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“Most personable tasting guides we encountered in Napa”

Elizabeth Spencer Winery
Ranked #13 of 26 things to do in Rutherford
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Elizabeth Spencer Winery, located in the heart of Napa Valley in Rutherford, is an artisan producer of varietal wines from some of the best wine regions in Northern California. The belief of Elizabeth Spencer is that wine should be delicious and representative of its appellation of origin. We make wines to drink - inviting wines that we, our friends and our customers truly enjoy. Elizabeth Spencer wines are characterized by intensity and purity of flavor.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
62 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Most personable tasting guides we encountered in Napa”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2011

We had a very pleasant time at the Elizabeth Spencer tasting room. The gentleman who helped us was very knowledgeable about their wines and was friendly and able to carry on a conversation on a variety of topics. The wines were good and we purchased a few bottles. There is a $20 tasting fee which is refunded if you buy a certain amount of wine. This was my second time visiting this tasting room and I enjoyed both my experiences here. It also seemed like they have an outside sit down tasting experience. Definitely worth a try and not far off the main highway through the Napa Valley.

Visited September 2011
Thank alison303
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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78 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Lake Placid, New York
Level Contributor
55 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Excellent wines, best overall selection in Napa, a must taste”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 25, 2011

Another couple recommended Elizabeth Spencer Wines to us. The building (old post office) is great. Our server,Hector, was one of the most personable wine ethusiasts we have ever experienced. Many have criticized the size of the tasting room, however, we found it very quaint and delightful. The wines were the best we have tasted in the Napa Valley. We enjoy balanced wines that are not too robust. I have thought about joining a wine club in the past, however, I have never found a wine selection that I have totally enjoyed until this tasting at Elizabeth Spencer Wines. I joined their wine club after the completion of the tasting. I cannot wait to receive my first shipment. Do not immediately rush to this tasting upon arriving in Napa. Try other wineries for comparison, then go to Elizabeth Spencer Wines. You definitely will enjoy the experience.

Visited September 2011
Thank rdcrx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, TX
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A must visit when in the Napa Valley”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2011

My wife and I had multiple suggestions to visit this small winery. Ready for something new, we stopped here and were glad we did. The building is very small which happens to be the original post office of the town. They had a great outdoor space where we had our tasting. Most important about this place is how great their wines are. Of course it always depends on your personal taste, but we liked their wines more than any other winery we have visited. We were treated extremely well by the very knowledgeable employees. We were encouraged to hang out as long as we wanted too. That is rare in some of these places. This isn't the place to go if you want a big winery tour with all the caves, big vineyard and equipment. This is just a tasting room with a few vines out back. The wines and atmosphere make this a must visit.

Visited July 2011
Thank TravelerBBB2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
36 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A favorite - here's why...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 19, 2011

I have been to Elizabeth Spencer only a handful of times (I live on the East Coast), but make a point of stopping by whenever in Napa/Sonoma area. Every experience has been the Napa alternative...and that's a good thing. A couple points I'd make:

- It's a tiny historic old building (the Rutherford Post Office) converted into a tasting room. If you are looking for the mansion or castle-like Mondavi size joints, this isn't it. Do those places, they are amazing. But then come to ES for a contrast, and generally a more personal experience.

- A lot of Napa is Cabernets, mostly from Napa grown fruit. ES has those, and they are excellent wines. But they also have various other wines (chards, syrah, chenin blanc, etc) from Sonoma and Medocino fruit. Bear in mind, this is a winery, not a vineyard. They have a varied assortment of varietals as a result...personally I like that because it shows you what a wine maker can do with grapes from different appellations.

- The above being said, they have awesome cab sauv's. Sure you can go to some ultra pricey, reservation-only wineries that make maybe two wines per vintage and have some cabs that are amazing. But ES has cabs that are affordable (for Napa)...around $60 will get you a bottle that you'll be happy to have in your collection...it's VERY good wine that you can tell the winemaker takes pride in.

- Staff: I've never had anyone less than helpful, friendly, fun. Maybe they hired a dud for a while (based on reading another review), but I can't imagine someone rude would last long there. It seems to be a tasting room where they encourage visitors to enjoy, relax and not take anything too seriously. When I've visit, I typically chat a little with the staff. Once they find out what you like, what you don't, they often will pull bottles out not on the tasting list for a little bonus tasting. Discovered some of my fav's at ES this way!

- A big plus, Rutherford Grill is just across the street! Great restaurant...sit outside and bring a bottle from ES...no corkage fee!

- Last comment...try the Rose. I know it's a Rose, usually not that interesting and certainly not a complex wine. But just try it! It's delicious and refreshingly dry and fruity.

Visited May 2011
2 Thank GPappy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lucerne, Switzerland
Level Contributor
753 reviews
291 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 581 helpful votes
“Rude staff, warm and flat wine ...”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 25, 2010

We've spent one week up here in Napa Valley in summer 2010. It's our third time here in Napa...and the first (and for sure last) at Spencer Wines.

We've came across lots of wine in our life yet (American, Spanish, Italian, French, Australian, New Zealand, Chilean, Argentinian and more...) and this wine here was one of the worst we had.

I have to say that we quite like heavy, full-bodied red Cab. But there's lots of other wines we enjoy too.
This place was recommended by several people. And I really not see why. The tasting room is really small. We had to squeeze in hard between the other guests. Since we've been tasting the whole day we decided to share a tasting flight. Telling that the server got quite rude and mentioned it (the fact that we were sharing) again and again (and loud). So much about friendlyness. We were quite ignored by him after that. This guy was just around 20. A fricking kid...what does a guy like this do here anyway...has to be related to the owner. No other way a rude guy like this would get a job.

Since we thought the wine might make it up we still stayed, but moved to the outside area...away from Mr. Unfriendly.
We had Chardonnay, P. Noir, Syrah and the red Cab. And you know what ... ?? They all sucked and blowed. The Chardonnay must have had around 80°. And it was so flat and boring. The Pinot was flat too...and really sour (you ever had Warhead-Candy??? The same!!)
The Syrah just didn't have any flavor. Worse than any plain grape juice. The same goes for their Cab. Doesn't have anything in common with typical Napa red Cab.

In most winerys you find something good. The wine....or at least a friendly staff. NOT HERE! We've never been treated bad like here. Just because we shared a flight?? Other winerys do NOT mind.
Later I've learned that, unlike other winerys, this place not grow their own grapes. They just buy them. So much for passion.
There's no way I ever step in here again. Except for the ok outside garden area there's one good point we came here: To warn other people. Avoid this place!!

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Thank Bandit-One
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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