Napa Valley Magic

Anytime in Napa is nothing short of magic. It’s gorgeously romantic and absolutely perfect for a couple's retreat. It can also be fun for a girl’s weekend getaway because… what group of gal pals doesn’t like to get together and drink wine?! 

With close proximity to San Fran it’s easy to rent a car and drive for a weekend in the beautiful Napa Valley. (California road trip guide coming soon.)

Napa is THE place to discover and enjoy lovely wines, cheeses, and nature. You can express your fashion and brush up on your somm studies. 

 Chappellet Winery 

Chappellet Winery 

Where to Stay

I am a huge advocate for Airbnb! You can find exactly what you are looking for and for a reasonable price by checking out airbnb first and then comparing to hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, etc. Depending on how many people you have VRBO is another great option and can be a little more ritzy than airbnb. I love luxurious hotels as much as the next person, but when in Napa I would rather spend money on food and wine than where I sleep. With Airbnb you don’t have to compromise on comfort and quality (for the most part, there are pictures, reviews and you can usually tell if it’s something you would be comfortable with) and it’s just a place to sleep and shower (at least for me). I am always go, go, go, out and about during my travels so where I stay isn’t that important. If you prefer to lounge and enjoy the experience a world class hotel has to offer then you should follow your preferences. These are my humble recommendations as a 20 something working to travel to the next destination and enjoying a bit of the finer things along the way. 

Where to Wine
Obviously when you come to Napa Valley you are looking to drink some wine. The options for wine tastings are virtually endless. There are hundreds of vineyards and wineries  which makes it next to impossible to hit every one. Here are a few of my favorites that I was lucky enough to discover thanks to the careful planning of my multi-faceted connoisseur boyfriend. Don’t forget to call ahead and reserve tastings, tours, and dinners before you go. We went in late August during the weekdays I think Wednesday-Friday and had no problem getting into all of the wineries and vineyards we wanted with only a few days notice, but you never know when someone is holding an event or wedding, if it is the peak travel time (June-October) or a special holiday weekend so better safe than sorry. 

  • Darioush
    • Darioush is decadence. Probably my favorite overall experience. Their wines are killer and no expense was spared in the design of the chateau feeling more like a persian palace. For a splurge definitely check out the wine and cheese tasting. It does not disappoint and the wines and cheeses are paired beyond perfection. To save you can check out the winery boutique and grab a glass of wine at their chic lobby bar. Either way it is worth getting dressed up and checking out. 
 Darioush Wine and Cheese tasting worth a splurge! 

Darioush Wine and Cheese tasting worth a splurge! 

Inglenook

    • The wines here are delicious and  this massive chateau is abundant with history. The iconic and historic vineyards with the gorgeous chateau is owned by Francis and Eleanor Coppola. Francis contributes his film influence with a small museum of his works and history throughout the grand entryway. The chateau oozes deep, dark, cryptic, old money vibes that shouldn’t be missed.
 Inglenook

Inglenook

  • St. Supéry
    • The estate vineyards and winery isn’t as over the top as some of the previously mentioned wineries, but it still is chic, modern, with excellent wines and beautiful grounds. St. Supéry puts a personal touch if you chose to accompany them on a vineyard tour, or you can keep it casual and enjoy their outdoor patio area for a wine tasting or a few glasses from the bar. 
       
  • The Hess Collection
    • A little off of the beaten path in the Mt. Veeder area this winery, art museum combo is one that I missed my first time in Napa, but is at the top of the list for my next visit. The Hess Collection Contemporary Art Museum is open daily from 10AM-5:30PM and is free to the public. They offer walk in tastings of their current releases or you can reserve a spot at their standing tasting bar. 

 

 Silver Oak in Napa Valley 

Silver Oak in Napa Valley 

  • Silver Oak-what a classic, their tasting room is always busy you receive a free wine glass with your tasting and their staff was extremely friendly. Love their wines and is cool to go and see the image from their wine label in real life. 

Ma(i)sonry

    • The very cool concept of a winery collective. I definitely dig it. They offer wine tastings, dinners, and cheese pairings, but feel free to stop by and buy a glass of wine while wandering the building and enjoying all of the art they have to offer. You can also chat with the art curator while you sip and take in  the art. 
 Ma(i)sonry Wine collective Napa 

Ma(i)sonry Wine collective Napa 

Charbay-Switch things up with a distillery. This off the beaten path drive up through a hillside to this family owned distillery is worth the tasting of generations of family perfecting the art of craft distilling. Highly recommend if you are into fine spirits. After the tasting wander back down the hill to the restaurant ....for some crafted cocktails with Charbay spirits. 

 Charbay Distillery Napa 

Charbay Distillery Napa 

  • Honorable Mentions:
    • Chappellet: Beautiful, intimate, flows seamlessly with nature. 
    • Napa Smith
    • Black Stallion Winery
    • Domaine Chandon
    • Robert Sinksey
    • Miner Family Vineyards
    • Opus One
    • Caymus
    • Clif Family
    • Cade Winery
    • Duckhorn
    • Larkmead Vineyards
    • Twomey
 Robert Mondavi Winery now owned by AB-InBev a pillar in the history of Napa Valley.

Robert Mondavi Winery now owned by AB-InBev a pillar in the history of Napa Valley.

 

  • Robert Mondavi: More of a larger, commercial, tourist attraction feel, it still is amazing to see the vast expanse of the winery and learn the history of Robert Mondavi’s drive behind the rebirth of the Napa Valley. 
    • and not to mention all of the vineyards and talented vintners in neighboring Sonoma Valley….. 

If you do attend a tasting almost every winery now charges for tastings and also offers wine club memberships at the conclusion of your tastings. Don’t feel obligated to sign up for the membership! (even if you have a little buzz on and think it's a great idea at the time) You can purchase some bottles of wine or cases they will ship to you if you really loved the wines, you can usually find them online, and if you are really dying without a certain wine you have the option to sign up for the membership at any time online. 

 Thomas Keller's garden for The French Laundry an OG Farm to Table Advocate 

Thomas Keller's garden for The French Laundry an OG Farm to Table Advocate 

Where to Dine

  • Ad Hoc (Thomas Keller) -A more casual Thomas Keller home cooking feel. This is #1 on my list. Their menu is 1 family style meal every night. Catch the fried chicken if you are into that sort of thing. For me as a vegetarian I was set with all of the salads and veggie sides. Photos of the incredible meal below. 
  • Bouchon Bakery (Thomas Keller)-French boulangerie
  • Bouchon (Thomas Keller)-I saw Paula Dean here NBD
  • Model Bakery-locals say it's the best breakfast stop
  • Oxbow Public Market-large marketplace with a farmer's market feel, come hungry 
  • Oakville Grocery-pick up some wines and cheeses for a hillside picnic
  • Gott's Roadside-burgers 
  • Hog Island Oyster Bar
  • Morimoto
  • The French Laundry-(Thomas Keller) If you're a foodie with a few hours to spare and a couple hundred dollars to spend. Reservations must be months in advance on this one. 
  • SingleThread Farms-"Upscale, rustic-chic bistro with multi-course menus of hyperlocal Californian-Japanese fare." would love to try and see what Hyperlocal Californian-Japanese fare means
 Need to drive back to Napa for a repeat of the flawless meal at Ad Hoc

Need to drive back to Napa for a repeat of the flawless meal at Ad Hoc

 Young lettuce salad with to die for herb Buttermilk Ranch dressing at Ad Hoc Napa Valley 

Young lettuce salad with to die for herb Buttermilk Ranch dressing at Ad Hoc Napa Valley 

 Buttermilk fried Chicken with cheddar grits and green bean casserole 

Buttermilk fried Chicken with cheddar grits and green bean casserole 

 Drop biscuits, strawberry preserves and Mt. Tam cowgirl creamery cheese 

Drop biscuits, strawberry preserves and Mt. Tam cowgirl creamery cheese 

 Committed with the Italian dessert wine and rich Potted Cheesecake with whipped chantilly cream and poached blueberry perfection- Ad Hoc Napa 

Committed with the Italian dessert wine and rich Potted Cheesecake with whipped chantilly cream and poached blueberry perfection- Ad Hoc Napa 

WTF to wear: 

Think comfortable and fabulous. 

  • Comfortable shoes-for walking on tours and through vineyards and gravel
  • Layers are key for the cool wine caves and foggy mornings that can burn off to sunny California afternoons
  • Don't forget your sunnies, to wear when you get outside, but also don't forget them at the tasting room when you get a little buzzed  
  • The experts advise against strong perfumes and bright lipsticks that can affect your wine tasting experience

Lots of fun Napa fashion finds below.

 Inglenook Francis Coppola's vineyard

Inglenook Francis Coppola's vineyard

 Forbidden Views of Napa's Lake Hennessey

Forbidden Views of Napa's Lake Hennessey

Comment below with your favorite Napa Valley vintage!