St Helena Wineries: The Complete Guide

If you’re serious about the art of wine tasting, you’ve most likely heard of Napa Valley.

Napa Valley is one of the best locations for wine-making in the world, and if you find yourself in California, it’s the first place you should head for wine tasting. 

St Helena Wineries The Complete Guide

In particular, we recommend visiting St. Helena if you’re a fan of great wine. This small town is home to a surprising number of wineries, as well as places to shop and amazing restaurants! 

Napa Valley’s St. Helena has something for everyone when it comes to the ultimate wine experience.

Whether you’re in search of unparalleled elegance or a cozy, comfortable space to try some good wine, you can find it in St. Helena’s wineries. 

St. Helena: About The Location 

St. Helena is a small town that can be found in the North of California’s Napa Valley. The easiest way to get to the town is to drive down Highway 29. 

Napa Valley is a large wine region that encompasses several cities, as well as multiple wine regions, or American Viticultural Areas, better known as AVAs. 

St. Helena is home to more than 150 wineries, but visiting them all would be an incredible challenge. For that reason, we’ve chosen our favorites to help you put together a phenomenal St. Helena wine-tasting itinerary!

The Best St. Helena Wineries 

Here are our top 9 wineries in St. Helena!

We highly recommend visiting as many wineries as you can while you’re in the area, because there is so much variety, but these are the St. Helena wineries we think everyone should experience while in Napa Valley: 

1. Spottswoode

Spottswoode is one of the best-known wineries, not just in St. Helena, but in Napa Valley as a whole.

This is a family-owned winery that has been established since 1972, although Spottswoode only started producing its own wine in 1982. 

Today, Spottswoode’s most famous wines are the Cabernet Sauvignon, with the Sauvignon Blanc as a close second. 

If you would like to experience the incredible ambiance and delicious wine or Spottswoode winery for yourself (see also “Best Wineries In Temecula“), you’ll need to make an appointment, because tastings and visits operate on a private schedule. 

You can choose to have your wine tasting indoors or outdoors, but make sure you book early because there are limited spots available due to the venue’s popularity. 

2. Clif Family

If you’re looking to have some fun and leave your wine-tasting experience feeling energized, we recommend making a reservation at Clif Family winery. You may have heard of Clif Bars, and Clif Family is owned by the same family. 

While you’re visiting Clif Family, we highly recommend the Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The Gewürztraminer is also excellent. But it’s not just wine you’ll get to sample at your Clif Family tasting! 

The venue also serves its own breakfast bites alongside the wine, and has a Bruschetteria  food truck on the premises serving dishes made with sustainably-sourced ingredients. 

Clif Family offers a variety of tasting experiences, including both a tasting room and tasting salon. There’s even a virtual wine-tasting experience! 

This means that even if you can’t travel to St. Helena, you can arrange for produce to be shipped to you, which you can then enjoy on a virtual wine-tasting call. The virtual tasting kits come pre-built, but can also be customized.

3. AXR Napa Valley

AXR Napa Valley is undoubtedly one of St. Helena’s most famous wineries, and after visiting it ourselves, we can definitely see why!

This historic winery has been established since before the prohibition era, and you might hear people referring to it as ‘the ghost winery’ because of the history the venue holds.

Since opening its doors, the property now known as AXR Napa Valley has been a speakeasy as well as a winery, and it was even a brothel at one time!

AXR Napa Valley offers private tastings which are by appointment only. You can choose the AXR Napa Valley Signature Tour and Tasting, or the Futures of AXR Tasting. 

The first option includes white and red wine tasting, with the white wine tasting taking place during the tour, and the red wine tasting being a private, seated experience.

The Futures tasting experience is more expensive, but in addition to the estate tour, you’ll get to sample Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay crafted by Jean Hoefliger himself!

4. Markham Vineyards

The tasting room at Markham Vineyards has recently been renovated, and the effect is absolutely stunning.

So, if you’re looking for somewhere stylish and freshly-decorated to enjoy fantastic wines, you should consider paying this St. Helena winery a visit!

Not only is the decor at Markham Vineyards beautiful, but this is the perfect winery to visit spontaneously.

While most St. Helena wineries will only arrange tastings by reservation, Markham Vineyards is perfectly happy to accept walk-ins depending on capacity and availability.

If you want to be absolutely sure of your experience, however, we do recommend booking ahead because this winery is very popular in the local area.

While Napa Valley and St. Helena are both particularly famous for Cabernet Sauvignon wine, we actually recommend trying the Merlot, which Markham Vineyards is best-known for.

Markham Vineyards offers many membership options, each of which comes with different perks if you’d like to enjoy the winery’s produce on a regular basis:

The Enthusiast membership gets you complimentary wine tastings for groups of 4, along with 2 shipments of 6 bottles of wines at a flat rate of $15 for shipping. 

The Entertainer membership includes wine tastings for 6 people, an invitation to the private Character Release event, and 3 6-bottle shipments which cost $10 for shipping. 

Finally, there’s the Collector membership, which includes an additional shipment of 6 bottles at just $5 for shipping, wine tastings for 10 people, and invitations and passes to events including the Collector Club Tier Gatherings.

You can also access small-lot wine releases earlier than members in other tiers.

5. Lang & Reed

You can find Lang & Reed in downtown St. Helena, and if you’ve been wanting to try some of the most amazing Cabernet Franc, this is the winery we’d recommend for you.

The venue is family-owned and has won awards for its red wines, in particular. 

Lang & Reed offers various tasting experiences that you can choose from depending on your preferences and budget. You can book a wine tasting in the Tasting Salon, which has recently been expanded.

Here, you’ll have the opportunity to try 4 current release wines, sample the Monograph collection, or try some of Lang & Reed’s best wines alongside caviar. 

There are also several clubs, or Coteries, that you can join if you’d like to be a regular member of Lang & Reed.

For instance, you can join John’s Coterie, which means you’d receive 12 bottles every quarter and get to enjoy a hosted wine tasting, complete with food pairings, for yourself and a guest. 

There’s also Tracey’s Coterie, which specializes in Cabernet Francs and provides you with 12 bottles twice a year.

The final option is Megan and Reed’s Coterie, which is dedicated to Chenin Blanc and gets you 12 bottles of this delicious wine each year. 

6. Wheeler Farms

It’s important to remember that wine tasting isn’t all about luxury. Wine making is ultimately an agricultural practice that should be based around sustainability.

Wheeler Farms proves that high-end wine experiences can exist alongside the important reality of sustainability in agriculture. 

At Wheeler Farms, you’ll get to sample high-end, small-production wines privately, including famous Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Franc, and refreshing Sauvignon Blancs. 

The J.H. Wheeler Wine Experience at Wheeler Farms is one of the best wine-tasting experiences we’ve ever had. First, you’ll enjoy a tour of the gardens before going into the winery to learn how the grapes are turned into wine.

To finish, you’ll be tasting Wheeler Farms’ best wines alongside some excellent canapés prepared by Estate Chef Tom Harder. 

Even better, if you purchase 6 bottles of wine from Wheeler Farms during your visit, one tasting fee will be waived, so you can get the Wheeler Farms experience in exchange for purchasing amazing wine to enjoy at home!

7. Charles Krug Winery

If you’re looking for the most iconic wineries in St. Helena to add to your list, Charles Krug Winery should definitely be near the top. Did you know that Charles Krug was actually the first wine-tasting venue in California? 

Not only is the historic estate visually stunning, but it provides some of the most sophisticated and satisfying wine-tasting experiences in Napa Valley. 

Once you’ve experienced a wine-tasting at Charles Krug, we think you’ll be tempted to join the winery’s Tasting Circle.

The Tasting Circle is an exclusive community of people who love great wine and want to connect with others who share this passion. 

Membership events include not just wine, but also empowering rituals and guided spiritual practices for self-discovery. This is a very unique experience that we haven’t seen from other wineries in St. Helena. 

8. Louis M. Martini

Since Highway 29 is the easiest way to get to St. Helena, Louis M. Martini is a very conveniently located winery.

It’s on the highway, so you can’t miss it as you make your way to St. Helena, and if you’ve been on the road for a while, you’ll appreciate the fact that all of this winery’s tastings include food pairings.

There are several different tasting experiences offered at Louis M. Martini winery. The Underground Cellar experience takes place in the barrel cellar for a historical wine-tasting, complete with small-lot releases.

Meanwhile, the private Outdoor Cabana tasting includes 4 wines with Italian culinary accompaniment.

If you choose the Heritage Lounge, you’ll get to taste a selection of Louis M. Martini’s most popular wines for an affordable price.

Even more budget-friendly experiences include the Martini Park Tasting and the Crown Bar Tasting experiences.

9. Crocker & Starr

The final St. Helena winery we’d like to recommend today is the Crocker & Starr winery.

This winery has been opened as a partnership between Pam Starr and Charlie Crocker, both of whom contribute to the winery’s success in different ways. 

Pam is hands-on with the wine making process, whereas Charlie is responsible for the grapes.

The hard work and dedication of both partners really shows in the quality of the wine and the tasting experiences the venue provides.

Crocker & Starr wine tasting experiences include the Current Release Vineyard Experience, the Estate Reds Experience, and Virtual Tastings. 

The Current Release Experience is the more affordable of the two in-person tasting options, including a tour of the vineyard and a seated tasting of small-production wines.

Meanwhile, the Estate Reds Experience is more expensive per guest but includes a more elevated tasting experience after the vineyard tour. 

Bear in mind that you’ll need to book online at least 2 days in advance for in-person tastings. If you would like a last-minute tasting or an experience for a larger group of people, you will need to contact the venue directly. 

Which St. Helena Winery Should You Visit?

We feel that all of the St. Helena wineries we’ve recommended today are worth visiting.

However, we understand that time and budget can be limiting factors, so here’s how to choose the perfect St. Helena winery for your personal tastes and needs:


Of course, all of the wineries we’ve recommended today are in St. Helena, but some are easier to find than others.

If you’re in a hurry and just passing through, there are a couple of wineries located on Highway 29 that should be on your way. 

You should also think about location in terms of setting. Some St. Helena wineries are more rural than others, so bear this in mind when choosing your winery. 

Tasting Experiences 

Different St. Helena wineries have different tasting experiences to offer. You should consider the details before making your reservation. 

For instance, if you’re exclusively looking to sample red wine, there are some wineries in this guide that provide red wine experiences (see also “Santa Rosa Wineries: Your Complete Guide“).

Similarly, if it’s important to you that a tour of the vineyard is included in the tasting experience, make sure this is part of the program before booking. 

Virtual tastings are offered by some of our recommended wineries, so if you’re not able to travel to St. Helena, there are still ways to enjoy informative and immersive tastings.

Food Pairings 

Some wine tastings at St. Helena wineries come with food pairings, while others don’t.

If you want your wine tasting to include a culinary element, check the details of the tastings on offer at each winery you consider to make sure food is included. 


Some wineries we’ve talked about today offer wine tastings at more affordable prices than others.

High-end wine-tasting experiences can come with a hefty price tag, so make sure you’re aware of all costs involved before you reserve your experience.

Most of the wineries in our guide have multiple tastings, and these usually range in price depending on what’s included and where exactly the tasting takes place.

Membership Options 

Be sure to check out each winery’s membership options before you book your tasting!

Buying a membership often means you can get one or more tasting experiences, but other perks like regular wine shipments and invitations to special events.

Reservation Process 

While a few of the wineries we’ve recommended today accept walk-in tastings subject to availability, most will request that you book in advance.

Some of these wineries are extremely popular and require you to book multiple days in advance, so start planning early to avoid disappointment. 

Final Thoughts 

We hope that reading about our top 9 St. Helena wineries has inspired you to visit some of these incredible venues for great wine and food pairings, as well as an invaluable education in wine production and tasting! 

Remember to book your chosen winery in advance if you can, and consider all the different tastings each venue has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Which Wines Is St. Helena Famous For?

There’s a reason St. Helena is famous for its wine, and it’s not just because the town happens to have so many wineries.

Napa Valley as a whole, including St. Helena, is famous for its delicious Cabernet Sauvignon wines. 

Cabernet Sauvignon, in general, is a rich wine with a complex but balanced flavor profile. However, the Cabernet Sauvignon wines you can sample at St. Helena’s wineries are even better than your average bottle of this popular red wine. 

Where Are The Best Restaurants In St. Helena?

While some of the wine-tasting venues we’ve mentioned in today’s guide do offer food platters alongside their wines, we recommend finding some good places to eat, too.

Our personal recommendations include the Goose & Gander, which is a steakhouse, or Brasswood, which not only has a bar, kitchen, and bakery, but also offers tastings of the venue’s own handcrafted wines. 

For a slightly more casual experience, we recommend Gott’s, which has burgers and tacos on the menu. If you’re specifically looking for local, high-end, fresh cuisine, PRESS or Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch are your best options. 

Why Should I Visit St. Helena?

Of course, if you’re a lover of excellent wine, you don’t need any more of a reason to visit St. Helena. This area of Napa Valley is one of the best locations for wine tasting, not just in California, but in the world. With that being said, there are plenty more reasons to visit this town that aren’t related to wineries!

St. Helena also has a thriving culinary scene, including Michelin Star restaurants that use locally-sourced ingredients to create phenomenal dishes. From art galleries to independent shops, you can spend hours walking through the streets of St. Helena.

Jon Barbieri
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