Wine Tasting by Jeep
Hop in a Jeep for a carefree tasting excursion.
Summit Lake Vineyards // by Heather Griffin
This isn’t your everyday tour of Napa Valley. No need to dress up or do your hair. Instead, climb into an open-air Jeep to wind through the backroads of Napa Valley or up into the sinuous switchbacks of Howell Mountain, where you’ll visit a handful of low-key, family-owned wineries—all producing small lots of oh-so-drinkable wines.
Hidden Napa Jeep Tours is owned by Julie Paine, who says she’s just a “girl with a Jeep.” Paine will drive you to whichever destinations you prefer while you ride in the back, with the top down and blankets draped over you for a cozy ride. Let Paine take you to several hand-selected, hard-to-find wineries from among more than 25 places that craft stellar vino.
Wineries Your Way
Whether you aim to stay on the valley floor, or head into Wine Country’s hidden hills, Paine stitches together custom tours of three to four wineries catered to your desires. Sit on Mario Bazán’s front porch at Mario Bazán Cellars to talk about wine growing, play bocce ball at the kid-friendly Pope Valley Winery, or sip Howell Mountain Cabs in the vines at Summit Lake Vineyards. Whatever your pleasure—fruit-forward reds, sustainable production methods—Paine delivers.
Lunching in the Vines
Paine takes you to a local deli to pick up provisions, and while you sample Zinfandel off a winery’s reserve list, she lays them out for you. You’ll find sandwiches and cheeses atop a tablecloth-covered picnic table along the shores of quiet Lake Hennessey, or on a blanket under a giant oak tree fronting a century-old barn. After lunch, ask Paine to zoom you back down the hill to Fontanella Family Winery so you can end your tour sampling dessert wines paired with chocolate.
Tours start at $325 for four people; this doesn’t include tasting fees or lunch. Paine can pick you up and drop you off at your hotel if you’re staying in Napa, so you can nap off your tasting adventure without ever getting behind the wheel. hiddennapa.com.