Every wine enthusiast knows and appreciates the winemaking process and how it from simple grapes to delicious vino. However, not many people have had the experience of learning how wine is made at an actual winery.
Every harvest season from August to October, wineries in Napa and Sonoma come alive with the excitement of what’s to come. Wineries in Sonoma and Napa Valley have employees picking grapes in vineyards for crush and visitors can enjoy special harvest tours to learn how production facilities work.
There are several ways you experience what it’s like to be a winemaker, especially during harvest season. If you cannot make it to wine country during harvest you can also take in a blending experience where you can become a master blender and take home your own blend of wine. If you want to make your own wine and experience what it is like being a winemaker for a day, let California Wine Tours set your appointment with exceptional wineries in Napa and Sonoma Valley. This firsthand experience of making wine will transform your perception and make you appreciate a great blend even more.
To help you choose some of the best Napa and Sonoma Valley wineries offering a hands-on winery tour, California Wine Tours has curated a special list for you below:
Ram’s Gate Winery winemaking experience, Sonoma
Location: 28700 Arnold Dr., Sonoma
If you want to consider a winemaker for a day experience in Sonoma Valley, we recommend checking out the beautiful Ram’s Gate Winery. This winery produces single-vineyard wines and offers a fantastic hands-on winery tour. You will begin with a morning ramble at the Ram’s Gate Estate vineyard, and the estate’s winemaker might act as your guide. They will tell you about various details of the vineyard, such as the soil types, viticulture, trellising, and exposures.
Later, if there is thinning or leafing to be done, you’ll be asked to work in the vineyard canopy. If you pick the right weather, you will also visit the estate garden to pick out vegetables for lunch and stop at the apiary to check out the winery’s bees that produce delicious honey. The tour will take you to the barrel hall, where you will be assigned the winemaking task of the day: sorting grapes or bottling. Later, you can enjoy a delicious five-course flight in the tasting hall, along with the perfect seasonal pairings for the wine.
Conn Creek winemaking experience, St. Helena
Location: 8711 Silverado Trail, St. Helena
Conn Creek Winery is very enthusiastic about providing wine education and built a special room for it in 2006. It was stacked with barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon and became the training ground for professionals who wanted to learn about the industrial winery business in Napa Valley. After more than 10 years, the Conn Creek Blending Experience has become a must-visit institution in Napa.
The hands-on winery tour will make you feel like a true winemaker for a day as you sample Conn Creek’s best blend. Then, you will enter a quiet room with dramatic lighting, where you will learn to recognize the characteristics of Napa cab growing areas using an aroma wheel. You can expect laboratory beakers and pipettes to be involved as you create a Bordeaux blend. To create the best blend, you will use current vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Malbec varieties.
After creating the perfectly proportioned wine as per your palate, you will bottle, label, and cork your wine to take home to enjoy with your family. The experience by Conn Creek is highly rated by visitors due to the amazing enological knowledge gained on the tour.
Judd’s Hill winemaking experience, Napa
Location: 2332 Silverado Trail, Napa
If you want something completely unique, you need to check out the bottle blending day camp at Judd’s Hill. Aside from the educational aspect, the winemaker for a day experience focuses on allowing visitors to have fun. If the weather is nice and the visiting group is large enough, you will be invited to camp at the vineyard view crush pad that overlooks the vineyard, which sources Kairos Cabernet Sauvignon.
During the hands-on winery tour, you will measure and mix wine using graduated flasks and cylinders. You can swirl and sip on wine while talking to other visitors as different groups work on assembling their favorite blends. Afterward, the camp counselors will review the blends, and each group will then bottle, hand-cork, and cap their personalized labels to take home as a souvenir. It is a great team-building activity, and you can take a lot of your exclusive wine home.
Buena Vista Winery winemaking experience, Sonoma
Location: 18000 Old Winery Rd., Sonoma
If you have ever dreamed of becoming a winemaker for a day in the late 19th century, the Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma can make your wishes come true. To start off the tour, you will don a long black wool coat and a top hat to represent the style of 1857, the year Buena Vista Winery was founded. Then, you’ll be guided to the wine caves of the stone winery for an unforgettable blending winemaking experience called Be the Count.
The Cave of Curiosity will be your next location, where you will blend wine surrounded by historical treasures and tools. You will be kept company by eerie glass-encased owls, golden crowns, and a wine guide speaking in sonnets. Here, you will create a delicious blend from Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, and Grenache per your preference. Afterward, you will bottle, cork, and brand your bottle with a personalized label before returning home to share it with loved ones.
Are you excited to explore some of the most popular winemaker-for a day wineries in Sonoma and Napa Valey? Our experts can help you discover the best hands-on winery tour experiences in the region.
Contact California Wine Tours today and let us plan a memorable wine-tasting experience for you