Napa is such a special place. Between the out of this world cuisine, every delicious type of wine you can imagine, the views and the thoughtfulness of the boutique sized wineries… I fall more and more in love each trip. A break at some of the massive wineries are a must stop, especially a bubble break at Chandon, Mumm or Domaine Carneros. What is really special to me is finding the tiny wineries that are off the beaten path. The tours are smaller but more unique. Most of the time you get better service, a more complex tour, heavier pours and if you’re lucky… Better wine! A lot of the mainstream wineries feel very turn and burn. Get in, pay and get out. I’d rather relax, chat and enjoy the wine.
Where to stay? You know… I’m sure the hotels are lovely in Napa, Yountville, St Helena and Sonoma but I’ve always stayed at an Airbnb. I love Airbnb and especially love Airbnb in Napa. Something about having a porch, hot tub and kitchen is worth the little extra effort to find a comfy house. If you’re planning a trip with friends or another couple, getting a house is usually the cheaper option as well! Not a member yet? Use my CODE to get $25 in Airbnb credits to use anywhere!
Boutique Sized Wineries:
Saintsbury – Where do I start with this place? I love coming here. The grounds are small and gorgeous. The employees are fantastic (ask for Peter!) They’re known for their Pinot Noir but everything I’ve tasted has been wonderful. I’m crushing on their Vin Gris of Pinot Noir hardcore right now. Crisp wine perfect for the warmer weather. We currently have the “Everything But Chardonnay” membership.
VGS – Another small winery I’ve fallen in love with. The grounds are so modern and beautiful. You must do the food and wine pairing! Enjoy 4 of their wines, each served in its own specifically designated Reidel glass paired with food bites from the famed Michelin starred La Toque Restaurant. Every single sip was to die for. It’s hard to find a winery where you love absolutely every bottle but at VGS it’s easy! If you’re lucky the owner will be there and you’ll get to hear his story. He made our trip last weekend!
Delectus – This small family-owned winery handcrafts luxury red wines from select vineyards throughout Napa Valley and Knights Valley. Their tasting is delicious. We haven’t stopped by their new tasting room (they were closed last weekend) but it looked great from the outside. These wines are a must taste.
I absolutely adore these three wineries as you can probably tell.
Mumm – Turn and burn but tasty. Pretty view and good service! Cannot buy bottles here but a lot of different by the glass and tasting options. Free tastings for wine club members.
Chandon – I enjoy Chandon because sometimes you don’t free like doing a tasting and just want to sit, chat and enjoy a bottle. You can do that here. Affordable too!
Domaine Carneros – The view is worth the stop alone. I enjoy their tastings as well.
Schramsberg – Best bubbles in Napa? Possibly. You pay for it but they are to die for!
Where To Eat:
Bistro Jeanty – So cozy and cute. Awarded Michelin star the past three years. French bistro style dining with amazing food and service.
Redd – This was the first restaurant I ever had dinner at in Yountville. What a first dinner! Very inviting spot, not too fancy interior but the food is melt in your mouth delicious. Most come to Napa Valley for the wine but Redd’s cocktails are killer.
Redd Wood – Famed chef Richard Reddington’s second, more casual outpost, this spot is a superbly stylish Italian-inspired eatery. Casual, great entrees and unique wood fired pizzas.
Gott’s – Because sometimes you just need a greasy burger after drinking wine all day.
Dean & Deluca – One stop shop for all your wine country needs. Gourmet cheeses and desserts, coffee shop and great sandwiches on the go! I’m a huge fan of this spot, especially when you need a quick bite but are rushing to a tasting appointment.
Oxbow Market – A 40,000 square foot marketplace, which includes a scenic outdoor deck with seating along the Napa River, features a diverse tenant mixture of local food vendors, artisan cafes and an organic produce outlet for local farms. Perfect when you’re with a bigger group who can’t decide on what they want for lunch. Options for everyone!
French Laundry – 20 years of dining perfection. I still have yet to (want to blow a grand) to go here but it’s on my bucket list.
It’s hard to find a bad restaurant in Napa but these all stand out for me.
What are your favorites? What am I missing out on?