When you are ready for your next wine adventure, we have you covered. Here's the inside scoop on some of our favorite places to eat, drink, and stay in one of the world's premier wine regions. Salute!
Deemed a wine lover’s paradise, Napa Valley, just 30 miles long and five miles wide, is made up of the perfect topography, climate and soil to harvest renowned Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. With great wine also comes fine dining, deluxe lodging, popular events and modern culture. It’s no wonder tourists flock to Napa Valley, last year welcoming a total of 3.85 million visitors. Not bad for a wine community that has barely been on the radar for 40 years! How did the Valley’s popularity rise so quickly? Knowing a little slice of history before you go will spark intrigue and work wonders for conversation upon arrival.
In the wine world, there is “before the Paris tasting” and “after the Paris tasting.” At the “Judgment of Paris” in the spring of 1976, nine top wine judges gathered in Paris to blindly taste 10 white and 10 red wines. Knowing that some wines were from France and some from California, the French judges were confident that the French wines would win. To their surprise, California’s wines triumphed. And 40 years later, that tasting still matters. Prior to the judgment, French wines ruled the world, and there were about 67 wineries in Napa Valley. Post-judgment, the tasting results shot Napa Valley into the limelight, where today there are nearly 500 wineries. Indeed, the “Judgment of Paris” was the turning point for not only California’s wine country but for the wine industry as a whole. Napa Valley truly deserves multiple trips to experience the variety it has to offer. If it’s your first time visiting, don’t be afraid of visiting hotspots that may be a bit more touristy; remember that there’s a reason for its popularity. Here are a few notable stops to help narrow down your search.
TIP: It's always a good idea to schedule winery appointments well in advance of your visit.
Del Dotto Vineyards: Three different locations offer more than 100 different cabs. Be sure to book a cave tour.
Darioush: The gorgeous architecture and grounds of Darioush match the elite quality of their wine. Their artisan cheese and wine pairing experience is fantastic.
Domaine Chandon: If bubbles are your thing, you can’t do much better than bubbles on the patio at Domaine Chandon.
Robert Mondavi: It holds rich family history, award-winning wine and beautiful grounds. Don’t miss the Fumé Blanc, which remains signature and one of Robert Mondavi Winery’s most popular wines.
Shafer Vineyards: It is located in the notable Stags Leap District with picturesque rolling hill views. This James Beard award-winning, family-owned winery is worth a visit.
Far Niente: Take your time in this stunningly gorgeous estate. Far Niente is consistently recognized as a benchmark producer of Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Scribe: Just outside of Napa, located in Sonoma, this charming winery is worth a visit on your way in or out of town. They produce vibrant, terroir-driven wine and serve it amidst a true California-vibe setting.
TIP: Book up to months in advance for top restaurants.
Bouchon Bakery: Chef Thomas Keller created this classic French bakery-style shop featuring a wide selection of artisanal bread and classic desserts.
FARM: Located at Carneros Resort, FARM is an elegant, fine-dining experience and a destination unto itself with simple, fresh, organic and sustainably raised ingredients.
Kenzo: It's an incredibly special and elegant Japanese dining experience paired perfectly with wines from the Kenzo Estate.
Oxbow Public Market: Located in downtown Napa, Oxbow is the local gathering place for great food and wine. The 40,000-square-foot marketplace includes a scenic outdoor deck and features a diverse tenant mixture of local food vendors, artisan cafes and an organic produce outlet for local farms.
RH Yountville: It's a Restoration Hardware, first-of-its-kind food, wine, art and design experience. Enjoy a delicious meal and explore a boutique design gallery showcasing artistic installations of RH Interiors and RH Modern Collections.
TIP: Book your hotel around the wineries you plan on visiting.
Archer Hotel: Located in the heart of downtown Napa, this boutique hotel has elegant rooms, a rooftop bar, spa, and ledge pool. It features a destination restaurant by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer.
Carneros Resort: A quintessential wine country experience, Carneros Resort offers luxe accommodations and amenities surrounded by picturesque views of rolling vineyards. Choose to lodge in a gorgeous cottage or gated luxury home. There are three full-service restaurants.
Napa Valley Lodge: Located in the heart of Yountville, Napa Valley Lodge is just steps away from the wine country’s finest restaurants and wine tasting rooms. Comfortable and clean accommodations and incredibly kind, hospitable staff.