One-fourth of the “best wineries in America” are located in the Napa Valley.
I doubt that surprises anyone.
So maintains The Daily Meal, which claims to be the world’s largest food and drink lifestyle website.
While the list of 101 wineries includes properties from coast to coast, 25 on the list produce wine from grapes grown in the Napa Valley. One more has a Sonoma address but harvests mainly Napa Valley fruit.
But I think locals will be surprised to learn that the top five wineries on the list are located elsewhere: Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles is numero uno, followed in order by Ridge Vineyards (Cupertino), Au Bon Climat (Santa Barbara), Calera Wine (Mount Harlan) and Woodward Canyon Winery (Lowden, Washington).
Rounding out the Top 10 are Dunn Vineyards (Angwin), Heitz Cellars (St. Helena), Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery (St. Helena), Leonetti Cellar (Walla Walla, Washington) and Robert Sinskey Vineyards (Yountville).
“Identifying what we believe to be the 101 best wineries in the United States was an extremely challenging mission,” said Colman Andrews, The Daily Meal’s editorial director and former editor-in-chief of Saveur Magazine. “The sheer quantity and variety of good and great wine being made in this country has grown exponentially in the past two or three decades.
“This ranking isn’t a beauty contest, giving points for attractive settings or handsome architecture, or a guide to fine winery dining. While some of the places listed do indeed offer visual or gustatory attractions, we’re concerned with what gets put into the bottle and poured into our glass.”
The wineries on The Daily Meal list were nominated by experts in the field — sommeliers, wine writers, chefs and restaurateurs, along with wine-savvy editors at The Daily Meal. Taking part as well were well-known hospitality industry leaders like chef/restaurateur Daniel Boulud and Daniel Johannes, corporate wine director for Boulud’s Dinex Group; chef/restaurateur and Daily Meal contributor Norman Van Aken; sommelier, wine educator and wine blogger Elizabeth Schneider; and Julian Mayor, head sommelier at Bourbon Steak in Washington, D.C.
“Where possible, we factored in our own tasting notes of recent vintages,” Andrews wrote on the Daily Meal’s website. “We also consulted the leading wine publications and newsletters and considered recent awards from prestigious competitions.
“We also factored in quality-to-price ratio. While this wasn’t our principal criterion, we did feel that value should be considered in our ranking strategy. Value doesn’t necessarily mean low price, of course, so there are some producers of pricey wines represented here. But our consideration of value accounts in part for the absence from our list of some of the famous “trophy wines” from the Napa Valley and elsewhere, wines priced at many hundreds of dollars on release and bought more often — we’re pretty sure — as status symbols rather than as delicious things to savor, though it is also worth noting that our panel didn’t vote for some of the most famous names at all.”
Additional area wineries included in the Top 25 are Matthiasson Winery, Shafer Vineyards, Corison Winery, Duckhorn Vineyards, Schramsberg Vineyards, Chateau Montelena Winery, Massican Winery, Mayacamas Vineyards and Whetstone Wine Cellars.
Other Napa Valley wineries that made the list include Diamond Creek Vineyards, Spottswoode Winery, St. Supery Vineyards and Winery, Swanson Vineyards, Robert Mondavi Winery,Truchard Vineyards, Freemark Abbey, Keplinger Wines, Favia Wines, Stony Hill Vineyard, Neyers Vineyards and Cornerstone Cellars. Sonoma’s Patz and Hall also made the list.
Roughly two-thirds of the listed wineries are based in California, and the Pacific Northwest is well represented, too.Wineries from New York — both the Finger Lakes and Long Island — Virginia, Texas, Maryland, Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan and Pennsylvania also made the list.
Andrews said the goal was “to represent many parts of the country in this list, but we also need to acknowledge that the vast majority of America’s best wines come from the West Coast.”