There are few places in America, or the world for that matter, that are as abjectly gorgeous as the Napa Valley. The sun, stars, vineyards, restaurants, and people all combine to make for a truly remarkable place. There are many ways one can do a trip to Napa, from frugal to ultra-luxury, and each has its own set of pluses and minuses.
First the luxurious approach (because you totally deserve it). Its easiest to fly into Oakland or San Francisco and drive up to Napa (be sure to be outside of rush hour, however). Oakland is a little easier because you can more predictably avoud the San Francisco traffic nightmare. On the splurge side we have two favorite places to stay, the Auberge du Soleil which is an oasis of tranquility, luxury, wine, and service. Similarly, the Calistoga Ranch is a wonderful and fully luxurious. Both places have concierges that can tailor days of tastings at wineries to your specific style and wants. They are certainly expensive, but do offer some of the best insider access to boutique wineries, wonderful spas, and superb staff.
For a more frugal approach there are many options, but we have a few favorites. This approach certainly has its pluses, less cost upfront and more money for wine! First and foremast is the classic Airbnb. There is a plethora of options available and the hosts tend to be genuine and wonderful. The only down side is that with this you have to set up all your own excursions to wineries. Don’t fret, however, we have got you covered with some of our favorite places to taste, relax and eat.
Here are our 3 favorite wineries to visit (that are budget friendly and still offer wonderful and truly Napa experiences) …
- Domaine Chandon (Yountville): A GORGEOUS winery that has lovely sparkling wines made in the traditional French method. A wonderful place to start the day.
- Hall Wines (St. Helena): The St. Helena outpost is both welcoming and truly “California” with a mixture of eco-friendly design and modern art. Tastings are reasonable starting at $40 for the award winning wines.
- Silver Oak (Oakville): A large and award winning winery, it can get busy. However, reservations are not required and the staff is informative and there a numerous vintages of their Napa and Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon’s you can taste.
For lunch, because some food in the middle of a long day of tasting is quite important ;), our favorite spot is Archetype in St. Helena. Farm fresh California cuisine is served alongside some of Napa’s best wines by the glass. The Pork Belly BLT is especially delicious as is Watermelon and Feta salad (for something a little lighter).
We would of course love to answer any and all questions you have to help personalize recommendations to this wonderful place. Hit the “Ask a Sommelier” button up top and we will get back to you ASAP!!