A boutique winery that distributes to no retailers at all, V. Sattui (1111 White Lane, St. Helena, 707/963-7774, www.vsattui.com, daily summer 9 a.m.–6 p.m., winter 9 a.m.–5 p.m., $5–15) won the “Best Winery” award at the California State Fair in both 2006 and 2007—a mighty feat in a state filled with excellent vintners.
Sattui produces a wide selection of varietals—everything from light-bodied whites to full-flavored Cabernet Sauvignons. The dessert Madeira is particularly fine—if it’s not on the tasting menu, ask your pourer at the bar if they’ve got a bottle open and you might just get lucky.
The big tasting room on Highway 29 boasts three big bar areas, endless stacks and cases of wine out and ready for purchase, a separate register, and a full deli. The gardens surrounding the facility include a number of picnic tables and Sattui is a popular lunchtime stop for all-day tasters.
But beware: All the recent good press makes even the big Sattui tasting room fill up on in-season weekends.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition