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Napa, first famous for the fruit it produced for those living in San Francisco, is now the gem of the United States winemaking regions.  Which wineries should you visit?  Those that tug your sleeve and pull you in along your travels.   Here are a few small Napa wineries that you might otherwise miss, all of them gems:

Downtown Napa:

1)    Olabisi Winery – Perfect tasting room with chic wines and great prices.
2)    Trahan Winery—Family winery with small-production reds.
3)    Ceja Vineyards – Great wine, plus live music on Friday evenings during the summer.
4)    Fontanella Family Winery – Charming country retreat with chardonnay, zinfandel, and cabernet.
5)    Caldwell Vineyard – Views in every direction, and a terrific clonal-variety collection.
6)    Ancien Wines—Hand-crafted wines on historic wine site.
7)    Frazier Family Estate Winery—Wine caves dug into scenic hillside property.

The Silverado Wine Trail: 

Originally a mining trail, the Silverado runs north and south, connecting Napa and Calistoga. It includes Oak Knoll and Stag’s Leap.

1)    Pina Napa Valley – a sixth-generation winery.
2)    Robert Sinsky Vineyards – A terrific experience of every part of a family winery.
3)    Venge Vineyards – With its gorgeous views and intimate family feel, this is a great stop.
4)    Robert Biale Vineyards – One of the most elite Zinfandel producers in America.
5)    White Rock Vineyards – First wineries were here in the 1870s, great underground caves.
6)    Hagafen Cellars – Family Winery surrounded by wine giants, holds its own producing 28 wines.
7)    Phifer Pavitt Wine – Date Night Wine, a celebrated cab in a laid-back atmosphere.

Calistoga and the Surrounding Areas:  History, mineral hot springs, and wonderfully quirky.

1)    Zahtila Vineyards – This one-woman winery has a nice variety and tastings are in the barn!
2)    August Briggs Winery – A family winery with pinot meunier and charbono – unusual, tasty.
3)    Zacherle Wines – unusual wines from various, small, Napa and Lake County AVAs.
4)    T Vine Cellars – Visitors welcome during crush.  Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.
5)    Voces – Hand-crafted wines on menus of the country’s finest restaurants. Very friendly.
6)    Lava Vine –  Premium, handcrafted wine-sourcing from organic vineyards.
7)    Shypoke – Small family winery, growing charbono, California’s grape, since 1896. Rare treat.

Howell Mountain: Off-the-beaten path and cooler mountain climates.  Gorgeous
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1)     Lamborn Family Vineyards—a pure family winemaking experience.  Walk the vineyards.   Views!
2)    Summit Lane Vineyards & Winery – Barnyard ducks, a lake, the kitchen table.  Wonderful.
3)    Ladera Vineyards – Premium wine, hands-on harvest crush experience.
4)    Viader Vineyard and Winery – super-premium cabs with one of the most amazing views in Napa.
5)    Black Sears Estate – Zinfandel and cab, on the backroad, off a really remote backroad.  Wow!
6)    Saunter – Al-fresco winemaker tour, learn about wines from the ground up.
7)    Bravante Vineyards – Bordeaux varietals, winery, caves, picnics. Well-behaved dogs welcome.