When it comes to wine tasting, there are a growing amount of options no matter where you are, but the American original will forever remain in the heart of Napa Valley. The beauty of California wineries is something straight from a movie, and every expectation you could dream up will certainly come true if you carefully curate your trip ahead of time. Because the area is so spread out, and there are so many wineries and places to stay, it’s important that you do your proper research to find the best wine country has to offer. To help you pull your itinerary together with ease, I’ve created what I hope you’ll find to be a delightfully diverse list of all the must-see, stay, drink, and eat spots in Napa. Cheers!
Before we jump in, I just wanted to express what a special place Napa Valley is to me. Last July, Sam proposed to me while we were visiting Napa for a few days after one of my best friend’s weddings. At the last minute, we decided to extend our trip for a few more days so we could spend more time touring the many wineries and restaurants at the serene destination. Sam popped the question while we were on a tasting at Promontory, a winery owned by the Harlan family that I highly recommend you tack on to your list. The property was entirely empty, and Sam squeezed my hand as he got down on one knee. It was a moment I’ll never forget, and it makes this very spot in California all the more special to me.
Where to Stay
First on my list, the stunning adults-only Las Alcobas is a boutique hotel with properties in Napa Valley and Mexico City. The Georgian-style farmhouse has been converted into a dreamy escape in the rural mountains of Napa, with views that will leave you speechless. Book a room with a terrace, which overlooks rows of grapes below. To make your stay all the more memorable, schedule a sunset hot air balloon ride then take a dip in your room’s stand-alone soaking tub before you call it a night.
If big hotels aren’t so much your thing, you’ll love staying in one of the Carneros Resort and Spa cottages. Choose from seven different tastefully designed suites, which each offer their own charm. The most desired from the list? The Vineyard View Cottage, which flaunts the scenic rolling countryside from its private outdoor patio and garden. Relax by the pool or get competitive with bocce ball while taking in the vineyard views.
Just seven miles away from the inn, SingleThread Farm resides between the Russian River and historic San Lorenzo Ranch. The property features a greenhouse, chicken coop, fruit orchard, olive trees, beehives, vineyards, and more. The farm supplies fresh ingredients—like vegetables, fruit, honey, and herbs—to the hotel’s restaurant. As far as rooms go, for a special occasion, I recommend reserving the master suite. The rustic 700 square foot suite is complete with a living room, bedroom, kitchenette, and private balcony that overlooks downtown Healdsburg. High ceilings, exposed brick, and a fireplace will make you feel at home. Plus, a full-service breakfast is included with your stay. Bon appétit!
Find peace on Meadowood’s 250-acre estate. Amenities vary based on the room you book, but access to play croquet, tennis court and equipment time, yoga classes, and bike rentals are complimentary for every guest. You can also request a car service to downtown St. Helena and Yountville where you can dine at Michelin-star restaurants, indulge in award-winning tasting rooms, and get a feel for the small-town culture. We recently stayed at Meadowood when we were in town for Auction Napa Valley, and I am already counting down the minutes until we have the chance to stay again. Also, my lovely friend Ashley Kane just had her wedding at Meadowood and the photos are a dream.
Wineries to Visit
The food-pairing focused winery offers four-course dinners highlighting the exceptional ingredients sourced from Napa. There’s still time to buy tickets for the mid-October #MerlotMe Harvest Dinner, which will combine the aromas and flavors of merlot in every dish. Tickets go for $275 a person, but be sure to book now as space is limited.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is perhaps best known for their 1973 cabernet sauvignon, which was the winning red wine at the 1976 Judgement of Paris. With four different tours and tastings, there’s something special for every type of group that’s visiting. For the most well-rounded experience, book the Cellarius Kitchen Experience. Chef Travis Westrope and his culinary team will walk you through each plate served while carefully explaining why it works well with each wine.
Owned by Mike Sullivan, who grew up tending his family’s vines on Sonoma Mountain, you’ll love the close-knit community that works on this vineyard. Tucked back along the Russian River, you’ll feel at ease as you sip a glass of chardonnay from the property’s ranch house porch. Wine tastings are available daily between 10:00 am and 3:30 pm.
The combination of wine and design makes Artesa unique. Renowned Barcelona architect, Domingo Triay, designed the gorgeous winery in 1991 while strategically highlighting the surrounding landscape of Napa. Set into a hill with a lush covering of native grasses, the winery achieves the perfect balance of nature, art, and architecture.
This winery has deep roots in history. H. William Harlan discovered the property in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until his extended family became aware of it in 2008 that Promontory became the success it is today. Sitting along the western hills of Oakville, the exquisite estate overlooks all of the beauty Napa has to offer. Its mix of minimalist lines, Japanese influences, and maximal Californian size and scale make it a must-see. Fun fact – this is exactly the view Sam and I took in moments after I said, “Yes!”
This small, family owned winery prides itself for providing visitors with quality hospitality. Although it was founded in 2002 by Jamey Whetstone, the real magic was brought to the property when his wife Michelle added the finishing touches to the overall guest experience. The couple values good music, fresh food, heartfelt conversations, and of course—superb wine. Best known for their Viognier, Pinot Noir, and Syrah, enjoy a tasting in the quaint garden as you snack on an assortment of cheese and salami. Another reason to check out this spot? The team is heavily female-led and an adorable Labrador Retriever named Ace roams the grounds.
Where to Eat
Set on a breathtaking 33-acre olive grove, the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant offers private dining experiences for groups of 10 to 120 people. For more informal occasions, head to the Bistro & Bar for an afternoon cocktail, glass of champagne, or oysters and caviar.
Located in St. Helena, Archetype is the perfect spot for those looking for a relaxed meal at any time of the day. Sit outside on the patio or opt for a seat next to the pizza oven while you enjoy deviled duck eggs, a variety of cheese and honey, or fish tacos.
Diners rave about the sophisticated atmosphere and delectable treats offered at Redd Wood. Whether you chose pizza, pasta, salad, or a combo of all three, you’ll leave feeling satisfied and ready for more tastings. Menu favorites include in-house charcuterie, roasted quail, and ribeye.
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