We are often asked by first time visitors what is the best Napa Valley vacation to take. This is quite the subjective and loaded question. What is the best for you is most certainly not the best for everyone. Your idea of the best vacation might be searching for small family-run boutique wineries. Others may want to visit all the big names- the Mondavi & Kendall Jackson type brands that you find in almost every grocery store across the country. Some of you will be content to visit one or two wineries per day. While others make a mad dash across the valley, throwing back their tastings like shots of whisky and rushing off in their quest to hit up a dozen in the short 6 hours that wineries are open.
Regardless of your style, we recommend all our guests to try to relax while on their Napa vacation. Wake up late. Enjoy a champagne breakfast (a favorite of ours at the Napa Valley Lodge in Yountville). Take a leisurely drive up Highway 29 through Rutherford, St. Helena and Calistoga. Stop at a few big named wineries, they have a lot to offer even if you are looking for more boutique-styled wineries. From amazing views and tram rides to multiple tasting rooms and tasting experiences, many of these big wineries seem like an adult Disneyland. The “Napa Castle”, Castello di Amarosa best embodies the Disney-like wine country theme. Every stone of this castle was transported from an Authentic Italian castle and meticulously reconstructed on a perched hillside overlooking the Napa Valley. Excessive? Yes. But we encourage people to drive up, close your eyes and pretend for a moment that you are in Italy, then open again as your eyes adjust to this magnificent Tuscan castle. You are there in Italy. Come in the morning before the throngs of visitors arrive and feel the quiet peace and serenity amidst the hundreds of olive trees.
For most visitors to Napa, food will play a most satisfying role. The top chefs of the world have staked Napa as their home base. Need we mention Thomas Keller and his renowned French Laundry? Even if you can’t get reservation (and to get reservations, it requires a lot of advance planning and patience on the phone!), you can visit the Bouchon Bakery in Yountville to sample his award-winning, out-of-this-world baked good. Also, Michael Chiarello’s Bottega Restaurant and Iron Chef Morimoto’s Napa restaurant are favorite must-eat places for the serious foodies. The casual California cuisine found around every corner is wonderful – fresh and always well presented. The food on the Napa Valley Wine Train is wonderful and a definite must for those near downtown Napa. And for the lover of roadside diners? There’s Gotts. A must when driving through St. Helena.
What is your idea of a perfect Napa Valley vacation? We’d love to hear. And take a look at our recommended packages for your Napa Valley Vacation.