Napa Favs

Photo Jul 07, 14 54 42

Vineyards / Wineries:

  • Schramsberg  The best bubbly made in the US in my opinion and they have a fun cave tour (reservations required). Calistoga. Tours are $45 per person. Wines start around $35.
  • Robert Sinskey This is a public tasting room (eg, no reservation needed). They have a beautiful patio and make a range of wines, including a great rose (which they call Vin Gris, or gray wine). They also do a nice snack plate with each tasting. Full winery tours can be booked for an extra charge in advance. Stag’s Leap District. Wine prices from $28-50+
  • Failla The winery may be in Napa but the grapes come from Sonoma.  Great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay here and a beautiful cave. Reservations required. Between St Helena and Calistoga. Wine prices from $30-75+
  • Cliff Lede: Make a reservation for a formal tasting, or belly up the bar for an informal flight. They also have a lovely garden with modern sculpture.
  • HALL: You’ll know it by the enormous silver bunny rabbit sculpture caught mid-leap among the vines. There is a public tasting room here where you don’t need a reservation and you can stroll around the grounds taking in the impressive modern art collection.
  • Viader: Located just below the Howell Mountain appellation, the winery boasts incredible views of the valley floor that match their impressive wine line up. Their second label DARE, is a more affordable option and includes offerings like Tempranillo and Cabernet Franc. Tastings by appointment only. Wine prices start at $45 and go up to $200.
  • Corison: Located right on Route 29, you wouldn’t know from the outside that winemaker Cathy Corison is an icon in the Valley.  Her Cabernet Sauvignon is incredible. St. Helena. Wine prices range from $30-50 for white, rose and second label wines, and $80-$150 for current release Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Nickel & Nickel: Stunning gardens and a beautiful historic barn.
  • Tres Sabores: A rustic, out of the way winery making fun wines including their “Por que no?” red blend which is a combination of leftovers from other wines.

A Distillery: Charbay  Home of Charbay vodka, they also make incredible brandy.  A great experience.

Not Actually in Napa: Couloir Their tasting room in Tiburon is right near the ferry and makes a great day trip from San Francisco.  Great single vineyard Pinot Noirs plus a Syrah, Tempranillo and Sauvignon Blanc. Tiburon. Wine prices range from $22 to ~$55


  • Model Bakery: A Napa icon, the breakfast sandwiches are to die for. They have a location in Napa and another in St. Helena
  • Gott’s: Another local institution, this is where to go for a great burger. The original is in St Helena and they also have an outpost in Napa next to Model Bakery and Oxbow market.
  • Fatted Calf: The best butcher in the area, they also serve lunch.
  • Ad Hoc: amazing Sunday brunch (and casual lunch & dinner); part of the Thomas Keller Group
  • Bouchon Bistro: Also a Thomas Keller restaurant, a fancy bistro serving classic French food. Pricey but worth it.
  • Oxbow Market: Oysters at Hog Island, the best coffee in town is at Ritual, C Casa does celiac-friendly tacos + baked goods, the Wine & Cheese merchant is excellent, and there are a bunch of cute vendors selling olive oil, spices, bitters, home goods and more. Also there is a nice terrace. Located right next to Model, Gott’s and the Fatted Calf.
  • Bounty Hunter: For great barbecue
  • Torc: My favorite restaurant in Napa. Excellent food & wine with a relaxed atmosphere in downtown Napa.
  • Yountville Deli: Great for grabbing lunchtime sandwiches for a picnic.
  • Boonfly Cafe: South of Napa at the Carneros Inn, the Boonfly Cafe is a solid brunch spot. They don’t accept reservations so expect a bit of a wait.
  • Cadet Wine Bar: Napa’s only real wine bar, they have a fun by the glass and bottle list of small, local producers as well as European wines.
  • Zuzu & La Taberna: Located next door to each other Zuzu is a sit-down restaurant while La Taberna is more casual with a fun bar scene that gets going later in the evening. Both specialize in Spanish tapas.

Other activities

  • The Spa at Solage is very nice and you get access to their thermal pools for the day with your treatment.
  • The French Laundry gardens in Yountville are beautiful and open to the public, a great place to take a walk.
  • Round Pond Estate offers a “Garden Lunch” experience which includes a tour of their gardens and an olive oil tasting. You can also book an olive oil tasting at their olive mill across the street.
  • The DiRosa Museum has a wonderful modern art collection with a focus on local artists.
  • Hikes: There are lots of great hiking trails around Napa.
  • Shopping: Main Street in St Helena is the best place for shopping in the Valley. It is home to a great antique shop, housewares stores, a chocolatier, a vintage store (Lolo’s), Model Bakery, Patina (an antique jewelry shop) and Pennyweight’s, which is full of things you didn’t know you needed and a large selection of greeting cards.

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