Napa Valley may be known for its Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays, but let’s not forget it also produces some of the country’s best sparkling wines.
The bubbles in sparkling wine comes from carbon dioxide through natural fermentation either in the bottle or in a tank that can withstand the pressure.
Méthode Traditionelle, or the traditional method from France, is the labor-intensive process whereby wine undergoes a secondary fermentation inside the bottle, creating bubbles. This process is used after a base wine is made using steel tanks or oak barrels to perform a primary fermentation. Most high-quality sparkling wines are made by this process.
And a reminder: in order for a sparkling wine to be called Champagne, it has to be from that region of France.
No matter what you call it, the best thing about bubbles is that you can start early and drink it with breakfast. So get ready to hit the road for a fun-filled bubbly day in Napa!
Start your day at the top (northernmost) of the sparkling food chain with Schramsberg Vineyards. Located north of St. Helena, Schramsberg sells nine sparkling wines and focuses on preserving century-old traditions, most still done by hand.
Unlike most sparkling wines, Schramsberg ferments 25% of its juice in oak barrels to produce a richer, more luscious style. In its top two sparkling wines, the J. Schram and Schramsberg Reserve, 40% of the components are barrel-fermented.
Tours and tastings of the historic property and caves are available by appointment up to 10 guests, 90 minutes each.
9:30 am, 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm & 2:30 pm
Cost: $70 per person
One of the most beautiful tours you can take in Napa Valley is of Mumm Napa. Their roots can be traced back to GH Mumm, the leading international champagne brand in France.
The property overlooks the Rutherford Vineyards and provides stunning views while you try each of the sparkling varietals with table service on the terrace or patio.
You can also check out a gallery collection of original Ansel Adams prints on loan from the Adams family, along with work from renowned local and international artists, updated throughout the year.
Mumm Napa also uses the Méthode Traditionnelle and 100% of all of their grapes are hand picked.
Tastings are available either with table service outside on the patio or inside the salon from 10am until 6pm and range from $28 to $35.
Probably one of the most well-known Napa sparkling wine outside of California, Chandon offers nearly 15 different sparkling varietals.
Named ‘Domestic Winery of the Year 2018’ at the International Wine & Spirits Competition: Sommelier Challenge, Domaine Chandon offers a retro-style architecture and lush landscape to try one of their proudly served ice-cold sparkling wines.
New this week includes a bar serving sparkling wine cocktails and frosé. Try the Sapphire with Chandon Blanc de Noirs, fresh lime juice, lavender simple syrup, blueberries and blueberry juice or a Mirosa with Chandon Rosé and grapefruit juice.
Tastings are offered daily from 10am until 4:30pm and range from $20 to $35 each. No appointment is needed for groups fewer than ten people and you can choose from the tasting room, terrace, lounge patio or lawn. They also offer seated, semi-private hosted tastings that rotate regularly, reservations required. Currently, no tours are being offered.
Drink in spectacular lake and vineyard views from your private table at Domaine Carneros. You’ll taste five of the sparkling wines from the winery on a beautiful sprawling estate patio.
Founded by the family behind Champagne Taittinger, Domaine Carneros has distinctive styles ranging from the classic vintage-dated Brut cuvée to the luxury Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs. All of the wines hail from the Carneros appellation, and 95% of the fruit comes from their estate vineyards.
Tours are offered from 10:00am to 5:30pm. Tastings start at $35 and require a reservation.