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Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Spit!

Welcome to the Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Spit Winery Resource! This community resource is the result of recommendations made by a variety of wine aficionados. It is intended to provide people in search of good wine tasting experiences with recommendations on various wineries and tasting rooms around the world. Entries are made by going to the Entry Page. The results shown can be sorted in various ways by using the “sort by” links below. You can also search by key words using the filter to select the entries of interest to you. We welcome your entries and your feedback. Of course, the opinions expressed are those of the people making the recommendations. Enjoy!

We also have our own list of wineries at our Wineries page.

Showing submissions 1 through 20 of 90
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Posted by Leah on 22 May 2008
I liked not only the wines (especially the whites), but also the atmosphere of Gainey Vineyard. Even though a large, private function was in progress out on their patio while we were there, the tasting room didn't miss a beat. They also have a great shop that sells many wine country food items and other things you feel the need to buy! I loved the pepper trees that flanked the road on the drive into the winery. I highly recommend a visit to this winery!
This winery is located in Santa Ynez, CA, USA
Posted by Leah on 22 May 2008
We discovered Summerland winery about 4 years ago on a visit to Santa Barbara. We were renting a house and upon our arrival found a bottle of their chardonnay (and a tray of freshly baked brownies) waiting for us in the kitchen. It turned out that there was no winery to visit, but they had a tasting room just down the hill in a new, little shopping center. It was kind of like visiting a shop in the Hamptons (what else would you expect of a beach town named after a beach season?). I half expected Ina Garten or Martha Stewart to walk in looking for supplies. The little wine bar (about 2 persons big) offered samples of some of the food items they were sellling alongside their wine and various apparel items. The woman who was in charge of the shop was very pleasant and knowledgeable and kept opening various Santa Barbara food products for us to try along with the wine (we're still hooked on the flavored pistachio nuts). We've since found Summerland in attendance at many local wine events and festivals (Los Angeles/Santa Barbara area). I'm happy to see that they're still growing and producing wines that are still enjoyable.
This winery is located in Summerland, CA, USA
Posted by Rich on 23 May 2008
Chateau Montelena is a gem located at the Calistoga end of Napa Valley wine country. The old stone Chateau is a beautiful setting. The wines are delicious (after all, Montelena's '73 Chardonnay was the winner of the infamous 1976 Paris tasting that put them on the map internationally). The tour is an interesting one, so consider taking it if you have the time.
This winery is located in Calistoga, CA, USA
Posted by Rich on 23 May 2008
Duckhorn's tasting room is in a beautiful setting at their vineyard in Napa Valley. The tasting room is designed as a really nice wine bar environment. Merlot is the specialty. The wine is great and the staff is friendly. It's a pleasant place to spend part of your afternoon looking out over the vineyard.
This winery is located in St. Helena, CA, USA
Posted by Christine Siebels on 09 Jun 2008
Great wine/food/golf and accomodations.
This winery is located in Napa Valley, CA, USA
Posted by Ryan on 29 Aug 2008
Palumbo has some of the best (if not the best) wines In the Temecula wine area, particularly if you like reds. It is a family operation and they have a small wine tasting room that looks out onto their vineyard. They also have some friendly family wine dogs that lounge around in the sun. If you visit Temecula, you shouldn't miss Palumbo!
This winery is located in Temecula, CA, USA
Posted by Meg & Dave on 30 Aug 2008
We love Thornton Winery! They're known mostly for their champagnes, but also make red and white wines. The best thing about the winery to us is their Champagne Jazz concerts that they have during the summer months. They have them out on their fountain terrace, which we heard is also a good place for wedding receptions. We just saw Dave Koz and it was fantastic! You're practically sitting on the stage you're so close, and you get to meet the artists after the concert. We also got the dinner (made by their Cafe Champagne) and it was pretty tasty. If you like jazz, you must go to a concert here! They get some pretty big names and you can't beat the setting. We got some great photos, too (no need for zoom lenses here!).
This winery is located in Temecula, CA, USA
Posted by Robert on 11 Sep 2008
Palmina is quite the find, smack in the heart of the "wine ghetto". After you've fiqured out that you are indeed at the right place and are happily sampling some of Santa Barbara's finest wines, you'll quickly figure out that it doesn't matter where they are located. They've transformed their tasting room into a little enoteca, complete with cheese, breadsticks and homemade salami to sample along with the wines. The owners (Steve and Chrystal) believe wholeheartedly that wine is an extension of the plate and an important ingredient of a meal. That's why they offer the above-mentioned samples to try with their wines. They want you to understand why their wines taste so good with food. It wasn't just a wine tasting experience, it was a unique learning experience. I highly recommend a visit to Palmina for that reason above all else.
This winery is located in Lompoc, CA, USA
Posted by Erica on 12 Sep 2008
Bedell Cellars is one of the oldest vineyards on Long Island's North Fork, producing truly wonderful original blends on their gorgeous grounds in Cutchogue. I treated myself and my partner and parents to a VIP tour of the vineyard and winery for my birthday this year, and couldn't have been more pleased with the experience. Our guide, Matt, was friendly, courteous, and knowledgeable, and the tour and tasting was shockingly generous. We were given a glass of their Taste White to enjoy during the tour itself, which led us down among the vines themselves, then into the barrel rooms and bottling room, and lasted approximately an hour. Matt gave a great overview of the wine-making process at Bedell, and was very good-natured about answering our sometimes-stupid questions. Then we were led into the owner's private garden for an incredible wine and cheese tasting - 6 different wines and what must have been over a dozen kinds of cheese plus accompaniments over the course of about an hour and a half, all of them delicious. And at the end of the day we were given an extra discount on our inevitable wine purchases, as well as a percentage break on part of the cost of the tour itself, supposedly due to "the heat in the garden" that day. Perhaps they were only being generous, or perhaps this is their standard procedure to get people too come back, but either way it worked - I am now a dedicated customer of Bedell and will absolutely be going back. One word of caution - avoid the North Fork during harvest season if you can (early fall) and think twice about visiting on summer Saturdays when the weather is perfect, because rest assured that many, many people will have had the same idea you did and the wineries will be crowded. It can get a little wild out there when there's too many people around. I've written a more thorough review of our visit to Bedell in my blog, "Table for Two?" - you can read it at http://tabletwoblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/we-3-wine.html
This winery is located in Cutchogue, NY, USA
Posted by Esping on 14 Sep 2008
The Piave district is one of the lesser known DOC's in Italy. And for a good reason too. In this zone in eastern Veneto a lot of wine is produced. Not bad but mostly it's unremarkable. The Piave district is right in the middle between the famous red-wine district of Valpolicella and Italys best white wine region, Friuli. But the Piave district has one great asset, the Raboso grape. And if you are looking for good Raboso, and if you haven't tried this great variety you definately should, look no further. Cechetto started the Raboso revival a couple of decades ago when the grape was on the verge of extinction and is now leading the campaign for giving Raboso di Piave DOCG-status. So if you visit Cechetto winery you will meet one dedicated winemaker with a very strong vision. Raboso is a tough a grape with a lot of character. In the hands of a winemaker who doesn't know how to handle it you will get a wine with a volatile acidity, very rough tannins and not very much else. Cechettos wines are full of berry-fruits and cherries with hints of violets and tobacco. It's full bodied with food-friendly acidity and a long nice finish. Cechetto also produces Gelsaia which is made from semi-dried grapes. A dry wine but with more of everything compared to the normal bottling. There is also a passito, a sweet wine made from Raboso that I have yet to try. You will recieve a warm welcome at Cechetto and meet a very proud and dedicated winemaker. There are also a couple OK whites and a very interesting and promising Merlot to try.
This winery is located in Tezze di Piave, Veneto, Italy
Posted by Joanie on 02 Feb 2009
Santa Barbara Winery's tasting room is located in downtown Santa Barbara on the Urban Wine Trail, walking distance from State St. and the beach. The doors are open daily from 10am-5pm for tasting ($5 for six wines, and your crystal logo glass). The tasting room also has a lovely gift shop with a range of wine accessories, gourmet food items, and books. The winery's estate vineyard, Lafond, is in the Sta. Rita Hills, but the white wines are made at the adjoining downtown production facility. The tasting room is framed by the barrel and tank rooms with a warehouse in back. Very friendly and knowledgable staff provide infinite dining recommendations, including the Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro, also owned by Pierre Lafond. The first post-prohibition commercial winery in Santa Barbara deserves a visit for high quality and reasonably priced Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah as well as a variety of other wines. Most crowded on weekends.
This winery is located in Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Posted by David J. Whelan on 03 Feb 2009
Any visit to the Napa/Sonoma area demands a stop at Clos Pegase. Jan and Mitsuko have created a beautiful world that melds wine, food, art, culture, and fun. From the moment you drive up to Clos Pegase, you know something is different. The winery is architecturally stunning, blending into the hillside, enhanced by whimsical sculpture. Inside, the themes of art and wine continue. Sculpture is joined by paintings of the Pegasus, new versions of which adorn their special Pegase Circle releases every year. Wine dinners, tastings, and cruises with the Schrems are part of the annual cycle at Clos Pegase. And what about the wine? Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown and bottled at this estate winery. I can't remember ever having a bad bottle. Just writing this makes me want to hop in the car and drive up from Los Angeles! Perhaps we will cross paths there....
This winery is located in Calistoga, CA, USA
Posted by Roshan Sonthalia on 03 Feb 2009
Private little winery. Make a reservation, and you get to go to the "house" on the vineyard where the wine is stored and produced, and meet with the winemakers. The drive through the vineyards to get to the house is on a road about a foot wider than the car, and the wine is worth it.
This winery is located in Santa Ynez, CA, USA
Posted by Tim on 04 Feb 2009
This vineyard is easy to miss along Alamo Pintado Road, but it is well worth the stop. The tasting room is small, but personal and somewhat homey. Their Chardonnay is amazing -- it rekindled my affection for white wines.
This winery is located in Solvang, CA, USA
Posted by Diana on 05 Feb 2009
It's a really nice small vineyard near the Shenandoah's. While vacationing in the Shenandoahs, we visited a small winery. It has a raspberry dessert wine. When you do your tasting, they give you chocolate, and have you put it in your mouth and then swirl the wine with it. Delicious.
This winery is located in Edinburg, VA, USA
Posted by Ashley Matheus on 05 Feb 2009
This is a great, locally owned and operated winery, with amazing ownership. They are so friendly, make fantastic wine, and are so welcoming you feel like part of the family. Right now they have "Recession Red", a tasty red blend that is priced at .1% of the DOW, and you have to pay in cash (because credit is what got us here in the first place :)
This winery is located in San Anselmo, CA, USA
Posted by DK on 05 Feb 2009
Small winery, kind of tucked away in the hills of the East Bay, CA. But really a gem of a place, especially in the summer. The 2003 cab is a winner in my book - very easy to drink, as my wife can attest! I like to bring the whole family here, and let my kids run around and enjoy the place, while my wife and I sample the wines. Also try the Riesling.
This winery is located in Castro Valley, CA, USA
Posted by Jessica Louie on 05 Feb 2009
This was the first tasting room we stopped in when we got to Healdsburg and it sure set the standard for the day! The wine was fantastic, I especially loved their rose, and to top it off the people there were so friendly and helpful! They recommended a few wines for us to try with the dinner we were cooking that night and it was a great pairing.
This winery is located in Healdsburg, CA, USA
Posted by Erin Leary on 05 Feb 2009
A relatively new winery, they are putting out some very impressive wines. The 2006 Zinfandel in particular is a stand out - very full flavor, lots of fruitiness and packed with other treats for the senses. I enjoyed this wine with hors d'oeuvres, as a part of a pairing at a chef's table dinner, and at home by itself. It is a wine that really delivers.
This winery is located in Fair Play, CA, USA
Posted by Dan Pennington on 05 Feb 2009
This is a must go-to winery when in that area! The wine storage in a natural cave is incredible (compared to the typical warehouse!). Their Isosceles wine is excellent. After touring their facility, I have been a member of their wine club for several years and look forward to every shipment.
This winery is located in Paso Robles, CA, USA