Rutherford may be a small in terms of population, but it has a big reputation. Located in the middle of Napa Valley, Rutherford (which is known as an AVA – American Viticultural Area) boasts many notable wineries, including The Robert Mondavi Winery, Beaulieu Vineyard, Grgich Hills Estate, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery,Elizabeth Spencer, and Inglenook.
Among Napa Valley’s famed Cabernets, those hailing specifically from the Rutherford area have an especially passionate following. The unique soil in the Rutherford area, once a riverbed, produces wines in which fruit and herb flavors are tinged with a mysterious, almost spicy element known as “Rutherford dust.”
One of the landmarks in Rutherford is the Rubicon Estate. Purchased by Hollywood icon Frances Ford Coppola in 1975, the spectacular 1880s ivy-draped historic stone winery and grounds are open to the public. The admission fee to the estate includes valet parking, a tasting of five wines, a tour of the impeccably renovated grounds, and access to the giant wine bar and retail center and room showcasing Coppola film memorabilia, from Academy Awards to trinkets from The Godfather and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
In addition to the many wineries in Rutherford, you’ll also find several five-star restaurants and spas that will give you a true Napa Valley experience. So while Rutherford is not a major shopping destination like Napa or Calistoga, it is a tight-knit community with much to enjoy.