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  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  First timers to Wine Country (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   First timers to Wine Country
Hawkeye
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posted 07-13-2011 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Carjeff,

I will be taking a small group (10) to taste Barlow in late October. Barr Smith has moved his wine making operation up to von Strasser on Diamond Mountain so we will kill tow birds with one stone and taste vS at the same time. I would guess for a small group he will still taste on his home place just off Silverado Trail.

If you have an in with a local distributor, ask them to set you up with a tour and tasting at Stags Leap Wine Cellars. We will be going there in October, also.

-Hawkeye

IP: 68.169.184.155

carjeff
Member
posted 07-13-2011 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carjeff   Click Here to Email carjeff     Edit/Delete Message
lcv,

Sounds like you had a great honeymoon! Certainly is tough to get wine shipped back here to Jersey, isn't it.

Based on Hawkeye's earlier suggestions, I had already added Bennett Lane, Zahtila, and Barlow to our list for our Nov trip. Sounds like you confirmed it. Even though we visited Chateau Montelena several years, I think we may to make a return trip. Our friend, who works for a local distributor, said he can set us up for a tour, and he also stated that Bo Barrett himself will be doing a wine tasting dinner here in South Jersey early next year - can't wait!

IP: 155.178.5.10

lcv915
Junior Member
posted 07-08-2011 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lcv915   Click Here to Email lcv915     Edit/Delete Message
We had no desire to buy anything from Kuleto. No regrets about the drive because the place is stunning but - we weren't thrilled with the wine. Interestingly enough, Kuleto was why we actually thought to go to Wine Country for our honeymoon. I met someone in line at Costco who was buying a couple bottles of their Pinot Noir. When I asked her about the wine, she raved that the view from his Estate was "the most incredible, this side of Machu Pichu!"

I'm thinking we may have to go there, now, too. Although, we'd probably have to bring our own wine...

IP: 69.248.82.69

damombo
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posted 07-08-2011 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
lcv - what was your impression of the wines at Kuleto? We thoroughly enjoyed the drive to get there and the drive up to the house and the tour of the grounds, but the wines just weren't to our taste. I'm glad we went - the views were tremendous, but I don't think we will go again.

IP: 96.8.187.200

lcv915
Junior Member
posted 07-08-2011 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lcv915   Click Here to Email lcv915     Edit/Delete Message
Hawkeye - We saw Bottle Shock (at your suggestion) just before we flew out to CA. Our server at Chateau Montelena (I can't recall his name at the moment) mentioned that one of the liberties taken by the film was that Bo is much crazier than the film showed; said no one would have believed half the stuff he does (which is why, he claimed, the staff really enjoys working there)!

I'd love to see your photo from Hanna's (lv.redux@hotmail.com). While I agree that their tasting room is pretty "slick," we were so taken with both the wine and the staff that we would certainly return. Oh, and Bennet Lane probably warrants a second visit, too...their new tasting room giving us reason enough to revisit their wines!

Lynne

[This message has been edited by lcv915 (edited 07-08-2011).]

IP: 69.248.82.69

Hawkeye
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posted 07-08-2011 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi again, lcv,

Just one more thought. Since you enjoyed Chateau Montelena so much, have you viewed the movie, "Bottle Shock"? It is one of my all time favorites. The music at the beginning and the helicopter views of the vineyards are awesome. If you haven't seen it, give it a try. A lot of liberties are taken, but a good yarn.

-Hawkeye

IP: 68.169.184.155

Hawkeye
Member
posted 07-08-2011 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi lcv,

Just finished your report over on the Sonoma Board so thought I would look at this one too.

Hanna does have some great views. Their tasting room is a little "slick" but the wines are good. If you would like, I could email you an incredible picture we took from their deck.

I did not realize that Bennett Lane was redoing their tasting room. I think they have incredible wines and the "Maximus" the best blend for the buck in Napa.

I am glad you enjoyed Zahtila and Barlow. They were two of our finds on our last trip to Napa. Nice friendly folks and very good wines.

We have not been to Kuleto or Rubicon so will add them to our "to do" list.

Now is the time to begin planning your next trip to wine country.

-Hawkeye

IP: 68.169.184.155

lcv915
Junior Member
posted 07-08-2011 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lcv915   Click Here to Email lcv915     Edit/Delete Message
I just posted my notes on Days 1 and 2 of our trip to Wine Country, over on the Sonoma board. Here, I'll cover the next three days:

Day 3
We drove through the Alexander Valley and found out that Hawkes Vineyards is closed on Wednesdays. So, our first stop was Alexander Valley Vineyards. Although we enjoyed the views, we just weren't fans of the wines.

Our next stop, though, was a favorite: Hanna Winery is incredible! When our server, Alexandra, found out we were newlyweds she and Maureen treated us like lifelong friends. We spent over 2 hours there! They set us up with a very lovely lunch at a picnic table overlooking the vineyards where we enjoyed the first sunny day of our trip. We liked everything we tasted here: 2010 Rose, 2010 Sauv Blanc, 2009 Elias Chardonnay, 2008 Pinot Noir, 2006 Bismark Mountain Merlot (which got two stars and a "yum" in my notebook!), 2006 Bismark Mountain Cab (which was Joe's favorite of the day), 2006 Bismark Mountain Cab Franc, the 2003, 2005, and 2006 Bismark Mountain Syrah (I loved that we got to taste all three; 2005 was my favorite!), 2007 Bismark Mtn Titan (a little "in your face" but, interesting), and the Late Harvest Sauv Blanc (a dessert wine). While not usually lovers of sweet wine, a sip of this far surpassed any dessert I've ever eaten! We took one of these home to enjoy while we wait for, yup - you guessed it, our first Wine Club shipment from Hanna's. :-)

Bennet Lane Winery was next. Since their tasting room was being renovated, they had a tent set up on the lawn; a perfect place for tasting since the weather was ideal. Meredith spent quite a bit of time with us, even treating us to a tour and barrel tasting; she was casual and thoroughly engaging. We enjoyed their wines: 2007 Reserve Chardonnay, 2006 Maximus (I loved it: Joe only liked it), 2006 Cab (another "Yum!" in my notes) and their 2006 Syrah. Had we not already joined so many wine clubs, I'd have opted into this one, too. As it stood, we only brought home a bottle of the Syrah. If had to do it all over again, I'd have bought a few bottles of the Syrah and Cab, both...maybe next time!

Our last stop of the day was Zahtila Vineyards. Although we didn't get to meet Laura, we met her new husband (who was, apparently, also her first husband). Carmen gave us her full attention and, if I lived nearby, I'd go back just for the conversation! The wines, too, impressed us but - we only came home with a bottle of their 2005 Rutherford Cab and a bottle of "2006 Laura's Theme" (another lovely dessert wine -- who knew?!)

Day 4
We started our day with coffee at the Palisades Deli and Cafe (I'm now hooked on their Mexican Mocha!) before heading out to Chateau Montelena. WOW. I wish we had given ourselves a lot more time there. The Montelena Estate is gorgeous! The courtyard, lawn areas, lakes, fountains, arches, Bocce courts, nesting islands; just beautiful. The Chateau, itself, was impressive and the tasting room remains my favorite for ambience. The people were all friendly and pleasant and, once again, when they found out that we were on our honeymoon we got some special treatment after our tasting: they opened a bottle of the Montelena 2007 Estate Cab and just filled our glasses to celebrate! After a conversation about how difficult (the mob influence in) New Jersey makes it to direct ship wine our way, we bought four bottles and got the name of a distributor in Manhattan where we can find their wines.

We had to race out of there so we wouldn't be late for our next stop: Barlow Vineyards. What a gem! It's not a winery I'd recommmend to everyone but, Joe and I were so comfortable chatting with him that his quiet little guest house (which he uses as a tasting room) was a nice change of pace. He answered all our questions about how he got started (because, by Day 4 in Wine Country, who doesn't fantasize about buying a vineyard and living the life?!), and we purchased three bottles: 2006 Cab, 2007 Barrouge, and 2007 Merlot.

After lunch, we hit Sterling Vineyards. The wine is nothing to write home about; the self-guided tour and the views, however, definitely made Sterling a place worth visiting! Since this was our first visit, it was nice to mix it up a bit with the big and the small operations, the amazing wines and the amazing views.

Our last winery of the day was Rubicon Estate; incredibly impressive, historic and majestic. Ken MacPhearson was friendly and pleasant while he poured tastes of the Captain's Reserve Chardonnay 2008, Reserve Pinot Noir 2007, Reserve Cab 2006, CASK Cab 2007 (which we absolutely loved), and, of course, their out-of-this-world Rubicon 2007. We fell in love right then and there. Well beyond our price point ($145 a bottle? Really? I was finally getting comfortable with $50 and then we had the nerve to taste this one?!), I was content to leave it as a tasty memory. Joe, on the other hand, bought a bottle for our Anniversary and another half bottle to drink right there, as we people-watched by the fountain and relaxed on our last afternoon in Napa.

Day 5
After another Mexican Mocha at the Palisades, we drove to Kuleto Estate in St. Helena. Breathtaking. The property, gorgeous architectural design elements, landscaping, pool, patios, and vineyards made me think, "This is what really smart, incredibly wealthy people do with their money! Wow." I was a little put off by Mike, our tour guide; a bit too cocky for me to get past, honestly. But, he happily allowed us to take our picnic lunch down to one of the picnic pavilions overlooking the lake. Since this was the last stop of our week in Wine Country, we soaked it up before driving back to San Francisco.

We're already talking about our next trip. Some wineries we went to this time we'll definitely want to re-visit (Passalacqua, Hanna, and Chateau Montelena, for sure!). But, until then, you can be sure I'll check back here frequently to come up with even more options! Thanks to the advice I received here, we had a perfect start to a happy marriage!

IP: 69.248.82.69

winegirl1976
Junior Member
posted 05-21-2011 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for winegirl1976   Click Here to Email winegirl1976     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks everyone, will make the changes. We will be staying in the Santa Rosa area, hopefully I can re-arrange the itinerary a little better..

IP: 76.31.105.239

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-20-2011 11:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
For Jezr...
You will need to have some way to get from the airport ( any airport) to either Napa or Sonoma. Airport shuttle services are available to some degree from SFO, can't spreak for SAC or OAK.
I don't think the kind of wine trail you have in mind is available in either Napa or Sonoma, but in both cases, as Stacy said, there are towns where tasting rooms are concentrated around a central area. Actual wineries are a little more difficult, but in both Sonoma town and Healdsburg I know that there are actual working wineries that are reasonable walking distance from the town center. I'm not as familiar with Napa so I will leave that for the better informed.
At least for Sonoma, I think you would be much happier having a car at your disposal for getting to and from the airport as well as for just generally getting around purposes. If the weather is nice you can always park it and stick close to town, but to really get out and about to see the area you will need some sort of transportation. If its rainy...you will want wheels.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 05-20-2011).]

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
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posted 05-20-2011 08:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hello. Winegirl, your day 2 itinerary is much too spread out for a single day. You have in mind to visit wineries literally from one end of Sonoma county to the other. -Not that hitting all the bases isn't a good idea! , but not in one day.
So, Jeff's idea of putting Sebastiani and Ferrer on day 1 does work much better...that puts you in the south county/ Sonoma on one day and then Dry Creek for day 2. Depending on your lodging location, you could conceivably put another stop in with your Coppola outing if you want.
Several of your Sonoma wineries are "premium" wine makers, so those are the ones that choke your wallet, but Rodney Strong and Coppola both have some lower-tiered products that are pretty good.
We just got back from a 6-day trip to Sonoma County winegirl, and I posted highlights of the trip on the Sonoma board, so see if any of our stops might suit you better price-wise. I have the price lists for most of the places we visited, so if you see something of interest I may be able to help with that info, too. Again, for the Sonoma side of things, keep in mind that the Visa signature card discount program can be a big help in cost-cutting. Also, since you have planned several days to explore Sonoma county, you might benefit from the "Ticket to the Wine Road" program. Check out their website for the participants and the perks offered at each winery.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 05-20-2011).]

IP: 98.232.221.183

StacysWineStop
Junior Member
posted 05-20-2011 08:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for StacysWineStop   Click Here to Email StacysWineStop     Edit/Delete Message
Midsummer - Rolly Heitz- Winemaker owner makes 3 single vineyard designate cabs ($40each)and one blend ($30).
Madrigal Vineyards Cabernet ($30)
Twenty Rows - this is Vinoce's second label and the only downtown winery in Napa. $20 for their excellent every day drinking cab.
William Harrison Cab $50.00
Sequoia Grove - Cab $38.00
Truchard Vineyards - Cab $35.00
Girard Tasting Room - Cab $28.00

Lots of choice, it just depends on your palate.... I on the other hand love them all. LOL

BTW Jezro - You will want to stay in a square, like Sonoma Square - El Doraldo Inn, Best Western just off the square.
Healdsburg - H2Hotel, Hotel Healdsburg or LeMars. Of the square is Best Western or Travel Lodge
Yountville, Yountville Inn, Napa Valley Lodge or Villagio Inn & Spa
Calistoga- Roman Inn & Spa, Goldenhaven Spa or Indian Springs Resort.
www.stacyswinestop.com

"To drink wine is fine, but to experience wine is divine!"

[This message has been edited by StacysWineStop (edited 05-20-2011).]

IP: 71.198.155.193

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-17-2011 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Carjeff,

Glad to see you back with us. Because of the lack of activity on both Napa and Sonoma message boards I had begin to think that perhaps the world ended and no one told me.

If you don't mind paying the price, try a bottle of Spottswoode Cab, one of the most powerful Cabs to cross my palate. Cheers

IP: 173.247.8.79

carjeff
Member
posted 05-17-2011 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carjeff   Click Here to Email carjeff     Edit/Delete Message
Winegirl,

Hawkeye gives some good advice. $50 is about the going price for a decent Napa cab, and other varietals are usually less expensive. There are great Napa cabs for less than $50, you just have to look for them.

Also, in regards to your itinerary, day 2 includes a lot of driving. I would add Gloria Ferrer (and possibly Sebastiani) to Day 1, since it's located very near Anaba and Jacuzzi. Perhaps take Loxton and move it to Day 2 if you need to. I would concentrate on Sonoma Valley/Carneros for Day 1 and Dry Creek for Day 2. Where will you be staying for these nights?

IP: 155.178.6.10

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-17-2011 05:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Winegirl,

Wine is not cheap . . . especially Napa Valley wine. It seems that the low price for a Cab is around $50.00. You will find some that are cheaper especially in the white wines. You can also find some good buys in Zinfandel and Merlot which are not considered the heavy hitters. To find some less expensive wines, you might try the Wine Garage in Calistoga when you are up there. Also, you will find the wine generally less expensive in Sonoma County. The more trips you make to wine country, the more the price point shock wears off. Have a good trip.

IP: 173.247.8.79

winegirl1976
Junior Member
posted 05-16-2011 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for winegirl1976   Click Here to Email winegirl1976     Edit/Delete Message
I've gone on some of the wineries sites and notice some of the pricing (???). Any wineries that have good inexpesive wines. I'm thinking $50 is a little expensive for a bottle but ok to treat yourself now and then. May have to evaluate on some of the wineries

IP: 76.31.105.239

winegirl1976
Junior Member
posted 05-16-2011 03:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for winegirl1976   Click Here to Email winegirl1976     Edit/Delete Message
Hello everyone, so far this is the tenative itinerary for wine country.(Thanks so much to everyone for all the great information, and tips. Wouldn't have been able to plan without everyones help. We will be visiting in June, excited can't wait. If its a winery we need to visit other than whats listed please let me know 6 days not much for wonderful country

DAY 1: Sojourn
Loxon
Jacuzzi
Anaba

Day 2:Sabastiani
Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves
Raymond Burr
Bella
Ferrari Carano
Rodney Strong

Day 3: LADIES DAY
Francis Ford Coppopla and lunch

Day 4: Robert Craig
Merryvale
Baldacci
Regusci

Day 5: Wine Garage
Twomey
Sterling
Chateau Montelena
Zahtila
Schramsberg



IP: 76.31.105.239

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-15-2011 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi jezr,

Give us a little more information to help you in your planning. Where are you flying into? Where are you going to stay? How many days will you be visiting? What kind of wines do you like? Will you be getting a rental car? You almost need to have transportation and honestly, it is not too bad traveling. Help us to help you.

Cheers.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 05-15-2011).]

IP: 173.247.8.79

jezr20
Junior Member
posted 05-15-2011 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jezr20     Edit/Delete Message
hi..i am attempting to plan a trip to wine country for my boyfriends birthday and i am having some difficulties that i was hoping someone out there could help me with...i am from new york and will be taking a plane to california..i do not want to rent a car because i want to visit several wineries.(i have visited every one one in both new york and new jersey)...is there any lodging that is located extremely close (walking distance or short taxi ride) to a wine trail? i cant seem to find this information anywhere. any help out there would be greatly appreciated..thank you!!!!

IP: 71.190.217.181

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-12-2011 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Winegirl,

I remember reading that also, but don't know if it is true or not. I do know that Buffalo Shipping Post http://buffalo.winecountrywebs.com/ is a UPS shipper. If your go to their website, you can check their shipping charges and call UPS and check the charges if you have an account. If you don't plan to ship a hundred cases or so, it is probably just as cheap to use BSP. Remember, you have to purchase the shipping case somewhere, I don't remember seeing a separate charge for a shipping case at BSP. Someone correct me if I am wrong.l

IP: 173.247.8.79

winegirl1976
Junior Member
posted 05-11-2011 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for winegirl1976   Click Here to Email winegirl1976     Edit/Delete Message
Shipping Question: I read on one of the reviews, that if you have an account with Fed Ex. you will come out cheaper with shipping?

IP: 76.31.105.239

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-05-2011 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
That's great!! Please be sure to provide trip reports when you get back!!
Hope all goes well with the wedding....keeping the fingers crossed for good weather!

IP: 98.232.221.183

lcv915
Junior Member
posted 05-05-2011 05:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lcv915   Click Here to Email lcv915     Edit/Delete Message
Great advice from all of you. Thanks so much! Our itinerary is set, I have a folder full of maps, coupons, Signature VISA notations, tips for what to pack in a cooler in the car, picnic places, and locations for Mexican Mochas in the morning, a good pub, and nice dinners. We're all set!

Now...on to those the last-minute wedding details. :-)

Lynne

IP: 199.136.69.155

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-04-2011 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Winegirl,

A general rule of thumb that I use is for 1 hour per tasting. Naturally, this will vary considerably. If I am making an appointment, I will ask how long I should schedule and most of the time, depending on the size of the winery (and I go for the smaller, family owned ones) the will tell you 45 minutes which will give you 15 minutes to make the next stop.

Now, if you are going to do tours AND tastings, you will need more time and the best way is to check with the winery, whether they require an appointment or not, about how long you should schedule. I normally like to make 1 appointment, then do a walk in, then another appointment, etc., and that way if something unexpectedly happens or comes up, you have some time to play with on the walk in winery.

The best rule of thumb is to be flexible. However, if you have an appointment and find that you will be late, or cannot make it, be courteous and call to let them know.

I am sure others on this board will have other ideas. Have a great trip. Cheers.

IP: 173.247.8.79

winegirl1976
Junior Member
posted 05-04-2011 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for winegirl1976   Click Here to Email winegirl1976     Edit/Delete Message
Any suggestion for making appts. on wine tasting. How far apart should they be made or helpful hints.

IP: 76.31.105.239

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-04-2011 07:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hey there lcv.
I'm sorry to be so long getting back to you- I just now saw this.
I think this is an excellent plan- you have plenty of time between stops and the drive through Sonoma Valley is one of my favorites...its just lovely. Plus, you have time to make an additional quick-stop between Viansa and PR if something strikes your fancy..which is likely to happen.
I believe that this makes a wonderful intro to Sonoma Wine Country...good job!
Oh, you will want to have a camera at ready at Viansa as the views over the marsh are really something, and if its clear, they say you can actually see all the way to SF!

IP: 98.232.221.183

damombo
Member
posted 05-04-2011 06:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
We only stopped briefly, at the end of our last day, at Viansa. I will go back to spend a bit more time. Their "marketplace" has lots of pretty things that I'd like to check out and they did have what looked to be a pretty fabulous deli - so a picnic would be great. We quickly tasted some of their Italian-styled wines and thought they were pretty good. I say it's a good choice for your first stop and picnic.

IP: 98.198.194.134

lcv915
Junior Member
posted 05-02-2011 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lcv915   Click Here to Email lcv915     Edit/Delete Message
yesilovewine - You've got me re-thinking Martin Ray. Is Viansa a good stop? If so, it might make more sense for Day 1 to be

12:00 Viansa and picnic there
2:30 Paradise Ridge
Check into Dry Creek Inn
4:30 Seghesio
5:30 Coppola and have dinner at Rustic


[This message has been edited by lcv915 (edited 05-02-2011).]

IP: 199.136.69.155

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-02-2011 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hey.
I like your plan for Sonoma...Mauritson is right on the way to Passalaqua from Wilson so stopping there would be easy to do- weekday is better than weekend due to crowds.
Martin Ray is a pretty good stretch out into Green Valley...its about a 25 minute drive from 101, if I remember correctly ( always debatable )just so you know.
Hope you have a great time.

IP: 98.232.221.183

lcv915
Junior Member
posted 05-02-2011 07:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lcv915   Click Here to Email lcv915     Edit/Delete Message
Wow. That's good to know! Thanks for the other options. I'll take a look at Wili's and Dry Creek Kitchen...

IP: 199.136.69.155

damombo
Member
posted 05-02-2011 07:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
I am sorry to have to tell you that A Divine Affair has apparently closed. It wasn't there when we visited in April. I just googled it and on Yelp it says closed... Perhaps try Wili's Seafood and Tapas. It is very good and they have an interesting and varied menu. Dry Creek Kitchen is also wonderful, just a bit more expensive.

IP: 98.198.194.134

lcv915
Junior Member
posted 05-02-2011 06:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lcv915   Click Here to Email lcv915     Edit/Delete Message
yesilovewine - Thanks for prompting me to stop back in! There's certainly more I need to read before our May 16 trip! So very glad you all helped me come up with an itinerary before the last minute wedding details thoroughly occupied me.

Here's what our itinerary looks like. I could really use some help in paring down Day 3 (or, at least, prioritizing them). We might be able to move one of them to be our first stop on Day 5 but, since we're driving to SF that afternoon, we don't want to hit too many! :-)

Thanks for all the help. This board (and you all) has been invaluable!


Day 1
Paradise Ridge
Martin Ray
Seghesio
Francis Ford Coppola
Dinner: Rustic

Day 2
Wilson
Passalacqua
Dry Creek Vineyard
Williamson Wines
If we're up for more: Mauritson Wines
Picnic supplies: Dry Creek
Dinner: A Divine Affair

Day 3
Hawkes Vineyards
Alexander Valley Vineyards
Hanna Winery & Vineyards
Bennett Lane Winery
Chateau Montelena
Zahtila Vineyards
Dinner: Downtown Joe’s or La Luna

Day 4
Barlow Vineyards
Sterling Vineyards
Rubicon Estate
Sequoia Grove
If we're up for more: V Sattui
Coffee: Palisades Deli and Café
Dinner: Ubuntu Napa

Day 5
Kuleto Estate
Chase Family Cellars
En route to SF: Napa’s Buffalo Shipping

IP: 199.136.69.155

bigsemi
Member
posted 04-02-2011 07:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
If you like mexican, you might also want to try La Luna market. It is on the Rutherford Cross Rd on the right side about a half block down from the Rutherford Grill. Good tacos, mission style burritos, and tortas.

IP: 70.249.145.73

yesilovewine
Member
posted 04-01-2011 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
I haven't been, but friends have been to Ubuntu and raved over it. They didn't realize its vegetarian at first, and were skeptical, but stayed anyway and were very glad they did.
By the way Pooh, I thought you were saying you had been in touch with a "Gal" from TA that we know.
I went to high school in Gainesville! Obviously, not a Gator fan though...

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 04-01-2011).]

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damombo
Member
posted 04-01-2011 06:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
We dined at Solbar last November and loved it. I copied this from my trip report: Final destination on day one was dinner at Solbar. It was getting pretty chilly outside, so all seating was inside and we were near the fire, so it was perfect. We tried the squash and pumpkin soup, which was outstanding, the scallops, which were amazing, and the Lucky Pig (description from their menu)” a slow-roasted shoulder of pork, black sesame crepes, pickled pineapple, mongolian peanuts, lettuce cups and more. serves 2, some assembly required.” The description was intriguing and the actual dish was fabulous - the pork was tender and flavorful, and all of the interesting condiments to add to it were little flavor bursts unto themselves! Made for a fantastic combo.

We have had lunch at Cindy's twice and it was excellent. Another place we've lunched is Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena - also excellent. The only place we have tried that we won't go back to is La Toque. In our opinion, far too expensive for what you get - the hype didn't match the reality in our experience. Another great spot is the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) at Greystone, also in St. Helena.

When you decide on your choices, see what the corkage fee is. Sometimes bringing your own wine is the way to go, and since you will probably have a bottle or two, why not!?

Have fun! Happy Wedding!

IP: 96.8.187.200

lcv915
Junior Member
posted 04-01-2011 05:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lcv915   Click Here to Email lcv915     Edit/Delete Message
Thank you all!

Carjeff - I will add Chateau Mantelena to our plans and will definitely watch Bottle Shock before we go!

Carjeff and Yesilovewine - I just ordered A Moveable Thirst and Judgement of Paris from amazon. Good plane reads! :-)

damombo- I'll definitely take notes...but, wouldn't have thought to had you not suggested it. That'll be fun to have...and to refer back to later when we repeat this trip for an anniversary one day!

Bigsemi - Wonderful advice. I think we'll plan for 3/day and have a few options should we want to do more. I know the area is beautiful and, you're absolutely right, we'll want to relax and enjoy it rather than rush to get them all in. Good reminder. Also - I loved the Palisades Deli tip! We're coffee lovers and MX food is my personal favorite. We'll also keep Downtown Joe's as an option one evening!

I know there's a restaurant section of this board but - have any of you been to Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen? The other two places that looked appealling on opentable.com were Ubuntu Napa and Sobar-Solage. We may have to check them all out. :-)

Thanks, again, to all of you.

[This message has been edited by lcv915 (edited 04-01-2011).]

IP: 69.248.92.192

Poohh66
Member
posted 04-01-2011 04:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Poohh66     Edit/Delete Message
yesilovewine NO not really..... a FL~Gator all the way (maybe just because I paid them plenty of $$$ the last five years LOL) Do have some in-laws in Birmingham that are diehard Tiger fans though

IP: 173.168.214.16

bigsemi
Member
posted 03-31-2011 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
Icv915,

Everyone on here has a different way of seeing the Valley. My wife and I definitely prefer to go to around 3 wineries day, and really try to spend some time getting to know as much as possible about the winery and the people that work there. Stopping to eat when we get hungry and stopping to look at the beautiful surroundings. While maximizing your time main seem like a must, enjoying the Valley for all that it offers is a great way to go. Plus it is your honeymoon, take your time. You might be a little late getting out for the morning.

Since you are staying in Calistoga I highly recommend Palisades Deli. Awesome breakfast burritos, and the Mexican Mochas are maybe the bext coffee drink my wife has ever had, and real double espressos.

Also, if you are getting tired of wine, head to down town Napa for Down Town Joe's. Great in house beer, and very good food at reasonable prices.

It never hurts to leave places to come back to. Enjoy.

IP: 70.249.145.73

yesilovewine
Member
posted 03-31-2011 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Yeah.....ain't it great???
Pooh...War Eagle...really? Cool!

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 03-31-2011).]

IP: 98.232.221.183

Poohh66
Member
posted 03-31-2011 02:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Poohh66     Edit/Delete Message
damombo.... love the way you put it .....just had to say
and sooooo agree, we were just there in February and are already trying to plan our October trip, that wine country area is kinda addicting

IP: 173.168.214.16


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