuscan castle-winery complete with defensive towers, a hall with Italian frescoes, a drawbridge, a moat and of course, 30 acres of estate vineyards, The Wall Street Journal calls it a "must-see destination." The wines they make include Chardonnay, Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco and Gew├╝rztraminer. They also have dessert wines such as the popular La Fantasia and a Muscato called Il Raggio del Sole. Their premium tasting fee costs $16, while their reserve tasting costs $26. You can even add handmade Belgian chocolates to your wine tasting experience for an additional $3.

Schramsberg Vineyards
1400 Schramsberg Road
Calistoga, California 94515
(707) 942-4558
www.schramsberg.com

Known as "America's House of Sparkling Wine," Schramsberg Vineyards has been around since 1862. The author Robert Louis Stevenson visited the vineyard in 1880 and wrote, "I tasted all. I tasted every variety and shade of Schramberger, red and white Schramberger, Burgundy Schramberger, Schramberger Hock, Schramberger Golden Chasselas, the latter with a notable bouquet... Mr. Schram has a great notion of the English taste." Today, the vineyard produces wines from grapes sourced from 80 cool-climate vineyards, which are then barrel fermented and barrel aged. Their releases have been lauded as some of the best sparkling wines in the world. For instance, their 2006 J. Davies Cabernet has received 94 points from Wine Enthusiast and 92 points from Robert Parker. They offer tastings and tours by appointment only, so be sure to give them a call from your Calistoga inn beforehand.

Chateau Montelena Winery
1429 Tubbs Lane
Calistoga, California 94515
(707) 942-5105
www.montelena.com

Established in 1882, Chateau Montelena Winery placed California at the vanguard of the wine world when their 1973 Chardonnay was given the top rank in a grand tasting at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Paris. Today, their estate Cabernet Sauvignon and estate Zinfandel are grown in a unique wine growing site that translates into the wonderfully complex flavor of their wines. Their Chardonnay is grown on the western bench of the Napa Valley, the conditions there giving it a green apple aroma, while their Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in the northern end of the valley, the conditions there making it earthy and complex. Through their releases that have garnered accolades, the winery continues to show that Calistoga wine can indeed be some of the best in the world. Their current release tasting fee costs $20, while their library wine tasting costs $40.