Napa Valley Wine Tasting Fee Index

sign for tasting room

How much $$ for tasting?

You’re heading to the Napa Valley and wondering how much to figure on tasting room fees for your travel budget. You are not alone. Our readers will often email us asking questions related to tasting room fees. What should I expect in tasting room fees on our vacation? Are the fees the same from winery to winery? Are there any tasting rooms in Napa that do not charge a fee? Where can we get a discount or two-for-one tasting coupons? This got me to thinking how much tasting room fees have increased over the years. There was once a time when no winery in the Napa Valley charged customers to taste their wine. I have no idea how much tasting room fees increase each year. I’m sure someone out there has done a reliable study, and that is more likely a survey for industry wine folks. I want something as a gauge for the wine country traveler who visits our Website looking for that information. I decided to devise a quick and easy, but unscientific, Napa Valley Wine Tasting Fee Index, one that I can update a couple of times per year. It will be interesting to do a chart year to year on the increases in these wine-tasting fees. At the very least, the Index will give a ballpark figure when someone asks how much the tasting fees are in the Napa Valley.

Napa Valley Wine Tasting Fee Index

For the index I decided on a nice, easy, round number of ten wineries. I decided that, since most folks travel Highway 29 when visiting the Napa Valley, to focus on wineries between Napa and Calistoga on this road. I selected wineries on this route that are highly visible and popular. They are all open daily and visitors can pop in any time that the tasting room is open.

sequoia grove

Sequoia Grove – $15 for wine tasting

Just about every winery in the Napa Valley has a range of tasting options. Reserve tasting, library tasting, food and wine pairing, barrel samples, and a tour and tasting. For each of the selected wineries, I am tracking only the tasting fee for a basic, or lowest priced, level of tasting. Currently, these are the established tasting room fees as of February 2014 at these ten wineries for a basic tasting.

  • Alpha Omega – $25
  • Beaulieu Vineyards – $15
  • Beringer Wines – $20
  • Grgich Hills -$20
  • Louis Martini -$15
  • Peju Province -$20
  • Provenance – $25
  • Rutherford Estate – $15
  • Sequoia Grove – $15
  • Whitehall Lane – $15

Doing a calculation, the average Napa Valley tasting fee for a basic tasting is $18.50. Five of the wineries charge $15, three at $20, and two at $25.

I always remind readers that there are ways to save on tasting room fees, especially in the Napa Valley. Check with your hotel concierge, who will more than likely have two-for-one tasting coupons. You can always share a tasting with your partner. I find that the host will pour a tad more than if it was just one person tasting. A few wineries will waive the tasting fee if you purchase a certain dollar amount of wine. For budgeting purposes, use the Index to estimate how much to set aside for tasting fees depending on the number in your party and how many wineries you plan to visit.

Provenance - $25 for wine tasting

Provenance – $25 for wine tasting

Comments

    Are tasting room fees out of hand in the Napa Valley?

    The two of you want to take a weekend wine country getaway to the Napa Valley. Most people budget for lodging and meals but often forget about figuring in the costs of their tasting room visits. Since we started tracking wineries for WineCountryGetaways.com in 2003, the tasting room fees, especially in the Napa Valley, have skyrocketed.

    Let’s say you plan on visiting eight wineries during your two-day stay in the Napa Valley. That’s a pretty decent number of wineries to visit but many travelers get in much more than that. For you and your spouse or partner, the fees for those eight wineries can add a significant cost to your trip. My guess is the low-to-middle ground tasting fee for most Napa Valley wineries is about $15 per person. Throw in a tour or “Reserve” or “Special Selection” tasting and, Whoa! You are now looking at a big price tag of tasting fees for your weekend getaway.

    The last couple of days I have been playing with a new iPad App called the Wine Tasting Tab. I am amazed that this little App has a database listing the tasting room fees of 800 wineries. I used this the App to research the tasting room fees in different California counties. According to my small study using this piece of technology, I found that the Napa Valley has by far the highest tasting room fees around. I don’t think that is one bit surprising to anyone that regularly visits the wine country.

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      Napa Valley Tasting Room Fees – Save an Easy $100

      You’re getting ready for a getaway to the Napa Valley but the gloom of the economy is making you feel a little guilty about spending so much money. You can save an easy $100 in tasting room fees if you use the right approach. Plot your strategy with some of these ideas.

      Number One: If you walk into a tasting room and the fee is $20, get the heck out of there. No winery should charge that much for a tasting no matter how good the wine.

      Number Two: Visit wineries that have a tasting fee of $10 or less and combined with a policy where the tasting fee can be applied to a purchase of wine. Encouraging folks to purchase wine by waiving the tasting fee makes good marketing sense. We don’t understand why more Napa Valley wineries do not have this policy.

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