Silverado Trail Scenic Winery Tour
This article is by Marty Olmstead. Marty OImstead is the author of several travel books, including "Hidden Wine Country"(co-authored with Ray Riegert) and the "California Directory of Fine Wineries", all of which are available on Amazon.com.
Most visitors stick to Highway 29, the major thoroughfare through the Napa Valley. While the majority of the valley’s wineries are located on the highway, more than three dozen can be found on the less-traveled Silverado Trail.
“The Trail”, as locals call it, was laid out as a stagecoach route that runs east of, and almost parallel to, Highway 29. The two are linked by several cross roads. The Silverado Trail, which is paved and banked, is the ideal choice for cyclists as well as for people who’d rather spend their time in a winery tasting bar than in the stop-and-go traffic that clogs the main artery. Along this scenic route, you’ll be treated to fresh vistas as well, thanks to the Trail’s varying elevation and the absence of buildings except for wineries and private residences.
Most of the Napa Valley’s largest wineries are located on Highway 29, but a few – such as Mumm – can be found on the Silverado Trail. For the most part, however, the wineries here tend to be boutique- or medium-sized, which usually translates to less crowded tasting rooms, except on holiday and special-events weekends. For upcoming events sponsored by the Silverado Trail Wineries Association, which counts some 35 wineries as members, visit the web site at www.silveradotrail.com, which also lists information on individual wineries.
Here are some of our favorite stops along the Trail. To make driving easier, the wineries on the west side of the road are listed from north to south and those on the east side, from south to north.
North to South
This is the route that you will take if you are leaving from Golden Haven. As you exit Golden Haven, make a left on Lake Street. Continue several blocks until the end of Lake Street. Cross the street and you will be on the Silverado Trail. Take the Silverado Trail South to the following wineries which will always be on the right side of the Silverado first trail.
Gondolas ferry visitors up a hill to reach Sterling Vineyards. To reach Sterling, you will need to make a right turn off of Silverado on Dunaweal Lane, which will be less than a mile from Golden Haven. The white, Greek monastery-style winery has balconies outside the tasting room that afford outstanding views in all directions. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the production facilities. 1111 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga; 800‑726‑6136; 707‑942‑3467.