Home California Why You Should Visit America’s #1 Vineyard: Vincent Arroyo Winery

Why You Should Visit America’s #1 Vineyard: Vincent Arroyo Winery

by Penny Sadler

Voted the number one vineyard in the USA by Travel and Leisure Magazine, Vincent Arroyo Winery in Calistoga, California offers something for almost everyone. You don’t have to be a wine enthusiast to enjoy a visit. Though you should visit for the high quality wine,  Vincent Arroyo Winery has become known as one of the most fun and engaging winery experiences in the country. (Though the article states #1 vineyard, we believe they meant winery).

 

Why Visit America's #1 Vineyard Vincent Arroyo

Greenwood Ranch Vineyards

Indeed, Vincent Arroyo Winery is far from the stereotypical Napa Valley winery. The tasting room is concrete and plywood, with boxes of wine and olive oil lining the walls. There is no bar, or tasting menu. Instead, there’s a vintage card table (Vincent’s own table from the 70s), set with a selection of wines which changes from day to day.

Vincent Arroyo chats with a long time customer at the annual Amigo’s Party.

The unique wine selection, friendly staff, and relaxed atmosphere are just a few of the reasons customers return to Vincent Arroyo Winery. Not to mention that unlike most Napa Valley wineries Petite Sirah, not Cabernet Sauvignon, is the flagship wine.

Why You Should Visit America's #1 Vineyard Vincent Arroyo Winery

A busy day in the tasting room.

I love the informal atmosphere around the table. It’s akin to hanging out in the kitchen at a house party or family gathering. You may come in alone, but you’ll end up talking with whoever is standing around the table. Visitors from all over the world share a feeling of camaraderie at having been clever enough to discover this boutique winery in the far northern corner of Napa Valley.

 

Why You Should Visit America's #1 Vineyard Vincent Arroyo Winery

Rambunctious Rosie

Adding to the friendly ambiance is Rosie, a rambunctious two year old black lab who loves to play ball and greets all visitors. In 2017, the winery  bottled its first Syrah of Rosé. Want to guess what they named it? This is a bone dry rosé produced in the Provencal style.

You’ll often find Bodega in the tasting room, too. Bodega is a chocolate lab whose namesake wine is a blend of  Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petite Verdot grapes. Naming wines after the family pets is an enduring tradition at Vincent Arroyo Winery.

A little history

It was an ad offering a twenty-three acre vineyard for sale in the San Francisco Chronicle in the early 1970s that called to Vincent. A successful mechanical engineer,  he felt disconnected from the products he helped create. He’d never heard of Calistoga, but he knew he wanted a career that allowed him to be more hands on. He bought the vineyard and set out to become a farmer. It wasn’t until ten years later that he began making wine.

Today, the homestead sits on that property, and most of the original vineyards are still there. There are now over 80 acres under vine. I asked Vincent what made him decide to grow Petite Sirah. He said, “It tasted good with barbeque.”  Who can argue with that?

The second generation is now at the helm at VAW, and in 2018 the winery will be rebranding as Arroyo Winery.

The tasting experience

Most tastings will include the Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, a Tempranillo or a Sangiovese, a Zinfandel or Merlot, a red blend, and of course, the  signature wine, Petite Sirah. The team at VAW likes to mix it up so there is no “standard” tasting.

 

Why You Should Visit America's #1 Vineyard, Vincent Arroyo Winery

Menu of the day

The Wines

The first wines made at Vincent Arroyo Winery were Chardonnay, Melange (a blend), Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah. The winery currently offers sixteen different wines, all estate bottled, and sold exclusively through the winery or direct mail. Customers can reserve next  year’s vintage in advance to ensure they don’t miss out on the more popular wines, like the Petite Sirah.

There are four different bottlings of Petite Sirah at Vincent Arroyo Winery. Two are single vineyard and two are blends. The Petite Sirah Winemaker’s Reserve is a blend of the very best grapes. Blending the grapes from different plots affords customers a chance to buy a good wine at an affordable price point. Vincent Arroyo Winery makes about twelve other wines, and grows nine varietals.

 

Why Visit America's #1 Vineyard Vincent Arroyo

Mount St. Helena in the background with grapes in the foreground.

Internationally, Vincent Arroyo Winery’s Petite Sirah has become a bit of a cult wine over the years. This varietal has historically been used to add more color and body to wines, and used less so as a single varietal, as it is very tannic. But fans love its deep purple color, ability to age well, and compatibility with rich foods.

Top Tips

On a sunny day you can dine alfresco at one of the picnic tables. Grab a bottle of wine in the tasting room and bring your lunch with you.

Tastings are by appointment only. Please book in advance. For smaller groups you may get lucky and snag an appointment the day of.

The annual Winemaker’s Dinner and Amigo’s Party are always a sell out. They are reserved fro standing order customers and highly sought after events. Put the first weekend in May and the first weekend in October on your calendar now. It’s just one of many good reasons to become a standing order customer at Vincent Arroyo Winery.

The knowledgeable staff can answer most any question you have about winemaking – don’t be afraid to ask.

Discover what thousands of fans already know — Vincent Arroyo Winery offers one of Napa Valley’s most interesting experiences. 

Come to Vincent Arroyo Winery for the wine, the experience, and a chance to share in a little bit of Napa Valley history.

Did you like this article? Go ahead and share it! You may also want to read about my first visit to Calistoga

 

Why You Should Visit America's #1 Vineyard, Vincent Arroyo Winery

Why you should visit America's #1 Vineyard Vincent Arroyo Winery

Pull up a chair and stay a while.

Disclosure: I am the hospitality coordinator and social media manager at Vincent Arroyo Winery.  Having moved from Dallas to Napa Valley, I’m excited to part of the history of this family-owned winery.

 

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15 comments

Christopher December 12, 2017 at 9:50 pm

Wine enthusiast I am not so I’m really glad you mentioned that you don’t have to be a wine enthusiast to enjoy a visit. I love those chairs made out of the wine barrels. Where can I buy one or two? That would look great on my balcony. I do appreciate the informal atmosphere of people hanging out as apposed to the pretentious crowd. I love the scenery too!

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Penny Sadler December 13, 2017 at 10:13 am

Hi Christopher, wine barrel furniture is a thing.

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Megan Jerrard December 12, 2017 at 2:40 am

I like that you don’t have to be a wine enthusiast to enjoy a visit. I like wine, but I wouldn’t call myself a wine enthusiast, but I’m all up for learning and tasting in a fun relaxed atmosphere. I love the sound of the feeling of camaraderie that you’ve described – I never liked those experience which came with pretense. I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted Petite Sirah, so will have to get back to California and plan a stop in! We love our road trips, and my husband doesn’t drink, so I always have a designated driver :D! Adding Vincent Arroyo Winery to the list.

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Penny Sadler December 13, 2017 at 10:13 am

You’ll have UBER. Or hire a driver. Or learn to spit. 🙂

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Heather December 11, 2017 at 12:31 am

Visiting Napa Valley and touring the vineyards has been high on my wish list for a long time. With so many wineries to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming when planning a trip. Vincent Arroyo Winery hits all the marks in what I would like when touring a winery: beautiful scenery, casual and non-intimidating atmosphere, and loving pets to greet visitors 🙂
I’d love and try to time a visit with the annual Amigo’s Party, that sounds like such a fun event! Thanks for putting this winery on my radar, I’ll be sure not to miss it when planning a trip to Napa Valley!

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Penny Sadler December 11, 2017 at 5:39 am

The Amigo’s party is a blast.

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Sam Sparrow December 10, 2017 at 2:41 am

I love wine and visiting winery’s, so now I need to add Vincent Arroyo Winery to my list – I love the vintage, relaxed feel of the place. I think that wine can often be seen as very stuff but it should be a pleasure open to all. I’m a fan of Sirah too so good to know it’s the grape of choice!

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Penny Sadler December 10, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Hi Sam, well Sirah and petite sirah are two different things. Thanks for your comments!

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Shweta December 9, 2017 at 12:24 pm

I love wine and wine tastings. On the one time that I did go to Napa Valley, I remember the excursion to a vineyard fondly. Will remember this one for sure, we are headed to SFO next summer.

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Penny Sadler December 10, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Let me know if you are heading this way. penny (at) adventures of a carryon (dot) com

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Anu December 9, 2017 at 7:04 am

I am not a wine person but I like the fact that you can get your own food and pick up a bottle of wine and have a picnic at the winery. I would like to know what makes them America’s no 1 winery – is it the sales numbers or the variety of wine that they sell?

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Penny Sadler December 9, 2017 at 7:14 am

Hello Anu, thanks for your comments. The rating was based on online reviews.

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Danijela December 9, 2017 at 4:05 am

Oh, I love how “relaxed” the place is. There’s no bar nor the tasting menu? So different, it almost makes it more “real” in a way. Like you’re visiting some relatives, right! 🙂
And it sounds nice that one doesn’t have to be wine enthusiast to enjoy a visit, since it opens winery door to more wine lovers that way.
Seems like the place to visit, thanks for the suggestion. 🙂

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Susan Manfull December 4, 2017 at 12:38 am

Penny, I wish we could have visited and now, having read your article, I am especially disappointed. Next time!

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Penny Sadler December 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm

I wish you had had time to come too! I love seeing my friends from around the world at the winery.

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