When it comes to wine, Rachel Swann, Managing Partner of The Agency’s new San Francisco office, knows her stuff. Before finding her way to real estate, Rachel studied wine at UC Berkeley and The Master Court of Sommeliers and went on to tour the French and German wine routes, tasting her way through Napa, Sonoma, and beyond. We caught up with Rachel and had her give us the scoop on her favorite off-the-beaten path wineries around Napa, and even scored some tips for readers interested in doing some tasting of their own.
SIP HERE → Hall Winery: “Owned by Craig and Kathryn Hall, who are both avid wine lovers as well as prolific art collectors, this bustling winery is a great place to get your art and wine fix in one place. If you google ‘The Hall Winery Rabbit,’ you’ll see they have a massive rabbit sculpture at the entry to the winery; the architecture is beautiful, they have art everywhere, and the grounds are pooch-friendly! Collectively, over 140 Hall Wines have been rated 90 points and above.”
→ Maldonado Vineyards: “Tucked away in the eastern hills of Calistoga, California, this small winery boasts gorgeous views of the Palisades mountain range and exceptional, limited production wines. Housed inside a cave the founders drilled themselves, the wine is fermented and aged exceptionally in French oak barrels.
→ Gary Farrell Winery: “In the heart of the Russian River Valley, this beautiful winery is situated atop a picturesque ridge that offers incredible views of the valley below. With a 30-year winemaking history, the wines are known for their balance, elegance, and texture, and played a big part in putting the Russian River Valley on the map. The winery offers a number of unique and distinguished wine tasting experiences, by reservation, including immersive winery tours, wine and food pairings, and private tastings.”
→ Miner Family Wines: “This family-owned winery in the heart of Napa, along the scenic Silverado Trail, is known for its reserve style wines, sourcing their grapes from as far as Paso Robles, Sierra Foothills, Santa Lucia Highlands (Monterey), and Mendocino. They offer a variety of tastings, both sit down and wine bar in the tasting room. True to their name, they have an extensive working cave system and offer a private cave tour and tasting where visitors can learn the history of the Miner family, explore the caves, and enjoy a barrel sampling and wine tasting.”
EAT & SLEEP HERE → Auberge du Soleil: If all that tasting gives you a hankering for some shuteye, Rachel recommends treating yourself to a stay at this iconic Napa resort. Ranked the #1 Hotel in the Americas & Caribbean by Condé Nast Traveller, the resort is nestled amongst a 33-acre olive grove and known for its sweeping vineyard views, exceptional food (a Michelin star restaurant helmed by Chef Robert Curry), and impeccable service. If you haven’t had your fill of wine on the trail, it also boasts one of the most extensive cellars in the valley, with a staggering 15,000 hand-selected bottles.
→ Harvest Inn: Looking for something a little more low-key—and dog-friendly? This charming inn boasts spacious guest rooms, many with sensational vineyard views, and a well-regarded restaurant that highlights seasonal dishes and locally-sourced ingredients reflective of the region.