Napa Itinerary: Silverado Trail South

blackstallion.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When staying in Napa proper - an excellent jumping-off point for exploring the valley, not to mention a city booming with activity thanks to a host of recent improvements - it's easy to explore nearby wineries on the Silverado Trail.   Four of our fav Trail producers located just outside the city are detailed below - so you can quickly plan your trip and make the most of your Wine Country time.  

williamhill.jpgWilliam Hill Estate Winery
Just minutes from the city on what's called the Silverado Bench - you can't miss the Silverado Resort golf course just across the street, or the sweet views over the valley - William Hill produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot on a verdant estate where artisan winemaking is king. Taking a tour at William Hill Estate is highly recommended for immersing yourself in the terroir of their Estate. The William Hill Estate Experience ($40.00 per person) and The Intro to William Hill Estate Experience ($25.00 per person) tours both allow you to experience what's seasonal in their vineyards, with a fun, real life and educational  activity. 

Open daily 10am to 5pm by appointment * (707) 265-3024
Special Tasting Offer

Black Stallion Winery
Just a few minutes' drive up the road in the much buzzed-about Oak Knoll District, Black Stallion Winery is located at an historic equestrian center (hence its equine-inspired name, and the fantastically rendered sculpture of a black stallion positioned just outside the entrance).  Open since 2007, the spectacular winery and hospitality center were built in the style of early California structures, incorporating soaring ceilings, exposed wood beams, mahogany trimmings and a crackling fire during the cooler months.  Pouring estate-produced wines in two tasting rooms, a terrace and a swank private lounge for club members, the spot offers numerous possibilities for quaffing its wide variety of small-lot wines.  
Open daily 10am to 5pm * (888) 200-9756
Special Tasting Offer

Steltzner Vineyards  
Another few minutes in the car will bring you to the famed Stags Leap District - and Steltzner Vineyards, a family-run affair pouring world-class reds as well as softer favorites including Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc.  Visitors are greeted at the spot's Mediterranean-inspired tasting room by friendly staff offering tours as well as tastings, with same-day tour appointments often available.  We recommend taking a picnic and making Steltzner your lunch stop, too, since guests are invited to enjoy the spot's outdoor patio at their leisure (Steltzner wines only, fyi).  And though Cabernet-based reds are the main attraction in this neck of the woods, we think the Allison Rosé of Syrah makes the perfect mid-day quaffer.
Open daily 10am to 4:30pm; by appointment only for groups larger than six * (707) 252-7272

silveradovyds2.jpgSilverado Vineyards
Another quick drive on the Trail (just two minutes!) takes you to our final stop of the day, Silverado Vineyards.  A family-owned winery elegantly perched on top of a knoll within Stags Leap, Silverado hits high hospitality marks thanks to its varied visitor options, which include an eclectic array of tastings, public and private tours, and special events.  If you're running on the later side come Friday afternoon, make plans to wrap up your day at the spot's Fridays on the Terrace event.  Beginning at 5:30pm Fridays through October, the soirées pair wine with breathtaking views and good company (reservations required).  Those who visit at other times can look forward to the same superb views and hospitality.
Open daily 10am to 5pm * Tours offered at 10:30am and 2:30pm * (707) 257-1770