The New York Times Travel Section explores Napa, and likes what it sees. I’ve got to agree: exploring art & wine during a trip to Sonoma or Napa can be a winning combination. But I may opt for keeping those worlds separate: I’ve generally found (with a few exceptions) that the more elaborate the tasting room, the lower the quality of the wine itself. That being said, this general rule of thumb probably won’t hold me back from checking out the Ansel Adams gallery at Mumm next time I’m in Napa.
Bottom line: when I pick a tasting room to visit, I try figure out if I’m going (a) for the setting (i.e., vineyard views); (b) for the frills (art, sculptures, architecture, picnic area.) or (c) for the wine itself. Any of the above are good reasons to make it a destination, but knowing what you want out of the visit will allow you to appropriately set expectations.
[Oh, and–ps– its also fun just to stumble into a place you’ve never heard of without expectations. Leads to some very happy surprises and a chance to find some random gems!]