30 mile long and 5 mile wide, Napa Valley with its 500+ wineries does not need an introduction. Neither you need an excuse to drive up to the land of full-bodied Cabernets, fruity Merlots, and smooth Chardonnays. Spoiler alert: you don’t have to focus solely on wines. Luckily, there are lots of restaurants, spas and other attractions to enjoy your weekend. There is a reason it’s second most popular attraction in California, after Disneyland, after all.
Before you start exploring Napa Valley, take notice of these few tips that will help you make the best out of it and have a stress-free experience:
Check Napa Valley event calendar and plan your trip accordingly: it gets very busy around major holidays and weekends so if you want to avoid the crowd come on less busier days
Book in advance: most wineries are open by appointment only
Buy a portable wine cooler to store your wine shopping in the car and prevent it from overheating
Take it slow: it’s easy to get carried away with exploring all the wine palettes. Follow wine tasting guidelines and drink plenty of water – your body will thank you later!
Make notes during wine tasting sessions so that you could revive your tasting experience when opening the bottle at home few months (or days!) later
Now, off you go!
1. Take Off With Napa Valley Balloons
Established in 1980 and being the Napa Valley’s oldest balloon company, Napa Valley Balloons, Inc.will take you above treetops, or 2,000 feet, and take your breath away! Starting from $215 per guest within a Standard Package, Napa Valley Balloons will get just you and your date on cloud number nine for $1,200. Wine tour and hotel packages are available too.
2. Celebrate In Style with Mumm Napa Sparkling Wines
With roots traced back to GH Mumm, the leading international champagne brand in France, Mumm Napa was established in California in the late 1970s and the winery follows traditional wine making techniques of its French heritage ever since to create the finest, hand-crafted sparkling wines.
Enjoy table service outside on the patio or taste in the salon with stunning views of the surrounding Rutherford vineyards in Napa Valley, starting at $18. The Oak Terrace offers a leisurely reserved seating at $40 per person. If you are up for a tour of Mumm Napa to learn about the sparkling winemaking process, be ready for a one hour walking tour, priced at $30 per person.
At Mumm Napa you can satisfy your find taste not only in sparkling wines but also photo art. Experience amazing photography exhibits in a spectacular winery setting by exploring the Galleries at your own leisure while enjoying a glass of wine from the Visitor Center.
3. Drink It Up At The Napa Wine Train
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Being probably one of the most distinctive Napa restaurants offering an authentic, memorable experience that echoes the glory days of train travel, The Napa Wine Train provides fine dining service, multiple course meals, Napa Valley scenery and ultimate relaxation on a tastefully restored vintage rail cars. Seat back in a plush armchair and enjoy your meal accompanied by best Napa wines while the antique train runs on 25-miles of track in the heart of the Napa Valley.
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Explore Wine Train offers and tours and pick one that speaks to you most: from Napa Valley Wine Train LGBT Pride Ride to Ambassador Winery Tour, you are guaranteed to get on an exciting journey where you can ‘uncork and unwind’.
4. Visit the Legendary Robert Mondavi Winery
Located in the heart of Cabernet country, the legendary Robert Mondavi Winery was established by Robert Mondavi in 1966 with a vision to create Napa Valley wines that would stand in the company of the world’s finest. Robert chose To Kalon Vineyard as the home for Robert Mondavi Winery that produces some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the world. Get the taste of its Sauvignon Blanc grapes, from which Mr. Mondavi crafted his signature wine, Fumé Blanc.
5. Catch the sunset at Auberge Du Soleil
The breathtaking valley views inspired a French-born restaurateur Claude Rouas to recreate the sun-drenched ambiance of a Provençal restaurant in the California Wine Country. Opened in 1981, Napa Valley’s first fine-dining establishment, in known to be one of the leading and best restaurants in Northern California, both because of its superb cuisine and spectacular natural setting.
You can extend your luxurious experience by staying at the inn, a collection of sun- and earth-toned rooms and suites, each featuring French doors opening onto private terraces, cozy fireplaces and private soaking tubs for two. Auberge Spa offers state-of-art spa treatments within the ambiance of centuries-old monastery and continues to be one of the most acclaimed spas in the country.
By no means being an exhausting list of Napa Valley treasures, I hope this blog post will be your starting point to enjoy what Napa Valley has to offer. Last but not list, drink responsibly.
* Have just one glass * (Wine lovers will understand 😉 ):