Napa Valley and Sonoma County have hundreds of wineries ranging from very small boutique wineries to much larger commercial or classic wineries.
While output is not the only criterion for determining whether a winery is considered boutique or classic, the designation also relates to how the grapes and winemaking process are handled.
Boutique Wineries of Napa Valley
Napa Valley tour packages by Platypus Wine Tours tend to focus on the operations of boutique wineries. Napa wine tours visit three boutique wineries where the processes from grape to table are more strictly defined.
Three distinct characteristics define a boutique winery. These are:
- Cultivation, Harvest, and Care of the Grapes: Boutique wineries tend to specify the source of their grapes, harvest carefully, and handle them carefully as they enter the wine press.
- Production and Handling: As the grapes arrive at a boutique winery, the winemaker will carefully judge how they should be processed. Some grapes may yield slightly different or unusual flavors that may demand mixing with another type to create a unique blend rather than a specific varietal.
- Volume: Smaller boutique wineries take the time to work with the grapes to produce their best possible wines. Larger, commercial-sized wineries tend to direct specific varieties into large batches, not necessarily attempting to create a particular flavor.
Classic Wineries of Napa Valley
Classic or commercial wineries in Napa Valley and elsewhere are usually much larger and are charged with producing gigantic amounts of wine yearly.
While in Napa Valley, the selection process for the incoming crop is always more strict than in other areas of California, the method of producing the wines is far less “hands-on” than in the boutique wineries.
Typically, the classic winery operates today in a more mechanized manner than boutique wineries, a necessary step to producing those higher volumes of wine. However, the broader distribution and international sales demand high-speed production.
Which is Better? Boutique or Classic Wines?
Boutique wines are not always better than those produced at classic wineries. However, you will find that during your Napa wine tours, the wines at each of the boutique wineries are excellent.
But many of the wines produced at the classic wineries will also be very highly regarded.
While the hands-on approach is excellent at creating unique wines, they may be more variable yearly since the winemakers pay special attention to the grapes and produce wines with particular characteristics.
Wines from classic wineries will usually be more consistent with year-to-year differences due mainly to the subtle differences in the grapes.
Reserve Your Place for Napa Valley Tour Packages
You can learn more about wines and winemaking with a carefully curated Napa wine tour. Between stops at boutique wineries, the Platypus wine tour host will share anecdotal information about managing the vineyards and some essential elements of the winemaking process.
Stops at three different and unique wineries will also give you a general overview of all that goes into the process. You may view the process close up and, depending on the time of year, witness the wines’ receiving, pressing, storing, and aging.
And you will have a chance to taste some of their splendid output.
To make reservations for join-in Napa Valley tour packages or private Napa wine tours, visit the Platypus Wine Tours website.
If you prefer to speak to someone directly or to make specific arrangements for your private Napa wine tours, please phone (707)-253-2723.