Wine tasting; Sterling Style

If there’s one wine-tasting affair that prominently stands out from the rest, it is the one at Sterling Winery in Calistoga. It’s not the wine tasting alone that is...
Sterling Winery

If there’s one wine-tasting affair that prominently stands out from the rest, it is the one at Sterling Winery in Calistoga. It’s not the wine tasting alone that is different, but the locale, the building and the cable journey that adds to the overall experience.

Sterling Winery

Sterling Winery sits atop a hill on the northern end of Napa Valley and offers scenic views of the valley and the mountains nearby. What really sets this one apart from the other wineries in the California Wine Country is that here you don’t just park your vehicles and walk right into the winery and go about tasting. Instead you make your way to the hill-top winery on an aerial tramway that sets out from the front-offices of 1111 Dunaweal Lane. Once up there, you begin what is a wine tasting-cum-winery tour, that is one of a kind.

Why one-of-a-kind? Read on and you will know why I say so. As we got out of the tram and entered the white structure that we had seen from afar — on our way to this address– we were given our first glass of wine. After we picked that up and tasted it, we began what they call a self-paced-tour that allowed us see the winery at our own speed and pick up our remaining four glasses of wine on the way. There were sign boards that made sure we didn’t lose your way. Then there were the larger boards and television screens that guided us through the processes of wine-making as we passed through the fermenting and aging sections of the winery. The screens seemed to show everything from crushing to the different types of Oaks used for the wine casks. We  also saw an entire wall that showcased these different Oaks.

Sterling Winery

When we began our wine tasting at Sterling, we started off with two white wines. I am a red-wine person so I was waiting to get to the red ones. Our third tasting was of a red wine and this one was coupled with an incredible sight. This third tasting happened on the terrace that overlooked the Napa Valley. So here we could smell and sip wine while we took in the beauty of the surroundings: vineyards, wineries and some houses, not to mention the mountains. On one part of the terrace, there was even a board that pointed out the different mountains that were visible from there.

Sterling Winery
Sterling Winery
Sterling Winery

After our fourth and fifth tasting along the tour, we walked into wine shop that had not just the wines but also wine accessories, gifts and souvenirs.  At this point, let me tell you another thing that is special to this winery — nobody walks away without a souvenir. At the end of the tour, every guest returns to the tram with a Sterling Winery souvenir glass.

I think anybody who likes wine and wine tours, scenery and interesting buildings would be impressed by Sterling Winery. The image of this winery on the hill is sure to stay in my mind — the white building with a very Greek touch. They say it was inspired by the architecture of the Greek island of Mykonos where the founder of this winery once lived. This place is also proud of its bell towers and some big bells that come from a London Church.

Sterling Winery
 PS: My personal favourite @ Sterling Winery was their 2006 Cabernet Franc.

Check out:
Wine tasting at Cooper Garrod 
Swirl, smell, and sip at Picchetti 
If you would like to visit Sterling’s official site –

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24 Comments on this post.
  • magiceye
    5 June 2012 at 2:00 am

    this is so cool!

    • dNambiar
      5 June 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Cheers, Magiceye 🙂

  • debajyoti
    5 June 2012 at 2:27 am

    sounds cool!! quite an experience, eh? the pictures look beautiful 🙂

    brilliant post as always 🙂 superlike!! i like red wine too

    • dNambiar
      5 June 2012 at 5:10 pm

      This place WAS beautiful. Loved the very Greek building too.

  • umashankar
    5 June 2012 at 2:42 am

    Hmm.. A very fragrant post! I can smell it so vividly: the Cabernet Sauvignon….

    • dNambiar
      5 June 2012 at 5:11 pm

      I hope I managed to get you into the mood for some wine. Cheers, USP.

  • AmitAag
    5 June 2012 at 4:24 am

    I enjoy all those exotic locales through your posts to my heart's content, Divya:) Thanks a lot:)

    • dNambiar
      5 June 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Hey Amit, I'm so glad you enjoy these travel posts. I can't even begin to tell you how much of a pleasure it is to take you to all these places. Thank YOU. 🙂

  • jaish_vats
    5 June 2012 at 9:59 am

    Interesting and nice pics….Am sure you must have had an absolutely wonderful time there 🙂

    • dNambiar
      5 June 2012 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks Jaish. I'm trying… 🙂

  • Kishan P
    5 June 2012 at 11:20 am

    What a way to get high!

    • dNambiar
      5 June 2012 at 5:16 pm

      The place gave me a high.
      The tastings never do 🙁

  • sunil deepak
    5 June 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Sounds good fun! hic! 🙂

    • dNambiar
      5 June 2012 at 5:20 pm

      😀 hic — it was, doc. 🙂

  • A Homemaker’s Utopia
    6 June 2012 at 5:22 am

    Very nice post with cool narration and beautiful pics..:-)Hope you had a great time Divya..:-)

    • dNambiar
      6 June 2012 at 11:52 pm

      Thank you Nagini. This was a really cool place. I had a good time; it was a long time ago. It's time to go wine-tasting again. 😉

  • Bhavana
    6 June 2012 at 7:08 am

    Ok, you have to tell me exactly when did you get drunk? Lol…In btw I have heard a lot of CA wine tasting tours but never joined one. Your photos and narrative is so cool. I have been on wine festivals in New Mexico–by the 4th shop I am giggling quite badly:)

    • dNambiar
      6 June 2012 at 11:59 pm

      Unfortunately, I've never gotten drunk at a tasting, Bhavana :(.For that I'll have to make sure I pick up a bottle or two before I leave the winery. Yeah, CA wine country is superb. The 'locales' get me tipsy, actually.
      Wine festivals sound like fun and giggling — gosh, that must be such fun, right? You just reminded me of my very first booze-experience: a bunch of girls giggling away and then crying; high from some vodka.

  • Manish Moothedath
    6 June 2012 at 4:53 pm

    good writing …

    • dNambiar
      7 June 2012 at 12:06 am

      Thank you Manish, Welcome here.

  • Rohu
    6 June 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Amazing!!! 🙂

    • dNambiar
      7 June 2012 at 12:06 am


  • Rahul Bhatia
    16 January 2013 at 2:48 am

    Bautiful post, Divya!Enjoyed the read!!

  • DCA: A California in California | Tipsy from the TRIP
    24 January 2017 at 8:24 pm

    […] wine country cannot be excluded in the list of California’s best. Napa and Sonoma are not the only places where California grows grapes. Large stretches of vineyards can […]

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