The Best Winery
Gondola in Napa Valley's Sterling Vineyards lifts guests with a scenic view of vineyards and greenery

Lots of people go out wine tasting with Grapeline every year. More than 25,000 in fact. It seems they all want to know the same thing, because the most frequent question to Grapeline hosts is this...

What's the best winery?

I talked with several Grapeline hosts, and now I know the answer. Do you want to know?

Of course you do. You're just like those other 25,000 people. The answer, it turns out, is that there is no best Winery. I know that answer is like a "fly in your Chardonnay." But hear me out.

One host explained to me that people go to wineries for so many different reasons, the answer naturally varies depending on what someone is looking for. If you're trying to figure out what city has the tallest building, you're just looking for one specific easy-to-measure thang. In this case, that thang is a structure that gets more vertical than any other. But people go to wineries for lots of reasons. Most first-timers are out there looking for the got-to-see wineries. Wineries that get talked about, that get written about, that have unique features that are well-known.

Napa Valley’s Sterling Vineyards, with their scenic gondola, is a got-to-see kind of wonder. In Temecula, South Coast, the only winery ever to win the California State Winery of the Year title four times, is an "I've heard of them" kind of winery. So if I’m going to suggest the best winery to visit, and you've never been to one of these regions, it's likely one of these wineries will be on the list.

On the other side of the scale are people who have been to wine country frequently and are looking for a new discovery. The best winery for them might be an off-the-beaten-path secret, or maybe the latest winery to open - a place they can experience something novel.

Another impetus is the desire to see something different. Visiting a beautiful tasting room set amid breathtaking vineyards is just not good enough. They want something unusual or even unique. Buena Vista in Sonoma might fit the bill. The first producer of premium wine in California, Buena Vista has a quirky personality that sets it apart. Servers wear clothing typical of the late 1800’s. Stuffed Peacocks adorn the tasting room. And out in the courtyard, you can soak up the mystical energy of a vortex fountain.

So naming the “best winery” is a difficult task. But don’t give up the search.

~ Kay Syrah

Wine Country Guru Gal

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