Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena, Calistoga: Hours, Address, Chateau Montelena Reviews: 4.5/5

Chateau Montelena
4.5
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
About
This old winery has a castle-like main building.
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4.5
687 reviews
Excellent
375
Very good
192
Average
80
Poor
29
Terrible
11

Kristin S
Orlando, FL122 contributions
Disappointing
Sep 2021
I was most excited for this winery but was generally underwhelmed with the whole experience. It's beautiful for sure but it seemed as though all the tastings happened inside. They were also quite strict on a 2oz pour. My friend and I visited 4 wineries and this was the only one that truly stuck to that minimal amount.

Our reservation was at 12pm and we joined our group at 12:02pm and they were already done with the first glass. It was a fairly rushed processed. 2 of the 4 groups were celebrating (anniversary, birthday) so the host gave them petit fours but it was then uncomfortable for the remaining 2 groups to get nothing.

With so many options in Napa, I don't believe I would return here.
Written September 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Kristin, Thanks for taking the time to write about your visit. We're disappointed to hear that your experience fell below expectations. In terms of the amount of wine we pour at tastings, as a winery we do have the responsibility of encouraging a safe atmosphere, pouring moderate amounts to taste while also maintaining our requirements as a Napa Valley tasting room. If there's anything further you would like to share about your experience, we welcome you to reach out to our tasting room manager, Sheri Bowen who can be reached at 707-942-5105 x216. Thank you!
Written October 5, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ThisandThatGirl
Columbus, OH129 contributions
The Disneyland Tour of Wineries
Sep 2021 • Couples
We covered everything there was to cover in this rapid fire tasting except details about the wine we were served. Our host was able to tell us all about the Bottle Shock movie and a Time magazine cover, but glazed over when I asked about the 2015 vintage (drought year) and how it compared to the 2020 and what will look like the 2021 vintage. The “futures” club was nicely marketed as were the fancy wine club brochures. When we were underwhelmed by the grand finish cab and told our host it wasn’t very bold, she quickly grabbed the 2011 which was much better. We clearly realized after the fact that we had elected for the commoners tasting, where people are more interested in saying they’ve been there and getting a slight buzz than in learning about the wine. Skip the Mickey Mouse tour and visit somewhere else.
Written September 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Deb, Thanks for taking the time to write about your visit. However, we're disappointed to hear that you had a negative experience. We'll definitely take your feedback into account as we work to improve our hospitality and training. We strive to provide an educational and informative experience and meet our customers based on their wine interests so we're sorry you didn't receive this same level of service. We understand that everyone has different wine preferences. However, at Montelena, our Estate Cabernet is an artisinal product, expressing a wine of a single place, showcasing the best of a single vintage, with the ability to age for many decades. Given all these factors, our wines typically are more elegant in style rather than overtly bold. If there's anything further you would like to share about your experience, we welcome you to reach out to our tasting room manager, Sheri Bowen who can be reached at 707-942-5105 x216. Thank you!
Written October 5, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

nathanconrad76
Singapore, Singapore3 contributions
Underwhelming
Sep 2021
Chateau Montelena was my most anticipated tour going into our Napa trip but left us underwhelmed and disappointed. The famous view you expect from the movie and promotional material is much smaller and less impressive in person. Our tasting was mediorce at best and our host was not friendly or entertaining. The tasting was pre-poured and limited to only what was prepared-every other tasting fell over themselves to bring new things as guests said what they liked or didn't like. The history of the place was glossed over and no one in the group was wowed by anything. Finally, since it was harvest season the entire house smelled strongly of CO2 and yeast, like a giant doughball making it hard to enjoy anything, and the wines were less than expected.
Written September 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Nathan, Thanks for taking the time to write about your visit. We're disappointed to hear that your experience fell below expectations. We'll be taking your feedback into account as we work to improve our hospitality and training measures. As a winery, we strive to provide an educational and informative experience for all guests we're sorry you didn't receive this same level of service. In terms of the amount of wine we pour at tastings, as a winery we do have the responsibility of encouraging a safe atmosphere, pouring moderate amounts to taste while also maintaining our requirements as a Napa Valley tasting room. Our tastings are often pre-poured as a safety measure in preventing the spread of COVID. As we are a working winery, there will be harvest activities going on throughout the months of September and October. However, most of our guests find this exciting as you get to see a lot of behind-the-scenes action with the crew bringing in and processing the fruit for the day. We're sorry that this interrupted your tasting experience though. If there's anything further you would like to share about your experience, we welcome you to reach out to our tasting room manager, Sheri Bowen who can be reached at 707-942-5105 x216. Thank you!
Written October 5, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Patricia D
Piscataway, NJ36 contributions
Great Wine Great Service
Sep 2021
The grounds are beautiful. The staff is even better. Our wine connoisseur was amazing. He explained the history of the winery, where each wine was produced, and also about the area. The wine is delicious. My husband and 1 bought 5 since we could ship it home. This is a great location we will defiantly be going back.
Written September 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fairport Travelers
Fairport, NY594 contributions
Great history, OK wines
Sep 2021
This winery was always near the top of my list due to it's storied history, Bottle Shock, it's beauty, etc. The grounds and property are indeed beautiful. We had Leon for our tasting and were in a private room with two other couples. Leon was nice enough and very knowledgeable but the wines to me just didn't excite me. They weren't bad, I guess I just hyped myself up given the above.
Written September 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Chris, Thanks for taking the time to write about your visit. However, we're disappointed to hear that you had a negative experience. We'll definitely take your feedback into account as we work to improve our hospitality and training. We understand that everyone has different wine preferences. However, at Montelena, our Estate Cabernet is an artisinal product, expressing a wine of a single place, showcasing the best of a single vintage, with the ability to age for many decades. Given all these factors, our wines typically are more elegant in style. If there's anything further you would like to share about your experience, we welcome you to reach out to our tasting room manager, Sheri Bowen who can be reached at 707-942-5105 x216. Thank you!
Written October 5, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

PRJ250
Boston, MA14 contributions
Must visit!
Sep 2021
My wife and I had a sit down library tasting with a few other couples in one of the tasting rooms. While we hadn't tried Chateau Montelena wines in the past, we made sure to visit as we knew about the history of the winery and of course saw the movie as well! The property is gorgeous and we very much enjoyed the wines. Our host Vincent was fantastic and extremely knowledgeable about everything spanning the history, winemaking process and current wines. I half expected this to be pretty touristy and a more commercial operation so I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't too touristy and is very much still a family owned boutique operation. Highly recommend!
Written September 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TheDriver_m8
Monterey, CA186 contributions
Must do tasting in Napa
Jun 2021 • Couples
We had our sit down tasting in the kitchen and sun room which was lovely. Our host was extremely knowledgeable not only about the Chateau Montelena wines but wine and Napa in general. The wines were very good. We truly enjoyed every one.
Will be back.
Written June 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MstrViolinist
Seattle, WA338 contributions
Library Tasting
May 2021
Recommend the "Library" tasting since it's more personal and you taste higher quality wines. We sat at our own table on the patio while another couple was on the other side of a divider and host Vince talked us through the different wines. The wines were all very good, we purchased a bottle of Zinfandel that we both enjoyed.

The grounds are also very beautiful and were very quiet when we visited, not busy at all. The castle is the focus but I really like the lake.
Written June 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

mariana954
Morgan Hill, CA54 contributions
Great wine, not so great service.
Jun 2021
I write for Trip Advisor to honor the efforts of the winery's, brewery's, restaurant's, attraction's, hotel's, etc.'s staff. I was a teacher for decades, and it's in my nature to praise in public, correct in private. (I doubt anyone takes my reviews seriously, because they're all so "Excellent.") Well, I feel the need to make an exception this time, because a place of Château Montelena's calibre should know better.

The night before, my friend and I watched "Bottleshock," and since I am the child of small business owners and farmers on both sides of the family, I was gratified and excited to know [more about] the history of the place. I was primed to appreciate the experience. We called ahead to advise that we might be late and were told that the tasting would begin on time, regardless. When we checked in, my friend gave her name and we were met by "David," who seemed warm and welcoming. He mentioned to the gentleman at the podium that someone else was "going to be late," and we fessed up that WE were the ones that had called, but that happily, we were on time. (It took 35 minutes to make one latte and two breakfast sandwiches at a nearby coffeeshop. I guzzled my coffee and we just took the sandwiches to go.) Another group of three young ladies checked in after us, and we were all ushered into the tasting area. What was well-done was safety--we signed COVID waivers--and my friend and I were separated from the other party by a thick wooden divider. We could not even see them when we were tasting. There was a plexiglas barrier in front of us, shielding the employee and shielding the open bottles of wine. When asked to do so, we pushed our wine glasses under it to be served, and then the shield was replaced each time. David is very knowledgeable and can answer any question about winemaking in general and specifically what was "Hollywood" and what was true about "Bottleshock." He knows some anecdotes about Bo and his customers, which he freely shared. What was not well-done was the actual tasting. David stood almost exclusively in front of the other party and rarely even looked at us. You stand at a bar--you are not seated. (There are hooks from which to hang your purse, bag, etc.) No water is offered, which I found incredible. (Most wineries encourage you to "taste" wine but "drink" water, right? I'm glad I brought four half liter bottles with me.) David talked a great deal about his own experience working in a restaurant, being a bartender and making wine in his garage. My advice to him is if you're going to talk this much--and I realize that you made an effort to entertain us--make sure the guests have something in their glasses at the time! He actually forgot one pour and had red in his hand before we had even tasted the chard. As soon as he poured for us, he would move back to the other party's side of the area. We could not hear him well because of the partitions and the doors both to the outside and from another (tasting?) area opening and closing several times. A woman not from either of the tasting parties walked in and asked to purchase wine, and she was attended to during our tasting. Since I don't think it's fair to give a negative review without speaking to the actual employee (and giving him a chance to correct the behavior) when he poured one time, I asked David, "So... ... ...when you were a bartender, did you usually stay all the way down at only one end of the bar the way you do with wine tastings?" Instead of apologizing, he said that he hoped that we didn't feel that he was ignoring us. When we said, "We do... ... ..." STILL he made no apology. I had spoken quietly out of respect for the other party's experience as well as for David himself, so perhaps he did not take me seriously because I didn't yell or curse. Once he stood almost in the middle of the area for one of the pours, and I said, "Thank you for standing near this middle this time. It's REALLY hard to hear you..." Again, no comment from him. I was very disappointed. I will continue to buy the wine, but I won't come here again for tastings when I have visitors to the area.

Admittedly, the wine is excellent and speaks for itself. Congratulations to the Barrett family! The location is gorgeous. The koi pond was immaculate and the fish came to the surface to be fed--I would have purchased food to do so if it were allowed. Love that detail! In the tasting area, my friend and I took bites of our sandwich as we tasted wine, and I realize that we were allowed to do this even though the food was purchased elsewhere, which the Château certainly did not have to allow. We both purchased wine, and both tasting fees were waived, despite the fact that the printed price list says that only one tasting fee would be waived for a purchase of a certain amount. I don't know if in these COVID times that is a usual practice, or if it was a type of apology, but I would prefer an acknowledgement of my concerns as a customer. We did not tip--and I cannot remember the last time that I did not tip--I tip 25% at Starbucks every day. So, great wines, great history and I was visiting with a close friend and so the company was excellent--we got to share the experience. But hopefully my concerns will be addressed and Dear Reader, YOU will have a great tasting experience as well. PS: chard was the best! (Of COURSE!) I had never tasted the cab before, but it was excellent, too, and I must admit David encouraged me to buy the lower-priced bottle when I told him that I would not be waiting 8 years to open it. He did not try to up-sell me or wine-shame me into starting a cellar. He knows what he's talking about, and he can advise customers well, it is just his spiel and manner of delivery that needs attention. And I am not a Sauvignon Blanc fan, but my friend loved it and bought some as well as chard and cab.
Written June 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Mariana, Thank you for taking the time to write about your experience at Chateau Montelena. We're disappointed to hear of your negative experience but we appreciate the constructive feedback. We're addressing the concerns that you highlighted and are taking the necessary steps to improve our overall customer service and tasting experience. We hope that you give us another opportunity to give you the full Montelena experience at the winery in the future, the right way. Our tasting room manager, Sheri Bowen would love to further discuss your experience and address your concerns. If you're able to give her a call, she can be reached at 707-942-5105 x216 or sbowen@montelena.com.
Written June 16, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

janie1167_11
Portland, OR10 contributions
Giant disappointment!
Jun 2021 • Couples
Well not what expected. Beautiful on outside of building, but not a fun tasting experience. Had to stand up the whole time. Did not see anything inside just a long corridor. The wines were not so great and the person was fully behind plastic glass. Felt like a total bate and switch. My six trip to Napa and most disappointing experience ever. The wines were not so great. Just all around would not ever go again, or tell anyone to visit incredibly disappointment. Pretty outside but nothing pretty on inside. You don’t get to see anything. 😳
Written June 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Janie, We're sorry to hear that your experience at Montelena did not live up to expectations. Given country imposed restrictions due to COVID, we've had to adjust our operations for the safety of our guests and staff. Hence, the protective glass at our bar that you mentioned and limited indoor capacity. We're also unable to provide tours at this time. However, as the situation evolves and improves, we'll be adjusting these measures as appropriate. We appreciate your feedback and are addressing some of these issues to improve our current tasting experience. If there's anything further you'd like to share with us or would like to discuss, we welcome you to reach out to our tasting room manager, Sheri Bowen at 707-942-5105 x216.
Written June 10, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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