California

The best Napa & Sonoma Valley private wine tours

by Paul Stafford  |  Published April 23, 2020

In 1839, George Yount became the first to plant a consignment of grapes in the fertile Napa Valley soil. Now the town named after him, Yountville, is completely surrounded by vineyards, which contribute the fruit to one of the world’s most celebrated wine regions. While cabernet sauvignon is considered grape royalty in Napa Valley, pinot noir (made more famous by the soliloquy in Sideways), chardonnay and merlot are all planted in the region.

At least 400 different wineries fill the gorgeous Napa Valley in California’s central northern region. To work your way round all of them would require quitting your job and taking up the pursuit full time. However, a saner, more liver-friendly alternative is to hop on a private winery tour. Tastings, cooking classes and winery estate tours are commonplace here, but knowing which to visit is something best undertaken with the assistance of locals in the know, so that you can dedicate more time to sampling wine. Here are three of the best private Napa Valley wine tours based on factors like itinerary, duration, value for money, and of course, winery pedigree.