Friday, May 13, 2016

A Day in Napa


Oh Napa. One of my absolute favorite places on the planet earth.
A couple of weeks ago, Bryan and I headed up to explore some new spots in the Napa Valley. Since we live so close (about 45 minutes away), we visit about once a month, exploring new wineries and restaurants.  We try to stop at a new spot each time we visit but we still have some of our favorite things to do each time we go there. In this post, I'll share details of our day trip and at the end I'll list other wineries and restaurants we've been to and loved. Hoping this blog post helps some of you easily plan a future visit to Napa because it's a MUST.


We started our day at the adorable Fremont Diner, which is technically in Sonoma but not too far off the road on your way to Napa. This place is full of so much charm and color, it's an Instagrammers dream come true. Not only that, the food is DELISH. We ordered the sausage biscuit, deviled eggs, cheddar jalapeno cornbread and french press coffee (which came in a super fun camping thermos!) The outside seating was wonderful and very kid friendly with areas for your kids to play while you ate. Everything was SO good but that biscuit was my favorite!



After that amazing breakfast, we headed to our first tasting at Duckhorn Winery. This tasting room is in a charming house with a wrap-around porch planted right in the middle of the vineyards. Pretty perfect. This tasting experience was one of our favorites yet, as we loved the wine and the atmosphere. You taste at your own private table overlooking the vineyards. It doesn't get much better than that.  (tastings are $30 a person) 






After Duckhorn, we headed to Mumm Napa to taste some bubbles. This is one of our favorite stops in Napa and one of our favorite places to bring friends. They have a large outdoor patio, overlooking wine country and the champagne is SO good. (tastings are $18 a person)
We also love Chandon & Domaine Carneros for bubble tastings. Tasting at Domaine Carneros is basically like tasting at a beautiful french chateau. Just gorgeous and right on the way back from the Fremont Diner.



Next up, FOOD. Sometimes we picnic, sometimes we eat at a fun restaurant. This day we decided to picnic because the weather was absolutely gorgeous. We love getting sandwiches from Dean & Deluca, an amazing fine food grocery store. They have sandwiches, cheese boards, meats, you name it. The perfect place to pick up picnic essentials. We also like picnicing across the street at V. Sattui Winery. They have a deli inside their winery and picnic tables outside under shaded trees. Another great option for a picnic lunch or a wine tasting. (tastings are $15 a person)



Our last tasting spot of the day was Paraduxx, one of Duckhorn's sister wineries. They have a similar atmosphere with a house-like tasting room, but with a much roomier outdoor area. We did our tasting outside while relaxing in some adirondack chairs. Paraduxx is known more for their red blends, while Duckhorn is known more for their Merlots & Bordeaux wine varietals. Another great option for tasting when the weather is beautiful.


As I said before, you could go to Napa everyday for a month and still do and see something different every time. When planning our trips there, I like to look at a map of the wineries/restaurants and plan our day from there. I usually like using a map like the one below.


Wineries with a View:
Sterling Vineyards - Not known for their amazing wine, but for their amazing view of the Napa Valley. You can take a gondola ride up to the winery where you taste. It's a fun experience, especially for someone who hasn't been to Napa. (tastings & gondola ride are $29 a person)

Castello di Amorosa - This is one of the main tourist attraction wineries in Napa. You can take guided tours or tour the castle yourself while tasting their wine. It's a beautiful location and great for first timers. (tastings & self guided tour is $25 a person)

Cuvaison - I love this winery for it's outdoor view! They have tables outside overlooking a vast amount of vines and it's just so relaxing. (tastings are $25 a person - need a reservation)

Brian Arden Winery - This is a new find for us and we are loving it. Such a beautiful winery with great people pouring. You will even be greeted by the family dogs when you arrive. Tip: Sit outside....it's relaxing and beautiful. (tastings are $20 a person - reservation encouraged)

Artesa - We love this place for their delicious pinot and their art-like vibe. Up on a hill, this winery gives you great views and also has a fun little shop inside to buy wine goodies. (tastings are $25 a person) 

Other Great Wineries:
Rombauer - We've been here MANY times but still to this day it's one of our favorite spots. Delicious jammy Zins and buttery Chardonnays. Also a beautiful garden to explore! (tastings are $20 a person - reservation required) 

Peju - A gorgeous winery with great wine! The bendy trees at the entrance are so fun! Very close to the Dean & Deluca market.  (tastings are $30 a person - no reservation needed) 

Raymond Vineyards - Want a fun and quirky winery to taste at? This is your spot! Tons of "different" rooms that resemble the game Clue. (tastings are $25 a person - reservation encouraged) 

Turnbull Cellars - Beautiful location! Bocce ball courts and a gorgeous wooden barn. You can even purchase cheese & meat trays to go with you wine for an extra cost.  (tastings are $30 a person - no reservation needed)

Spots to Grab a Bite:
Mustards Grill - This place is to die for! Great for lunch or dinner but the best thing we've ever had there?! THE PORKCHOP. (so dang good!)

Gott's Roadside - If you want burgers for lunch, go here. Great outdoor seating and burgers that will make your mouth drool. SO good.

Rutherford Grill - We've been here a couple of times and it's still one of those places where we've never been served anything that wasn't amazing. Promise me one thing though....if you go, you HAVE to get the Iron Skillet Cornbread. Hands down the best start to your meal. (Tip: If there is a long wait for a table, walk across the street to Elizabeth Spencer and taste outside on their charming patio. Great way to pass the time.)

Boon Fly Cafe - A cute little spot with delicious lunch and dinner. Make sure you don't leave without getting the Boon Fly Donuts with the chocolate dipping sauce for dessert. (I mean come on, you only live once!)

Bouchon Bakery - We love stopping here either on the way into Napa or on our way home to grab a coffee and a sweet treat. Amazing pastries and macaroons! Tip: There is always a line outside but it's totally worth the wait. If you don't have time to wait, right across the street from Bouchon is Java Hut Too which has delicious coffee as well.

No matter where you go in Napa, you won't be disappointed. Now don't you want to go plan your Napa weekend getaway?!
Happy weekend!








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