Bennett Lane Winery

Upbeat staffers keep things jolly at one of Calistoga’s best wine tasting rooms.

This upvalley outpost known for Cabernet Sauvignon touts its tasting room as the Napa Valley’s friendliest, and the upbeat staffers do keep things jolly. Bennett Lane Winery also makes a Chardonnay from the Sangiacomo Vineyard in Los Carneros and the Maximus White Feasting Wine, a blend of mostly Sauvignon Blanc, with a little Chardonnay and a bit of Muscat. Cabernet Sauvignon predominates in the Maximus Red Feasting Wine, which contains Merlot and sometimes other Bordeaux varietals mellowed by Syrah, a Rhône Valley grape. The two Maximus wines and the Napa Valley Cabernet represent excellent values given the quality of the grapes.

Cabernet Sauvignon predominates in the Maximus Red Feasting Wine.

From Racer to Vintner

Randy and Lisa Lynch established Bennett Lane Winery in 2003. At the time, Randy was still competing in Nascar races; in 2013 he was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. The Lynches live a few miles from the tasting room surrounded by Cabernet vines that supply some of the grapes for the Reserve Cabernet and all the fruit for the Lynch Family Vineyard Cabernet. Rob Hunter has overseen the winemaking at Bennett Lane since the winery’s inception.

Winemaker Rob Hunter.

Relaxed, Informal

The Taste of Napa Valley experience is a good introduction to Bennett Lane. It generally begins with a white, followed by the Maximus red blend and then Cabernet Sauvignons; other tastings focus on the upper-tier Cabs, and one includes a tour. The setting is relaxed and informal, as though you’ve just dropped by a friend’s living room or patio to share a glass of wine. Reservations made by phone or online are a good idea, but walk-ins are accommodated when possible.

The garden arbor outside the tasting room is a favorite selfie spot.

Tip:  Bennett Lane Winery is 3 miles north of downtown Calistoga. Because the winery is at the far end of the valley and many visitors trek from south to north each day, it’s often uncrowded first thing in the morning.

Why go: pastoral setting; relaxed tastings; elegantly balanced Cabernets.


Bennett Lane Winery appears in 48 Perfect Hours in Calistoga.


3340 Hwy. 128, Calistoga 94515

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This story originally appeared online in 2017; it was updated most recently in 2023.

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