It’s the Holiday season, which means over the next several weeks, we’ll all be popping lots of sparkling, clinking glasses with our loved ones and eventually, ringing in a new year. It’s a celebratory period of reflection—upon the last year and then our hopes, dreams and goals for the next.
Such a special time demands a special kind of wine, and in wine country, we understand better than anyone why bubbly is the drink of choice. We can’t think of a better time to explore the champagne of Napa Valley and Sonoma than sparkling season, so we’ve rounded up seven sparkling wineries spread across both regions for you to consider on a winter wine country vacation.
But we also know that sparkling warrants more than the standard wine tasting experience. Something this special deserves VIP treatment, and that’s exactly what Booker & Butler can give you when planning your trip.
You’ll have your choice of seated tasting experiences, but reserving a spot on the Oak Terrace will provide the best panoramic vineyards views, plus you’ll get to taste Mumm’s reserve and limited-production sparkling wines, which you can only get at the winery. Check out the art gallery on your way out, which is currently displaying Ansel Adams photographs. // 8845 Silverado Trail, Rutherford, CA, mummnapa.com
The modernized architecture and grounds alone are worth a visit to Domaine Chandon, but the bubbly is of course, the main attraction. For a more casual tasting, post up at the bar, but if it’s nice out, we recommend snagging a spot outside on the patio, terrace or lawn. If you make this your first stop of the day, you’ll not only beat the crowds, but it’s perfect timing for one of their sparkling brunch-like cocktails. // 1 California Dr., Yountville, CA, chandon.com
If you only had time for one sparkling stop, we’d tell you to go to Schramsberg, as it’s the first winery to produce it in the U.S. using traditional French Champagne methods. You’ll drive up Diamond Mountain on a long, windy road and happen upon this hidden-winery, which was originally founded in 1862. This isn’t the kind of place you stop in for a quick tasting either. Instead, your visit includes an exclusive tour through their 125-year-old caves, where you’ll learn about riddling and the traditional champagne-making process, followed by a tasting of their exquisite sparkling wines, which have been poured at the White House since 1972. // 1400 Schramsberg Rd., Calistoga, CA, by appointment, schramsberg.com
This monumental chateau feels right out of France. Journey up several levels of steps—stopping halfway for a photo op—and enjoy a bird’s eye view of vineyard-covered hills from the top. Request a table on the terrace when you make your reservation and then choose either a sparkling sampler or bubbles by the glass to enjoy with a pairing from their food menu. If it’s chilly, you’ll likely find a fire in the tasting room.
For a more exclusive experience, Booker & Butler can help you arrange for a sparkling and caviar tasting or book the “Sparkling Suite” on a private balcony. // 1240 Duhig Rd., Napa, CA, by appointment, domainecarneros.com
J Vineyards & Winery
J has a handful of tasting options, but it’s really all about the J Bubble Room. This is a truly exclusive and unforgettable experience where you’ll sit down to enjoy a five-course meal, prepared by the executive chef from organic and locally-sourced ingredients and paired with their sparkling wines. Seating is extremely limited, so let us help you make your reservation! // 11447 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg CA, jwine.com
Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
You’ll want to reserve one of the three, daily guides tours to check out the underground caves. Afterwards, seating tastings on the outdoor terrace are also a popular option, but we much more love the idea of booking “Gloria’s Wine Country Picnic,” an intimate experience on the hilltop that’s perfect for two-four couples to relax and enjoy lunch, bubbles and views. Booker & Butler can help book this offering, which has very limited availability. // 23555 Hwy 121, Sonoma, CA, gloriaferrer.com
Korbel Champagne Cellars
At Korbel, you’ll pair your tasting with beautiful, majestic redwoods that surround the property. Make sure you hop on one of the day’s complimentary tours of the historic cellars, which have been around for 132 years. It’s the longest-producing sparkling winery of the group and even survived prohibition, so while it’s a bit of a trek up North, it’s a must visit. // 13250 River Rd., Guerneville, CA, korbel.com
Admittedly, tasting all of the bubbly in Napa and Sonoma in one wine country vacation would be a huge challenge. But if you’re a true champagne enthusiast, Booker & Butler can help you plan the ultimate sparkling itinerary. Just contact us here to get started.