Charbay Winery & Distillery, St. Helena
St. Helena , California
Tel: 707 963 9327
Concierge.com's insider take:
When you've had it with crowds, cabernet, and the pretense of the major wineries, book a tasting at Charbay Winery, a folksy throwback to the days when Napa's wineries looked like farms, not monuments. Founded by a 13th-generation master distiller from Serbia, Charbay has a cult following for its spirits and aperitif wines. Giant copper stills lie outside the garage-like tasting room, which doubles as the barrel room. During the sit-down tasting at a plastic table and picnic chairs, you'll sample unusual fortified and still wines. If you secretly add ice to your wine, you'll be delighted by Charbay, a Mendocino-grown chardonnay enriched with house-made brandy; serve it straight up as a dessert wine, or add ice and a twist for a smart and elegant aperitif. Do the same for the berry-rich rosé, and it tastes just like sangria. But the spirits are what make Charbay famous. California law won't allow you to taste them on-site, but trust us: The vodkas are fabulous, and some come flavored with bright fruit like blood orange, raspberry, or Meyer lemon.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 9 am to 5 pm.