Want to visit one of the most beautiful Napa Valley wineries? In this Domaine Carneros review, I’ll tell you all about one of the most beautiful wineries in Napa Valley. Domaine Carneros winery is definitely worth a visit during your Napa Valley adventures. Keep reading for all the details!
Domaine Carneros Review
I spent a sunny Monday afternoon sipping delicious sparkling wine and admiring the beautiful views at Domaine Carneros. My family came to visit from Ireland and we spent three wonderful days in Napa exploring and wine tasting.
I live quite locally in San Francisco and have passed by the beautiful Domaine Carneros many times. It’s been on my list of Napa wineries to visit for some time. After having experienced a Domaine Carneros wine tasting, I can share that it was as fabulous as I thought it would be.
The Chateau is absolutely beautiful, the views are breathtaking and the wines are just as good. We sat outside on the patio for our wine tasting and enjoyed the rolling hills and vineyards surrounding us. The Chateau is even more beautiful up close. This was my first time visiting Domaine Carneros and it did not disappoint. My family and I loved the winery and had a great experience.
Domaine Carneros History
The Domaine Carneros Château was completed in 1989. It is a well known California wine country landmark. As I mentioned above, I have passed it many times and wowed at its beauty each time. The Castle was inspired by the classic 18th century Château de la Marquetterie in Champagne, France which is home of Champagne Taittinger. Domaine Carneros was founded by the Champagne Taittinger family.
The castle is located in the Carneros AVA region of Napa Valley. It is situated on a grand hill overlooking estate vineyards.
The Napa Valley Castle has a grand staircase, formal gardens, expansive outdoor terraces, a marble-floored fireside salon and stunning views of vine-covered hills. The french estate setting is the perfect winery to visit for a special occasion or for a fancy outing with friends and family. If you are a regular blog reader, you know I love castles and am always writing about my latest castle experience.
Domaine Carneros is best known as a small grower-producer of méthode traditionelle sparkling wine, their Pinot Noir, estate vineyards, and a beautiful castle. Renowned wine maker Eileen Crane led and ran Domaine Carneros from the opening right up until 2020.
Domaine Carneros, owned by Kobrand corporation, has always been known for luxury sparkling wines. In 1992, Pinot Noir was added to their portfolio. I’ll share more on Domaine Carneros wines below.
Domaine Carneros Wine Tasting and Domaine Carneros Reservations
Organizing a trip to go wine tasting at Domaine Carneros is really easy. You can make reservations for up to 8 people directly on the website or you can call or email to make your reservation.
The tasting fee begins at $40 and increases depending on which tasting you opt for. There are two sparkling options, one red wine tasting option, and one mixed tasting option.
You get 2 oz in each glass of wine, which is quite generous compared to some other wineries.
Here are the four tasting options at Domaine Carneros (in order of cost):
Domaine Carneros Sparkling Wine Sampler
Tastings: 2017 Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut, 2017 Domaine Carneros Estate Brut Cuvée, 2018 Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé and 2018 Domaine Carneros Verméil Demi-Sec
Domaine Carneros Red Wine Sampler
Tastings: 2020 Domaine Carneros Avant-Garde Pinot Noir, 2019 Domaine Carneros Estate Pinot Noir, 2020 Domaine Carneros Le Ciel Serein Pinot Noir and 2019 Domaine Carneros Famous Gate Pinot Noir
Domaine Carneros Sparkling Chateau Tasting
Tastings: 2017 Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut, 2018 Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé, 2016 Domaine Carneros Late Disgorged Brut and 2015 Domaine Carneros Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs
Domaine Carneros Grande Tasting
Tastings: 2016 Domaine Carneros Late Disgorged Brut, 2015 Domaine Carneros Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs, 2020 Domaine Carneros Le Ciel Serein Pinot Noir and 2019 Domaine Carneros Famous Gate Pinot Noir
We enjoyed the Sparkling wine sampler and it was a great option. Domaine Carneros are known for the best sparkling wines so we opted for the sparkling wine tasting. I did buy a bottle of the Estate Pinot Noir so I can enjoy it at home.
Our server was really welcoming and friendly. He brought out the flight menu and all the sparkling wines at once so we could enjoy them at our leisure. This is different to most other Napa wineries I have visited. Usually the server brings out one at a time and gives some history on each bottle. This was nice as we could go at our ease and enjoy the sparkling wines as we pleased, while admiring the backdrop of the mountains and the rolling vineyards.
We chose to sit outside on the patio as it has amazing views. In my opinion, this is the best way to enjoy the scenery and the Carneros region. Domaine Carneros is located on Duhig road, just off the Sonoma Highway. The noise level is perfect even though you can hear the cars passing in the background. The surroundings are so beautiful that you barely notice the noise. There is also indoor seating which also looks so cozy and luxurious, especially by the fireplaces.
Domaine Carneros is open daily for tastings from 10:00am-5:30pm, with last reservations taken at 5:00pm.
Domaine Carneros Restaurant & Food Pairings
Domaine Carneros is one of the few Napa Valley wineries that offers table service. There are various food pairings that you can add to your wine tasting. You can choose from cheese plates, meat plates, smoked salmon, caviar, and vegan cheese plates. The charcuterie plates and small cheese sampler seemed very popular on the day I visited. These can be ordered on the day and do not need to be ordered ahead.
Domaine Carneros Wine Reviews
During my Domaine Carneros tastings, I tasted their Californian sparkling wines only. These were all delicious! Domaine carneros wines have won many awards and are highly rated. You can shop all wines on their website or purchase when you are visiting the Napa Valley Castle.
The Estate Brut is one of the more popular options. It is a small cuvée comprised of grapes grown in their own vineyards. The newest release features notes of pear, golden apple, quince, and lychee. In short, it is delicious!
Domaine Carneros offer lots of great deals when you buy more bottles including reduced shipping and % off.
Domaine Carneros Wine Club Membership
If you love wine tasting at Domaine Carneros winery, then you may want to look into the Domaine Carneros wine club. It offers lots of perks such as complimentary wine tastings for you and a guest, complimentary castle tours, bi-monthly shipments and much more. Domaine Carneros also has lots of upcoming festive events. Members get discounted tickets to such events. You can see all benefits of the Domaine Carneros Wine Club Membership here.
My Overall Domaine Carneros Reviews
As you can see from this Domaine Carneros Review, I loved my wine tasting at the Napa castle. Domaine Carneros Napa is one of the most beautiful wineries in Napa. The winery has beautiful views and is a great place to enjoy a glass of wine while admiring the vineyards.
Domaine Carneros is a short drive from San Francisco so it makes the perfect girls outing from San Francisco or a luxury weekend escape. I highly recommend buying a bottle of Domaine Carneros wine when you are there so you can relive your visit at home on another occasion.
Hope you get some travel inspiration from looking at my Domaine Carneros pictures. It is truly as beautiful as it looks. If you have any questions about visiting Domaine Carneros, as always feel free to DM me on Instagram or contact me via email.
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To wrap up my Domaine Carneros review, I want to share some frequently asked questions on Domaine Carneros so you can plan your adventure appropriately.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the dress code for Domaine Carneros?
There is no set dress code for Domaine Carneros. It is a special place so it would be nice to wear something dressy. Napa gets quite cold in the evening during fall and winter, so make sure to bring a layer for the evening. Napa is extremely hot in the summer months so make sure you wear sunscreen every day and a hat if possible.
How much time can I spend at Domaine Carneros?
Most tastings at Domaine Carneros are 60 minutes. Some of the more expensive, tailored options are 90 minutes.
What time does Domaine Carneros open and close?
Domaine Carneros opens daily at 10:00am and closes just after 5.30pm. The last reservation is at 5:00pm and the last pour is at 5:30pm. I would plan an earlier tasting than 5pm. It’s such a beautiful location that you don’t want to feel rushed.
Are children allowed at Domaine Carneros?
No, children are not allowed to visit Domaine Carneros. Adults 21 and older are allowed to visit the castle. Take it as your sign to enjoy some much needed time off.
Can I bring my pet to Domaine Carneros?
No pets are allowed at Domaine Carneros. Service animals are only allowed.
Can I have a picnic at Domaine Carneros?
Domaine Carneros does not have a place for picnics. There are lots of different options for enjoying food with your wine tasting that can be purchased at Domaine Carneros. These include local charcuterie and cheeses, vegan cheeses, smoked salmon and caviar.
Can I stroll through the vineyards?
For safety, walking through the vineyards is not permitted. The views of the castle and vineyards are amazing. Without walking through the vineyards, you can still get amazing photos and feel like you are super close to the vines.
Where else should I visit when in Napa Valley?
Where should I stay when in Napa Valley?
I recently stayed at Napa River Inn and loved it so much. It’s located in downtown Napa and is a quick drive from everything. The rooms are really quaint and lots have a cozy fireplace. Read all the details on Napa River Inn in my blog post here.
Thank you to Domaine Carneros for hosting us during our visit.