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Napa’s Silverado Trail gets points for the rolling vineyard images and honest light that the name conjures up.  It lives up to its name.

The Silverado Trail is an old stagecoach route that runs 30 miles, from Napa to Calistoga.  It is parallel to Highway 29.  There are small roads that connect the Trail to the highway, making hopping on and off the two highways easy.

Don’t be misled by the name–the road is paved!  It is also a favorite among cyclists who prefer back roads.  Silverado is a slower-paced ramble than Highway 29.  You’ll come across some sumptuous, small family wineries that are tucked along the Trail or rise from the low hills.

Here are three very different winery experiences along the Silverado Trail, all with sublime wine:

    1. Sterling Vineyards.  This is housed in an unusual Greek-style building.  It rests on a rocky perch and when you get there, you might wonder, “How do I get to the good stuff?  The wine?”  No problem.  Hop into their gondola and you’ll soar up the hill and into the winery.  Wonderful view, and a good time.
    2. Shafer Vineyards.  Shafer is just off the Silverado Trail north of Napa.  Instead of sitting high on a rocky outcropping, Shafer is at the base of the hills.  The surroundings are bucolic, and the vineyards and wine cave hug the winery.  Peaceful views of the Napa Valley abound.
    3. Caymus Vineyards.   Head north nine miles on the Silverado Trail from Shafer.  This is the wine experience that will round out your explorations along the Silverado Trail.  This is an unpretentious family winery that is run by Chuck Wagner. The winery was established by his family in the early 1900s.  Caymus focuses exclusively on its cabernets.

Continue north and consider a trek up Mt. St. Helena.  At an altitude of 4343 ft., she dominates the skyline, and gives you a panoramic view of some of the sweetest scenery in the world.  Walk the hills, survey the earth.  Remember, wine country is about the land.  Joyful and generous.

Visit the Silverado Trail & Napa Valley

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Written by Authentic Wine Country’s Featured Travel Writer, Allie Lynch