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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  First Time Napa Trip - March 2013

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Author Topic:   First Time Napa Trip - March 2013
posted 10-06-2012 06:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
Figure I might as well pile on:

Shoot for 3 wineries a day. You get what you give, the more time you can spend at each winery, the more you show an interest, the more you will get out of your tasting experience.

Take a lazy day while you are there, maybe wander downtown Napa or St. Helena, both have lots of great shops, food, and places to taste if you want.

Round Pond is great.

V. Sattui is awesome for lunch, and makes a ton of different wines, many very highly rated, and if you go by early on a week day, you can avoid the crazy crowds that build up there.

If you like Sparkling wine I'll second Domain Carneros, awesome setting and great tasting options.

Breakfast burritos and coffee at Palisades up in Calistoga are worth the trip no matter where you are staying in the valley.

7 layer bars from Sweetie Pies (In downtown Napa) are an awesome treat and are sold several places, Sattui, Dean and Deluca are a couple besides Sweetie Pies themselves.

Can't go wrong at either Gott's. One of the few places I can say everything is good, great burgers, tacos, shakes, breakfast, whatever it is good, not cheap, but all very good. Tuesday is local's nights with 2 for 1 burgers.

If you head up to Calistoga go by Summers, they have a great Charbono (Italian varietal).


[This message has been edited by bigsemi (edited 10-06-2012).]


Junior Member
posted 10-05-2012 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chotchkie     Edit/Delete Message
WOW!!!! I cannot thank you both Hawkeye and damombo enough!! You both are so kind and generous to give me all of this amazing information!!!!! I was excited to go before, but am SOOOOOOOOOOO excited now!!!


posted 10-04-2012 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Damombo,

This is scary! (and it isn't even Halloween yet) Did you receive my email on Knighton?


[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 10-04-2012).]


posted 10-04-2012 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Hey Hawkeye! Looks like you were thinking while I was thinking!


posted 10-04-2012 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Since you are going to have 5 full days, you really could make an assortment of fabulous appointments - like the Hall Rutherford, which I'm looking forward to experiencing in a few weeks.

A cooking class at the CIA Greystone would be amazing - my husband took their Saturday morning Soup class in San Antonio and had a blast (he still makes the soups for me!) Go to the CIA website and see what they may have to offer for the time you'll be there.

I would also suggest looking at the Cakebread website for the interesting choices they have: the wine and food pairing was a lot of fun and a lot of deliciousness

There is also the olive oil tasting at Round Pond - that is an interesting tour and a nice break from all that lovely wine tasting. We are still using the Blood Orange olive oil and Meyer Lemon olive oil to make excellent salad dressings.

Wandering through some of the shops in St. Helena is also fun - there are a couple of olive oil shops and at least one amazing chocolate shop (do the grandparents like chocolate? perhaps a nice thank you gift would be good?) Woodhouse Chocolates - sinfully delicious!

Don't know if you are interested in sparkling wines, but perhaps a tour of Domaine Chandon or Domaine Carneros would be interesting, since making sparkling wines is a bit different than making the still wines.

Or perhaps you will want to explore a different district each day - Stag's Leap one day, Spring Mountain the next, and so on.

Hmmm, I don't think I'm much help in narrowing things down! It's a good thing this trip isn't until March


posted 10-04-2012 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Chotchkie,

Welcome to our world! The first thing I would do is to visit http://napavalley.com/visitorsinfo/Napa_Valley_Winery_Map.pdf and check our the winery map. You can even print this one. What is important about this map? It will show you MOST of the wineries and if they are open with NO reservations (black dot before name) or it they are reservation only (magenta triangle before name).

Here is what I would suggest. Begin the morning (normally wineries open around 10:00 AM) with an appointment. Then freelance until lunch, then have another appointment at 1:00 or 1"30 PM, then freelance the rest of the afternoon. You can always ask the hosts at the wineries for additional suggestions to help, and sometimes, they will give you free tasting passes to those suggested.

10:00 AM Appointment at Hall Rutherford (not Hall St. Helena) An amazing tasting room, tour and wines. A little pricey, but well worth it. That may take you until lunchtime.


1:00 PM Appointment at Chase Family Winery. An amazing Zinfandel producer and a small family winery where you will get an intimate look and have a glass of wine among 100 year old Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel Vines. Call Jeff Blaum at 707-312-0573. Tell him Lee from Tennessee referred you. They are just at the south end of St. Helena at 2252 Sulpher Springs Road just off Hwy 29.

2:30 Make an appointment at Redmon Winery, another small, family owned Cabernet house. Call Lisa Redmon-Mangelson, the owner for an appointment. They are not too far from Chase in St. Helena. Tell Lisa that Lee from Tennessee recommended you.

Then the rest of the afternoon, freelance. Dinner will be depending on where you stay. There are several high end lodging choices in Yountville within walking distance of restaurants and tasting rooms. We have stayed at the Hotel Yountville and can recommend it.

I would spend one day on Howell Mountain. Be sure to pick up a picnic prior to going up as there is no place up there to get food and it is a waste of tasting time to drive back down for lunch.

I would suggest your first stop to be O'Shaughnessy Winery partially up Howell Mountain. Make an appointment for 10:00 AM. This winery is difficult to find but they send good directions, and it is easier to find going up the mountain than coming down, thus, the first stop. This is a short tour and tasting. They make two highly rated Cabs. I would allow 2 hours until the second visit. Also, I would suggest that you allow 45 minutes to an hour to find it.

Appointment number 2 1:00 PM. Black Sears Winery on top of Howell Mountain on Summit Lake Drive. Call Chris Jambois at 707-889-1243 and Tell him Lee from Tennessee recommended you. They make an amazing Cab, Cab blend and Zinfandel. Ask Chris if you can eat your picnic there.

Then on the way down, maybe 2:30 PM make an appointment at Spence Vineyards, a small family winery producing one Cab. Call 707.965.3416 for an appointment.

3:30 PM Make an appointment at Ladera Winery 707-965-2445. You will taste among the wine barrels. Again, they are a Cab house, but do have others.

That will probably be it for the day. Dinner depending on where you stay.

DAY 3, Let's do a Silverado Trail area day.

10:00 AM Venge Vineyards just off the Silverado Trail. (Wednesday through Sunday only) 707-965-2445 A tasting room with nice views of the vineyards and a very nice array of varietals.

Baldacci is close. Make a 10:00 AM if not on a W - S for Venge) appointment, or 11:30 if you are able to go to Venge. They make an amazing array of wines with an emphasis on Cabs. They are just off the Silverado Trail. Call them at 707-965-2445 for an appointment.

Lunch somewhere in Yountville which is not too far.


Visit Clif Lede and Robert Sinskey on the Silverado Trail. They both show on the map to be appointment only, but the triangle is for groups of 6 or more. Couples are welcome without an appointment. Both have very nice wines.

DAY 4 - The Terraces at Quarry Vineyards tour begins with a "mule 4-wheel" ride around the vineyard with a stop to taste 20 year old balsamic vinegar (WOW) then on to the tasting room to enjoy an array of wines. Call 707-963-1707 for an appointment and tell them Lee from Tennessee recommended them. The owners will be your hosts.

11:30 AM (or noon) make an appointment at Kelham Vineyards for their Charcuterie Lunch Platter along with a tasting of their fine wines. You can see a picture of the platter at http://www.kelhamvineyards.com/Tasting_Pairs.html and it looks exactly like that. If the weather is nice you will have this outside under their pavilion or if the weather is nasty, inside around the fireplace. A little pricey, but what the heck, you can't take it with you. Their 2001 Cab is one of my all time favorites. They age their wines for 8 years before releasing them. They are near St. Helena.

For the afternoon, you have many walk in visits along Hwy 29.

5th DAY.

I would spend the day in Yountville and visit many of the tasting rooms there. I would begin with Cornerstone and do their Sensory Tasting. It is a fun and enlightening experience. Appointment needed 707-944-2500

The rest of the day you have many tasting rooms, Girard, Jessup, Hope & Grace, Hill Family, to name a few. Plus, there are many restaurants from which to choose for lunch and/or dinner.

Be sure to take plenty of water and some snack on your trips. Water and food helps between tastings. At most of the wineries, it is okay to share a tasting. This is exactly what it says, "a tasting" and it is appropriate to "spit" out wine. Also, you do not neet to drink it all, that is what the "dump" buckets are for.

I am sure that others will add their favorites and you really can't go wrong on any of them.

You can visit all of these wineries on line by googling them.

Have a great anniversary. We just celebrated our 55th.


[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 10-04-2012).]


posted 10-04-2012 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Ah, the 10 year anniversary - I remember it well... Except that was 27 years ago! Like it was yesterday - as they say, time flies when you're having fun! And now that we've discovered Napa Valley, it really flies!

Anyway! Yountville has several lovely places to stay and is a charming, romantic location to then explore from. We've stayed at the Napa Valley Lodge and enjoyed it - it is at the lower end of the rate scale. I've heard good reports on the Vintage Inn and the Villagio, but they are more expensive and since we don't spend much time in the room, we haven't been willing to splurge that much. We tend to get out the door to the wineries early and then don't arrive back until after dinner... We aren't B&B folks, so I don't have any suggestions there, but if you head over to TripAdvisor, you will find lots of opinions on the available B&Bs.

Food - oh my word, the meals you will have! Amazing restaurants all up and down the valley. Let me see if I can be somewhat organized:

Napa: for breakfast - Oxbow market or the Soda Canyon store
for lunch - Oxbow market, with a Gott's on location there, or get picnic supplies from Soda Canyon store
for dinner - Celadon, Cole's Chop House, Ristorante Allegria, Fume Bistro

Yountville: for breakfast - Pacific Blues (and beware, the portions are HUGE)
for lunch - Mustard's
for dinner: Bottega, Hurley's, Redd, Bistro Jeanty

Rutherford: for lunch - Rutherford Grill

St. Helena: for lunch - Farmstead, Gott's, Tra Vigne, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
for dinner - Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant. Press and Market sound good, but I have no personal experience there.

Calistoga - for breakfast: Palisades Deli
for dinner - Solbar

Go to OpenTable.com to make reservations at most of these places. There will also be a link to the restaurant's website so you can check out the menus.

I'm going to go ahead and post this while I gather my thoughts as to wineries


Junior Member
posted 10-04-2012 06:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chotchkie     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks!! We are thinking that we will be visiting for 5 full days (thanks to the grandparents for watching our boys!!). I love reds...pinot noir, malbec, blends. Restaurant suggestions would be awesome too...hotel/bed and breakfasts as well. I don't know where to begin and I want to make it super special for my husband and I )


posted 10-03-2012 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Welcome chotchkie - like your name

Tell us how long y'all plan to visit and what type of wines you prefer. Are you looking for suggestions for wineries to visit and perhaps restaurants to try? We will have loads of suggestions - we all enjoy telling folks what to do


Junior Member
posted 10-03-2012 11:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chotchkie     Edit/Delete Message
Hi! My husband and I are planning a trip to the Napa Valley towards the end of March, 2013 - in celebration of our 10th wedding anniversary. Our love of wine started in Italy, on our honeymoon, and has grown ever since! I have been reading a lot of the threads and it seems that Greystone is a good spot to try and participate in a cooking class, Hall Rutherford sounds wonderful and also Cakebread. I would LOVE any recommendations that you may have for us!!


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