How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Napa Valley
Nestled between San Francisco and Sacramento, Napa Valley is the ultimate vacation spot for wine lovers. Don’t believe us? Check out these vacation must-dos in Napa Valley.
There are over 400 wineries throughout Napa Valley, all with a little twist, making them unique in their setting, history, and style. The best part is that 95% of Napa Valley Wineries are family-owned and operated, leaving each trip to a winery feeling like your home away from home. With nearly 400 options for that home away from home experience, and the ability to be wine drunk before noon is priceless. While there are hundreds of wineries to choose from, it might seem overwhelming. Our top four vineyards are listed below.
California Merlot is delicious. One of our favorites is Rutherford Hill Winery, where you can experience the pioneers who perfected the California Merlot. Seventy-five percent of Rutherford Hill’s production is dedicated to a leading Merlot in Napa Valley. The best part? If you fall in love with a Rutherford wine, they’ll tell you exactly how to pair it. Food + Wine = Love.
Raymond Vineyard and Cellar is renowned for their 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, but having a glass isn’t the only thing to do at Raymond. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a winemaker for a day? Raymond offers their Winemaker for a Day package where you learn the art of winemaking while blending your own red wine. We’re drunk in love.
Follow the grapes underground at the Jarvis Estate. Their entire winery is underground, complete with a waterfall to control the humidity. Jarvis has room after room for private tastings, from their estate wines to their reserve wines, you can’t go wrong at Jarvis! Ask about their reserve wine that began as an 8th-grade science experiment.
Escape to the mountains at Newton Vineyard, which includes caves and boulders to blend in with Spring Mountain St. Helena. You might recognize Pino Solo, a large tree featured on the label of the Newton Wines, which resides on the one-mile vineyard in the terraced estate. Unfiltered wines available are Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir.
Napa Valley Wine Festival
If you’re lucky enough to be in Napa Valley from mid to late July, you’re in for a treat. Over 100 wineries host luncheons, wine tastings, and more. Galas, 5K’s, and performances by Gloria Estefan and Bill Murray? Sign me up. Check out the full schedule of events here.
Not a wino but want to visit Napa Valley? Don’t worry. There are tons of activities for you and your family to check out during your stay in the Valley that can be done with or without a glass of vino.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
The best way to see Napa Valley is from the sky! Check out the vineyards from above, the gorgeous views of Mt. St. Helena and the Palisade Cliffs, and more! With multiple options, you’ll be sure to find a hot air balloon tour that’s perfect for you! There’s nothing like floating over Napa, Yountville, and Calistoga during your stay. Be sure to finish your ride with a romantic dinner or a glass of red at an enchanting estate.
Eat at Oxbow Public Market
The Oxbow Public Market is open 7 days a week for a great meal (and a glass of wine if your fellow travelers are inclined). Stop in between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. With over 20 merchants on site, from chocolatiers to coffee roasters to cupcake bakers, there’s something for everyone at the Oxbow Public Market. If you’re looking to grab a specialty item or a late bite, check out their specific merchant hours.
Rooted Fork Foodie Tours
Check out the great eats of Napa, all on your feet! The Rooted Fork Foodie Tours are three hours in the heart of the Napa Valley, stopping from food joint to joint. The tours are available with and without alcohol, and all participants must be over age 18. Each tour has 8 unique tastes of food and drink, from a hole in the wall spots to scenic stops, the Rooted Fork Foodie Tours are the perfect way to see Napa Valley like the locals do. Book a private tour or join a group today. The Rooted Fork Foodie Tours bring a whole new meaning to happy feet.
See Some Art
The Jessel Gallery, located in the eastern foothills of Napa Valley showcases the artwork of Jessel Miller, who founded the gallery in 1984. Each month, Jessel hosts a reception to showcase new artists. Check out their collection of fine art, handmade crafts, gifts, books, jewelry, and clothing. If you’re looking for a more immersive experience try one of Jessel Miller’s classes in watercolor and acrylics, which are held weekly.
Napa Valley has tons to offer. Take a walk, or a hike, visit a winery or float above them in a hot air balloon. Whatever you chose, Napa Valley is waiting. Are you ready?
Written by Danielle Watson @DWatsonWriter