With over 500 wineries, there are countless itineraries you can come up with, but if you have limited time to plan and you want a sure path to a great day, here is one itinerary you can follow. My husband and I constructed it for our anniversary day in the Wine Country, and we loved every step of it. You can follow it verbatim or use it as a launching pad for your own discoveries.
1) Artesa Vineyards & Winery was our first stop. It is worth going here for the sake of beauty alone. Take your time climbing the stairs and drink in the views from the top. Then taste their fabulous wines inside.
2) An empty stomach does not work well with wine tasting, so after Artesa, we took the backroads to Oxbow Public Market. What a sophisticated market! It is unique, bustling, and a different kind of aesthetic experience. Be sure to look UP every now and then. You’ll see a rowboat suspended above Hog Island Oyster Co., for example, and lovely chandeliers at Napastäk. For lunch, I ate at Pica Pica and my husband had his first duck taco from C Casa. I don’t expect you to follow our itinerary down to the duck taco, but if you do, you won’t be disappointed.
3) Every trip we make on Highway 29 seems to include a stop at Oakville Grocery. As the oldest continually operating grocery store in all of California, it deserves a quick visit. We usually wander around, looking at their creative selection of wines and dips and then enjoy a latte outside in their picnic area.
4) A well-rounded trip to the Wine Country should include as least one boutique winery. We chose Sullivan Vineyards and loved the calming lake, vintage Thunderbirds, and stellar sense of style. Smaller wineries often require a reservation for tasting. Regrettably, we hadn’t made one, but now that you know, you can do better.
5) Hall Wines was next. The enormous rabbit sculpture beckons you from the road and interesting art continues to engage you throughout the extensive grounds. But I suggest you go straight to the tasting bar like we did, so you can walk around while you sip. Or, after tasting, buy your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoy it by their reflection pool (see last photo).
6) With a little time left before our dinner reservations, we visited Ma(i)sonry on Washington Street in Napa. This historic manor is more than an art gallery, but whenever we are in the area, we stop for the art, which is always top-notch and fun to ponder and discuss.
7) Our last stop was R+D Kitchen for dinner. The prices are right, the kitchen crew amazing, and the atmosphere perfect. After dinner, we sat by one of the fire pits outside and wondered if Napa could do anything wrong. Even after an earthquake, the place seems so put-together. Moreover, the wineries, shops and galleries are so gracious, with hospitality being an obvious value.
The Wine Country wants us to visit and happily we oblige. Stay tuned for other sample itineraries to come!