This Mission-style winery founded by the pioneer of modern-day California winemaking (who died at age 94 in 2008) is one of my top recommendations for visitors who’d like a comprehensive but easily digestible schooling on winemaking and winetasting. Its grounds are beautiful and well-appointed, but the real attraction here is the range of tours. You might want to begin with the wine-tasting basics tour ($25 for a 45-min. review of how to read a wine label and to see, smell, sip, and spit). The 30-minute Discovery Tour, which is a good fast primer, requires no reservations (though they max out at 20 people) and is offered daily in the summer and on weekends the rest of the year; it costs $25 for two tastings, and kids are welcome (under 13 tour free). The year-round 90-minute Signature Tour features a sit-down guided wine tasting (three tastes), requires advance reservations, and costs $40 per person. You’ll stroll the vineyards and the cellars; children are welcome but must be at least 13 years old to attend. After your tour, make sure to explore the grounds; you’ll encounter a collection of chunky sculptures by Beniamino Bufano (famous for chopping off his trigger finger and mailing it to President Woodrow Wilson rather than fight in World War I—his digital protest didn’t seem to affect the power of his art.) The tasting rooms generally offer about 10 wines that are exclusive to the winery, and tastings start at $5. Each summer, the winery hosts outdoor concerts, something it’s been doing since 1969, 3 years after Mondavi kicked off Napa’s post-Prohibition rise. Don’t miss a chance to attend a concert if you can (plan in advance; they sell out); with wine flowing and people picnicking and dancing to the music of extremely famous names, it’s Napa Valley living at its best.
Napa Valley› Attraction
Highway 29, Oakville
Our Rating Neighborhood Oakville Hours Daily 10am–5pm; closed holidays Phone 888/766-6328 Prices The cost is $25 for two tastings and kids are welcome (under 13 tour free). The year-round 90-minute Signature Tour features a sit-down guided wine tasting (3 tastes) advance reservations, and costs $40 per person. The tasting rooms generally offer about 10 wines that are exclusive to the winery, and the tastings start at $5. Web site Robert Mondavi
MapHighway 29, Oakville Napa Valley
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.