Day Trip Mini-guide: Napa Valley

Wine. Wine. Wine.  If you love wine or love beautiful scenery, Napa Valley is the place for you.  About 1 to 1.5 hours north of San Francisco, it is a close day-trip.

When to go

Napa Valley is a year-round destination.  It is quite hot in the summer months (June-August) and less crowded in the winter months (November-February).

What to eat

There are plenty of nice and posh restaurants in the Napa Valley. Wine and food mix very well together.  For an inexpensive lunch spot, visit V. Sattui Winery.  This winery has a deli and you can order a sandwich or better yet, have your own picnic outside with the wide selection of meats and cheeses.  If there is cooler weather, the winery will open up its wine cellar or dining areas.

What to do

The best way to see the many wineries is renting a car and driving to each winery.  There are so many wineries in the region, but here are a few to visit if you only have a day or it is your first time in the region.

  • V. Sattui Winery (St. Helena) – Pronounced Vee Sa-too-ee, this winery has its own deli with more than 200 cheeses, sandwich meats, and desserts.  The wines are exclusively sold on-site so if you like something, you will have to buy it.  Wine tastings (about 5 wines) cost around $5.00 USD.  One of my favorite wines is the white Riesling which costs around $18.00 USD a bottle.

    V. Sattui vineyard

  • Domaine Chandon (Yountville) – Chandon is known for its sparkling wine.  Wine tastings cost around $18.00-$25.00 USD, but for about $28.00 USD, you can do wine pairings with sample food items.  If you feel like a cocktail, try the Chandon Pomegranate Cosmopolitan for $10.00 USD.  The patio area is nice as you can enjoy the lovely grounds while sipping on your cocktail.
  • Robert Mondavi Winery (Oakville)– Wine tastings (includes a tour of facility) cost around $15.00-$25.00 USD.  Visiting this estate’s grounds is interesting.  The mission-style winery is beautiful as you approach the arch and your eyes stretch far and wide as you look at the green vineyards.  There is a large patch of grass and if you feel up to it, do a cartwheel and pose next to the iron-lady statue.

    Robert Mondavi Winery

  • Beringer Vineyards (St. Helena) – This is a heavy tourist stop, but the estate is beautiful with a lovely house perched on a hill.  One of the most popular selling wines is the white zinfandel.  Tastings cost around $15.00-$40.00 USD depending on the type of tastings.
  • Other notable wineries are Artesa Vineyards & Winery (Napa), Schramsberg (Calistoga), and Rubicon Estate (Rutherford).   Artesa has wonderful views and modern architecture.  Schramsberg is a champagne estate and has historic old-world feel.  This champagne is supposedly served to important dignitaries from around the world.  Rubicon Estate has a bit of the pricier wines with tastings of $25.00 USD, but the gorgeous chateau and sweeping grounds are worth a visit.
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About Jan

In 2004 and 2010, I set aside time to travel the world in 3 parts. In 2004, I traveled to Thailand, Europe, and Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. In 2010, I traveled to 3 continents: Asia, South America, and Africa. I am not sure if I have a fascination with the number 3, but I seem to be constantly traveling by numbers.
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One Response to Day Trip Mini-guide: Napa Valley

  1. Shu says:

    Where is all the wine bottles? Heeheehee… Have a safe trip in Africa!!! Looking forward to seeing Africa pictures since that is a whole new Continent =)

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