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Heitz Wine Cellars

Second Generation Winery in St. Helena, California

San Francisco Wine Tours

Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Tasting Tours


At the beginning of the 20th century the Napa Valley wine industry was thriving. This happy situation changed dramatically when prohibition began, and grew worse during the depression. By the end of World War II, only about 20 wineries still operated in the Valley.
But that didn’t deter Joe and Alice Heitz from purchasing an 8-acre vineyard and starting Heitz Cellars in 1961. By doing so, they were among the earliest contributors to Napa’s revitalization. Today the winery is run by the second generation of Heitz winemakers, with son David serving as winemaker and daughter Kathleen as President.
The cozy tasting room made of native stone and mahogany has a lodge-like feel. It was built in 2002, replacing the original winery on this site
A demonstration vineyard near the entrance contains a variety of Cabernet clones and illustrates different trellis systems. Tasting is done at a long wooden table. You’ll find a warm rock fireplace in winter, with big leather armchairs to lose yourself in. On sunny days, the shaded patio offers great views of the vineyard-filled valley, and benches for sitting. It’s a mellow place.

Fascinating Fact:

After obtaining an enology degree from UC Davis, founder Joe Heitz worked at Beaulieu Vineyard as the right-hand man to the legendary winemaker André Tchelistcheff.
Amenities: Complimentary tastings
Founded: 1961
Signature Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Grignolino, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Port
Wine Tasting: No appointment needed
Hours: Daily, 11–4:30
Heitz Wine Cellars
436 St. Helena Highway South
St. Helena, CA 94574

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Suzie Rodriguez writes about travel, food, and wine from her home in the wine-country town of Sonoma, California. You can follow her travels and musings at The Culinary Gadabout.

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Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2015 Lee W. Nelson