NapaNow
Napa Valley, California

Wine

Wine Caves

The use of caves for storing and aging wine goes back, at least, to the Romans. In the 1800s, Chinese laborers using picks and shovels built the first Napa Valley wine caves. Jacob Schram constructed tunnels (at today's Schramsberg Vineyards) beginning in 1870 and the Beringer brothers began to do the same at their winery (now Beringer Vineyards) soon afterwards.

Today nearly 100 Napa Valley wineries have caves, and more are being created all the time—although the picks and shovels have been replaced by heavy-duty construction equipment. Originally built for the storage of wine barrels, some caves now contain a winery's entire operations.

Digging a cave is less expensive than constructing a building for similar purposes. Caves save energy costs by providing constant humidity (80-90%) and temperature (55- 60 F), reduce evaporation of wine, and require less governmental approval. Plus they have less visual impact on the landscape, and offer a great—and often magnificent—location for tastings, dinners and musical events.

Caves can be humble tunnels for barrel aging or definitely unhumble. For example, take Villa Amarosa in St. Helena. Currently under construction by V. Sattui Winery owner Darryl Sattui, the cave will sit below an 89,000 square foot "14th century" castle with three floors of wine cellars, more than 60 rooms, and a 1,000 square foot well-equipped medieval torture chamber (presumably for viewing only). Also under construction is Palmaz Winery in Napa, owned by the co-inventor of the cardiovascular stent. The 50,000 square foot winery will be completely underground, and will include a 50-foot high, 75-foot wide dome reminiscent of the interior of a mosque. Wine storage will be take place 11 stories underground.

For detailed information on wine cave construction, we recommend this website: www.winecaves.com.

Wine cave

Dining area in caves at Pine Ridge Winery. (Photo courtesy of Glen Ragsdale.)


Here are some of the wine caves that can currently be visited.

Beringer Vineyards

2000 Main Street

St. Helena CA 94574

707.963.7115

www.beringervineyards.com

Daily tours. Hand-dug tunnels from the 1800s.

Cliff Lede Vineyards

1473 Yountville Cross Road

Yountville CA 94599

800.428.2259

www.cliffledevineyards.com

Tours by appointment of 7,500 square feet of champagne caves with 18-foot cathedral ceilings.

Clos Pegase Winery

1060 Dunaweal Lane

Calistoga CA 94515

707.942.4981

www.clospegase.com

Daily tours of cave theater and dining room in 20,000 square feet of tunnels.

Cuvaison Winery

4550 Silverado Trail

Calistoga CA 94515

707.942.6266

www.cuvaison.com

Daily tours. 22,000 square foot cave.

Eagle and Rose Estate

1844 Pope Valley Road

Pope Valley CA 94567

707.965.9463

www.eagleandrose.com

Tours by appointment. 7,000 square feet of caves.

Folie a Deux

370 North St. Helena Highway

St. Helena CA 94574

800.473.4454

www.folieadeux.com

Tours by appointment.

Jarvis Winery

2970 Monticello Road

Napa CA 94558

707.255.5250

www.jarviswines.com

Tours by appointment. Underground stream and waterfall.

Pine Ridge Winery

5901 Silverado Trail

Napa CA 94558

707.857.9777

www.pineridgewinery.com

Tours by appointment.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards

6320 Silverado Trail

Napa Ca 94558

707.944.9090

www.robertsinskey.com

Tours by appointment. 18,000 square feet of caves.

Rutherford Hill Winery

200 Rutherford Hill Road

PO Box 427

Rutherford CA 94573

www.rutherfordhill.com

Tours daily. One mile of wine caves.

Schramsberg Winery

1400 Schramsberg Road

Calistoga CA 94515

707.942.4558

www.schramsberg.com

Tours by appointment. Century-old wine caves have been extended to two miles of tunnels.

Shafer Vineyards

6154 Silverado Trail

Napa CA 94558

707.944.2877

www.shafervineyards.com

Tours by appointment. 8,000 square feet of caves with fresh underground springs.

Storybook Mountain Vineyards

3835 Highway 128

Calistoga CA 94515

707.942.5310

www.storybookwines.com

Tours by appointment. Century-old wine caves.

Vine Cliff Winery

7400 Silverado Trail

Napa CA 94558

707.944.2388

www.vinecliff.com

Tours by appointment. 15,000 square feet of caves.

Von Strasser

1510 Diamond Mountain Road

Calistoga CA 94515

707.942.0930

www.vonstrasser.com

Tours by appointment. 6,800 square foot cave.

Back to top