Whether you’re planning to stay for a few days in Napa Valley, or just visit for a quick day trip, there are many fun things to do in Yountville. Wine tasting and wine tours are the top attractions, behind dining and sightseeing. The choices of vineyards to visit are plentiful. We chose to feature Domaine Chandon, the first French-owned sparkling wine venture in the United States, opened by Moët & Chandon in 1973. They located to prime vineyard sites at Mt. Veeder, in Carneros and Yountville, the location Domaine Chandon now calls home.
To create a warm courtship with its customers, Domaine Chandon opened its Visitor Center and tasting salon in 1977. Guests can enter the romantic estate by walking through its garden overlooking flowers and flowing ponds, across a wooden bridge alongside Blue Oak trees. No wonder it was selected “Winery of the Year in 2005,” by the California Tourism Association. In recent years, the winery has welcomed an average of more than 200,000 visitors annually, said Brian A. Fairleigh, Brand and Wine Education Manager at Domaine Chandon.
“In the summer, we’ve had more than 2,000 visitors on a single Saturday,” said Fairleigh. The winery was the first to produce the popular sparkling wine, Blanc de Noirs, and were the first to plant Pinot Meunier grapes in California. Because of the unique quality of the grapes grown in the region; and the traditional methods employed by Domaine Chandon using modern equipment and technology, the winemakers have helped elevate public perception of sparkling wine made outside of the Champagne region. A market once dominated by low-end and mass-produced bubbly has risen to rival the refined quality and style of traditional Champagne. Domaine Chandon also offers a portfolio of still wines from the classic Champagne varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.