Napa Valley is the closest thing to the Tuscany that you can find in the United States. Come here to take in the gorgeous scenery, eat the amazing food, sip on some of the best wine in the world, you will never want to leave.
Napa Valley makes a great day or weekend trip, it is absolutely beautiful! My husband planned a surprise anniversary trip for me to Napa and it was incredible. Napa makes for the perfect trip for any occasion. There are so many incredible wineries, you will not be able to do them all, so pick your favorites and then plan to come back to do more.
There is so much to do in Napa, so check out my tips & tricks to make sure you have a great trip. Make sure to plan ahead because many of the wineries and restaurants require reservations months in advance. Once you arrive at your hotel or any of the shops or restaurants in town, ask if they have a winery map, it is incredible to see how many wineries are in Napa. Also you will find that certain areas have the same soils and climate, which affect the taste of the wine, so you will probably like multiple wineries in the same region.
If you are going to be drinking, you have to start out your day right with a good breakfast. I cannot recommend Bouchon Bakery enough, seriously it was so good the first time, we went back the next day for breakfast. It was all amazing, I got a pastry with cream cheese and my husband got one with raspberry. We also got some macaroons for an afternoon snack. Most were big enough to split, but they are so good you are definitely going to want one all to yourself. There will most definitely be a line out the door (even in pouring rain), believe me it’s worth it. We love it so much, we have been to their two other locations in NYC & Las Vegas. It is located in Yountville which is also a really cool town with beautiful scenery. I also have a dinner recommendation here later.
Our first stop was Caymus Winery. Caymus was an amazing start to our trip. We absolutely love their wine, it is one of our go to special occasion wines, so we made sure to go here first. They have a gorgeous outside garden where you can take your wine and sip. Everyone who worked there was so nice and you can tell love their job. This is a more expensive stop, so we split a tasting, which was plenty, but the only child in me didn’t really want to share because it is so good. If you can, get there right when it opens and you will have the winery almost all to yourself, it’s great.
Our next stop was St. Supery, this is one of the larger wineries, and has lots of different tasting options. We chose to stop here because it was our anniversary trip and when we got engaged, we celebrated with a bottle of their wine. Their gardens are really pretty and they have tons of seating inside and outside. While they had one of the more reasonable tastings, if you can afford it, next time I would probably try another winery.
By this time we were in need of some food and a little break. St. Helena is a cute town that is close by most of the wineries and has some great local shops and restaurants. After a quick walk around, we went to the Rutherford Grill for an amazing lunch. This place has amazing food and drink selections and would also make a great dinner spot. This was our favorite meal in Napa. Go early if you can because this place gets really busy, but it would totally be worth the wait. Another great option would be Oxbow Public Market, they have tons of local restaurants and shops clustered together. This is a great place to get some snacks and drinks for later.
Our last stop was Cakebread Winery. You can choose to do a white or red tasting and along with the tasting, they take you on a short tour of their winery (choose the red!). This winery was absolutely gorgeous both inside and out. You can also walk by their vineyards, which makes for a great picture opportunity. They have lots of wines on their tasting that you can only buy at the Napa Winery, which makes it even more special.
Most wineries close late in the afternoon, so if you plan your day, you can probably get one more winery in before they close. We decided we’d had enough wine and chose to go back to the hotel and take a quick break before dinner.
Napa has some seriously amazing food, so make sure to leave some room in your budget for dinner. Yountville is an amazing way to spend your evening. This area has lots of wonderful restaurants, shops, and beautiful views. Bistro Jeanty in Yountville is an amazing french restaurant. The French Laundry is also located here. While I have not had the luxury of dining here, it is the most recommended from all my friends, so I will definitely plan on saving my money to come back. Bistro Don Giovanni has a gorgeous patio overlooking their beautiful gardens, if you are looking for dinner with a view. Most restaurants in Napa take reservations, so plan to make them as soon as you can.
We have been collecting restaurant and winery recommendations after loving Napa so much the first time. Also San Francisco is a short gorgeous 2 hour drive away, check out my combined Napa & SF itinerary.
Here are the wineries we can’t wait to try:
- Nickel & Nickel
- Alpha & Omega
- Frogs Leap
- Far Niente
- Del Dotto
- Robert Mondavi
- Stag’s Leap
- Tamber Bey
- Round Pond
Restaurants we can’t wait to try:
- The French Laundry
- Ad Hoc
- Auberge du Soleil
- Bounty Hunter BBQ
- Model Bakery
- Goose & Gander
- Redd Wood
- Oakville Grocery
- V Sattui