Travel

Napa Wineries

Deciding on which wineries to visit can be completely overwhelming.

Pretty much every vineyard in Napa has amazing wine and a beautiful property. When we decided Napa was our anniversary spot, I immediately had anxiety on how to decide on which wineries we would visit.  I’ve been in the restaurant industry for the past 5 years, my pallet continues to evolve, and let’s just get real…I love a good glass of vino!


TIPS ON HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR WINE TOUR:

  1. Start the day off at a sparkling wine vineyard.
  2. Only go to 2-3 wineries each day, plus a long fun lunch in the middle. That way, you can enjoy all of the vineyards without getting too tipsy. Trust me, I learned the hard way.
  3. Make a list of some of your favorite wines you like to drink at a restaurant or at home. Then, select a few wineries of your favorites to go and visit.
  4. Be spontaneous at least once and choose a random winery to stop at while driving by.

Pro Tips

  • Winery Reservations: Call to make reservations at the wineries you choose. Many places require a reservation in advance for a tasting or tour.
  • UBER: Use Uber to get around. We decided not to hire a driver or rent a car, and Uber was the perfect solution. There are plenty available around the Napa Valley.

Wish we had time to visit...

  • Silver Oak Winery
  • Ladera Winery
  • Scribe Winery
  • The bike wine tour (rainy weather)

Opus One

Our first stop once we arrived in Napa was at the famous Opus One winery. The property is stunning, which is no surprise as their wine rates at the top of every list each year. As you might know, Opus makes high end, delicious red wines, so this is a great place to try a wine that prices around $200 a bottle in a restaurant. Make sure to make reservations, as this swanky place is always busy. We opted for their Reserve tasting flight, and that is the way to go. Pay the extra $20 for the Reserve List, it’s the perfect opportunity to try some wines that you might now otherwise get to. Let’s face it, most of us won’t be ordering any $500 bottles of wine anytime soon. The entire flight was delicious. Be sure not to miss out on their second wine, Overture. All of Opus One’s wines are a red blend, very full bodied, with a lot of great flavors. Enjoy your glass of vino on their upper terrace, which gives gorgeous views of the valley.

  • Make reservations
  • Order the Reserve Tasting menu
  • Sip your vino on the upper terrace

Aw…. there is nothing like a delicious glass of bubbly! As Madame Toussaint said,

“I only drink champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad.
Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone.
When I have company, I consider it obligatory.
I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am.
Otherwise, I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.

If you make only one stop in Napa, my choice is Chandon. The property is absolutely gorgeous.  It feels more quaint than the larger wineries, and their sparkling wine tasting is perfect for any time of the day. We started our first full day in Napa off right at Chandon. This time around we went straight to their tasting room, as I have done the tour in the past, which I highly recommend! Chandon is known for their premium “sparkling wine” selection, and their tasting menu is on of my favorites. After many samples, we had to bring a few bottles home. I opted for the Sparkling Red, and the etoile Rose…can’t wait to share them with our friends.

  • Make this your first stop on the wine adventure
  • Take the private wine tour
  • Sample the Sparkling Red...you will not be disappointed
  • Buy a few bottles of etoile Tete de Cuvee

I must thank my father-in-law for introducing me to the wonderful world of Peju wines. He has been sharing Peju with friends and family for years, as it can be difficult to find in stores or at restaurants. I must say Peju has one of the best overall lineups of wine that I have had. Stopping at this winery is a must. Their property is unlike any other in Napa, the architecture has an Italian feel with an Asian twist. Be sure to have the tasting and start at the beginning: Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Cab Franc (my fav), Merlot (amazing), and Provence Blend (Zinfandel, Syrah, and Chardonnay). This is quite the line-up and seriously so good!

  • Make reservation (great to have one-on-one service for the tasting)
  • Walk around the property
  • Send a bottle or many bottles home
  • Buy pretty glassware in their shop

Cakebread Cellars

This stop was a random one, and luckily the last stop of the day.  Once again, you do not want to visit too many wineries each day, as you want the flavors of each to be special and REMEMBERED lol!! Cakebread makes one of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs, and I was thrilled when we came across their property. Luckily we were able to get a quick tour of the place, which I recommend. Cakebread Wine Cellars have only four grape varietals. I love that they know what they are good at, and they stick to that. My favorites here are the Sauv Blanc and the Pinot Noir.

  • Take the wine tour
  • Sample the Sauvignon Blanc
  • Send a bottle home

Domain Carneros

On the actual day of our anniversary, we started the day at Domaine Carneros. The winery reminded me of a French Chateau in Burgundy. Enjoy sipping sparkling wines on their gorgeous patio, and definitely try the sparkling Rose. Reservations are required.

  • Try the Rose sparkling wine
  • Make reservation
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