CaliforniaDestinationsNapa ValleyUSA

Sullivan- The Rutherford Estate Winery

Visiting the estate at Sullivan is like visiting a very nice family home. In the 1970’s Jim and Johanna Sullivan built their home in the Napa Valley and started growing grapes. They built the winery next door to mirror the house and created a serene environment for their family and winery guests.  Today Sullivan is one of the few family owned wineries in Napa Valley.


1090 Galleron Road

Rutherford, Ca 94573



Reservations required

Hours:  10:30 am to 4:00 pm daily

  • Classic Estate Tasting $35
  • Reserve Estate Tasting $45
  • The Sullivan VIP Experience $65
 accessible parking right in front of the winery

accessible parking right in front of the winery

It doesn’t get any easier or more accessible than this.  Sullivan is located midpoint in the Napa Valley just a short distance off Highway 29, the main route.  Pulling up to the winery, the accessible parking was immediately in front.  Decorative loose gravel surrounded us but parking and the path to the winery was paved making it accessible.  Larger wineries might require considerable walking/rolling, but the smaller scale and intimacy at Sullivan covered very little distance.

an inside table with an outdoor sensibility

an indoor table with an outdoor sensibility

the view to the inner courtyard

the view to the inner courtyard

Large double French doors led across a flat threshold to an indoor tasting room and a large wooden tasting table.  A wall of double French doors created  a light and bright space connecting the indoors to the outdoors.  It looked like it was straight out of HGTV!  As beautiful and inviting as this room was, this was not to be the setting for our wine tasting.  On such a glorious, sunny, Napa Valley day, our tasting was to be outside.

concrete pads, flat thresholds, and wide doorways

concrete pads, flat thresholds, and wide doorways

Jacob Jackson, our hospitality host, gave me some choices for the location of our tasting experience.  He knew ahead of time that I would be on a scooter and he wanted to be sure that I would be comfortable with our setting.  The first choice was in a cozy lounge setting in the shade of the building, quite accessible as it was on a large concrete pad and adjacent to the lovely tasting room.

wine tasting table on the gravel patio

wine tasting table on the gravel patio

The tables in the gravel courtyard patio beckoned to me and I tested the gravel to see if my scooter would be able to maneuver through the gravel to a nearby table.  It could!  Within seconds Jacob prepared the table for us.  I was able to tuck my scooter right up to the table and swing my knees underneath.  The gravel might not work for everyone, so it’s great to know there are options with no gravel involved.

wine, cheese and charcuterie, and dappled shade

wine, cheese and charcuterie, and dappled shade

We were here for the Sullivan VIP Experience which included a cheese and charcuterie plate to enjoy with our wines.  With a hearty presentation including crackers, olives, and grapes, it made up for us skipping lunch!  As we relaxed in the dappled shade Jacob shared with us the Sullivan family history, and described each of the wines that he shared with us, a Merlot and a Cabernet from the Library as well as the James O’Neil Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

sunny options surrounded by the family home and the winery

sunny options surrounded by the family home and the winery

I was curious if the loose gravel would be traversable to some of the other table settings, so before leaving I gave it a test.  I was able to move about, though with some trepidation about getting stuck.   My conclusion is that the best accessible tables are the shortest distance from the winery, or within the winery itself.  The setting and the location is so beautiful that admiring the setting from afar gave me a sense of tranquility.  I hated to leave!

accessible unisex restroom

accessible unisex restroom

The unisex restroom was beautifully appointed and fully accessible.  Even the grab bars were handsome instead of industrial looking!  This was an elegant restroom that I might want in my own home!

beautiful grounds

beautiful grounds

Tranquil and serene was the feeling that stayed with me on our drive back out to the “real world”.  Passing by the geese loitering by the pond just reinforced the feeling.  Sullivan Winery is an incredible experience of feeling pampered and relaxed.  At so many wineries there is a rush to the bar amid a throng of people.  At Sullivan there is no rush, and no bar.  Just a beautiful table awaiting a personal experience.


  • 1 van accessible parking space
    • identified with the international access symbol
    • adjoining access aisle
    • level, firm and stable surface
  • all entrances wide with flat thresholds
  • no stairs anywhere
  • spacious interiors and ample maneuverability space
  • easy to open doors and a hospitality guide to open them
  • accessible table seating for tasting
  • accessible Men’s and Women’s restrooms
    • accessible path of travel
    • wide entry door
    • roll-under sink with knee clearance
      • low mirror
      • soap, towels, towel disposal reachable from sink
      • automatic water faucet
      • easy to operate soap dispenser
    • toilet with back and side grab bars
      • toilet height 17-19”
      • clear space for lateral transfer
    • 5’x5’ turnaround space


  • loose gravel in interior courtyard may be difficult for some; paved options exist


  • make an appointment for tastings
  • advise your accessibility needs ahead of time for the best experience




This Post Has One Comment

  1. Leanne Watson Reply

    I hope to visit from Australia next year and this is a wonderful resource to have -thank you very much for your time in sharing your accessible “adventures”.

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