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Wine tasting in Napa

Asheville, North...
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Wine tasting in Napa

Just spent a few days in the Napa valley wine tasting. Be aware: many wineries now require appointments to taste, and they charge up to $30 dollars just to sample a few wines. Some I visited deducted the tasting fee if I bought wine, others didn't. I also found their prices have gotten ridiculous. $50 for a bottle was typical of many places, and I didn't think the wine was $50 dollars good. At one winery the price of a bottle was actually a lot more expensive than the price I checked online for a store in Chicago. I think the Sonoma area is better, friendlier, and the wineries aren't nearly as taken with themselves as they've gotten in Napa.

Newberg, Oregon
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1. Re: Wine tasting in Napa

Welcome to the world of wine. I rarely buy Napa cabs any more, even Sonoma is getting a bit pricey for most bottles. Other than a Costco bottling or two, haven't touched French wine in a decade -- and that used to comprise a large percentage of my cellar. I love Oregon pinot noir,but now have to pick and choose very carefully. Thank goodness Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand are still (mostly) affordable.

Milwaukee
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2. Re: Wine tasting in Napa

After my recent trip I agree with much of what you wrote. However, I did a lot of research on this forum and with links provided and other online research I was able to greatly reduce the cost of our trip by using coupons and visiting those few wineries that still offer free tastings.

I don't know if bottles of wine were ever cheaper at the wineries. Many people buy wines at those wineries that don't distribute to stores, but not for the value.

St. Helena...
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3. Re: Wine tasting in Napa

Here's one of those websites that has consolidated all the current info about free tours and tasting coupons:

napatouristguide.com/napa-on-a-budget.html

Napa, CA
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4. Re: Wine tasting in Napa

gardener - it might be helpful if you did a trip report and named the wineries you visited and disliked so much instead of a blanket warning. This could be helpful for other readers contemplating visiting the Napa Valley.

According to Wines and Vines, the average price of Napa Valley wine is now $50 a bottle. This if for wine produced from Napa Valley fruit and doesn't include the out of county sourced wines that many of the larger producers turn out. So, it's important for visitors coming to the Napa Valley to realize that this is the most expensive wine region in the US.

Also, visitors should know that unless they join a winery's "club", they are going to be paying suggested retail for the wines sold at the winery. Wineries with national distribution do not usually undersell their retailers. This is not true just in the wine industry but for many types of businesses.

Huntingtown...
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5. Re: Wine tasting in Napa

Which wineries had free tastings and how/where did you get coupons?

Thanks!

Milwaukee
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6. Re: Wine tasting in Napa

If you read the top questions about Napa (look to the right on this page) there is a post with some links. I also found http://www.econcierges.com/ helpful.

We also got some 2 for 1 coupons form our hotel. The Sonoma visitor office on the town square in Sonoma was very helpful with coupons and info about Sonoma wineries. They have a sheet listing all kinds of deals from wine tasting rooms on the square in town.

Between that and googling napa coupons I came up with a bunch of savings.

Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family winery offer free tastings. We drove from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge and two of our first stops were Cline and Jacuzzi just as you are entering wine country on Hwy 121.

Generally the high end wineries may offer fewer coupons, but we don't drink those wines anyway, so this worked for us. We did use a 2 for 1 at Domain Chandon, which was $18, I believe, but we love Chandon and got 2 champagne glasses, so I would do that one again.

San Luis Obispo
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7. Re: Wine tasting in Napa

It has gotten pretty pricy up that way, but there are still low and no cost wine tasting in Napa Valley. Also Sonoma wine tasting is a better bargain overall as well. There are some tasting for free wine maps on californiawineryadvisor.com/regions/view/Nap… and for other wine regions in the state. We like wine tasting in Paso Robles the best.

Seymour, Indiana
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8. Re: Wine tasting in Napa

Are the wineries the only place to buy wine in Napa or Sonoma? Are they all going to be 50.00 or more? We would like to bring a few bottles back to our rental home one night and enjoy.

New Jersey
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9. Re: Wine tasting in Napa

Everyone has different price points on which wines provide value. Napa Valley, due to its popularity and increasing land prices, has increased prices, but if you do some homework before your trip, you can still find gems that are reasonably priced.

If you want to know what Napa prices were like 20-25 years ago, visit Santa Barbara County.

santa rosa, ca
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10. Re: Wine tasting in Napa

Most grocery stores in the area have good wine selections and the price is much more affordable.

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