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Savoring Small Winery Tasting Experiences In The Napa Valley

Most Napa Valley visitors have heard of Robert Mondavi wines, Sutter Home and Beringer. You can buy and enjoy their wines in most U.S. grocery stores and wine shops.

But, most visitors have never heard of Elk Horn Peak, Hagafen, Miller, Madrigal or Stelzner (to name just a few...).

There's more than 350 wineries in the 38 mile long Napa Valley and only a few dozen are widely known. That doesn't mean they are the best. Sure, they make good wine, but so do many of the really small wineries.

Small and boutique wineries are real "hands on" operations. They are fun, friendly and have tons of character.

Some, like Elk Horn Peak are really laid back and built into an old barn. Ken makes an outstanding Pinot Noir.

Others, like Cosentino, have a tasting room right on Highway 29. If you like Zinfandel, their's is terrific.

The magic of small wineries and vineyards is the character and individuality they provide the Napa Valley visitor.

One company, Vintners Collective, was formed to be a collective of wines from wine makers who all scored 90+ in Wine Spectator, but were too small to have their own tasting room. So, in one place, you can sample an incredible collection of fantastic wines by wine makers dedicated to the art of fine wine.

Small wineries and vineyards can give you a level of customer service and attention you may not receive at larger wineries. And, small wineries can't afford to have an attitude either. Their friendly attitude is genuine and fun. Goosecross and Stelzner are great examples of this. And their are tons more, too.

Often small and boutique wines are priced reasonably and provide a great value for the incredible quality you receive. The value of a wine isn't the price, it is what tastes good to you. Inexpensive wines can be just as good or better than expensive wines. I remember doing a blind tasting of Chardonnays a few years ago and out of 6 wines the most expensive wine came in last place when scored by the entire group.

Some of these small wineries, like Bouchaine and V. Sattui, have picnic tables and can even offer food, appetizers and nibbles to go with a bottle of their fine wine (food and wine at additional cost).

While many of these small and boutique wineries will sell you wine through the Internet, you don't have an easy way to find out which ones you like the best...unless you go their.

So, the next time you visit the Napa Valley to taste wines, try small wineries and vineyards. They'll make the experience an enjoyable and memorable one. And you can have wines shipped to your home or business to share with family and friends.

Article by Steve Sands. If you're planning a tour of Napa Valley wine country, pick up Steve's guide at: bestnapavalleywinetours.com

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