Looking to plan your perfect Napa getaway but don’t know where to start? It can be a bit overwhelming and there are so many options to choose from.


Guess what, it doesn’t need to be overwhelming! I am hoping I can help get you started with planning your perfect trip to the region! Let me know what you think of this post as I am planning to write more on Napa! Would love to get more suggestions on what you want to know more about!


Okay, so where do we start? We will start with lodging and transportation to get a base for the trip.



Lodging:

SO MANY PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY LOOK FOR AIRBNB’s and I hate to be the Debby downer here, but Napa has some (let's call them unusual rules) and Airbnb’s aren’t in abundance in the area (Napa has very strict hospitality laws). You will find many hotels to choose from in the area, a couple of my favorites are Vista Collina and River Terrace Inn.

Vista Colina: If you are traveling with a group or even kids this place is great! They have a big pool area and a place called the village where you can continue to taste wines after the wineries are closed. They also have cooking classes, which is a super fun activity outside of wine tasting (obviously wine is included in that as well)!

River Terrace Inn: Cute, chic, and has a boutique vibe with great service! There restaurant (Alba) is one of my favorite spots to eat breakfast in Napa as well.


Pure Luxury Transportation

Transportation:

Unless you have a DD, transportation can be tricky. I do recommend renting a car from either the Oakland or San Francisco Airport if you are coming in from out of town. For a day of wine tasting my ABSOLUTE favorite transportation company is Pure Luxury Transportation. They have a very large fleet to choose from (and can even do airport transportation ). If you have a smaller group or are just with one other person they have some great SUVs and if you are a larger groups their sprinters and buses are awesome! And of course, the drivers are super friendly and professional.


Planning Your Itinerary:

I highly recommend a minimum 2 days of tasting if this is your first time to the region. Many people will try to fit 3 or more tastings in one day and I do not recommend this unless you plan on spitting the wine (WHY ON EARTH WOULD I SPIT THE WINE? – ha. I get that. But it is okay to spit some of the wines if you would like to make it to more than 2 wineries in a day. Spitting still allows you to taste the wines and maybe only consume the ones you LOVE).


So, during my first few trips to Napa I was trying to fit 3 or 4 wineries in the day and I couldn’t tell you if I really liked any of the wine after the second winery. Usually the wines I bought from the 3rd and 4th wineries were expensive and not that great, thanks to my AMAZING drunk taste buds! If you want to try to get three wineries into the day, I recommend starting first thing in the morning. Make your first appointment at 10:00am, second at 12:30, grab a quick sandwich in between (I will list my favorites below), and then plan your last tasting at 3:00pm. If you are doing 2 tastings in a day, you will have more time for tours and learning more about the history of the properties and Napa. And there are so many great tour options (I’ll list some of my favorites below).


Now, the next question I get often…..WHY ARE TASTINGS SO EXPENSIVE? There are a few reasons for this. First reason, they need to pay the staff that are providing you with the tasting experience, tour and answering all of your questions. Second reason, Napa is just an expensive place to own land, farm, and build. And the third reason….many places will set the very expensive tasting fees because they want serious people in there. What do I mean by serious? People that are looking to buy wine. So keep that in mind when you go to Napa, many places are happy to give you a tasting experience but they still need to make their businesses run, and they do that by selling wine. If you are looking to buy wine, tell them that up front when you are making the appointment and they will help you pick the right tasting experience.


Book reservations? YES! I would highly recommend booking your reservations weeks in advance. If you are going to 2 wineries in a day you should definitely plan to book ahead and plan 2-2.5 hours in between each place. If you book a tour/tasting it can take upwards of 2-2.5 hours and then an additional 30 min to get to your next location depending on where in the valley you are (so make sure you consider your tastings each day by the location because the valley spreads pretty far). If you try to do 3 in one day, I recommend booking two appointments and trying to stop in to the third somewhere that accepts walk in tastings.




Favorite Tours:

Hall Wines: They can get busy over the weekend so I recommend booking their tour experience as it was one of the first I did in the region and I’ve brought so many people back since!

Pine Ridge Winery: They do a tour and cave tasting (with a food pairing) that is amazing!


Wineries that have some more affordable options:

Titus Winery: One of my favorites to recommend to people and most people have ended up joining their wine club!


Quick lunch spots:

Yountville Deli: grab a quick sandwich

Gotts Roadside - St. Helena: This is close to Hall if you go there. They can get pretty busy but you can order online ahead and save yourself a ton of time.


Check out my other blog posts in Napa!

Yountville - Napa Weekend Getaway

Napa Summer Sunsets -- Tasting Room with a View: Miner Family Winery

Titus- A hidden gem in Napa Valley

Davis Estates - Views that you need to get to Calistoga to see

Odette Estate Winery -- Must Visit off of Silverado Trail

Aonair - Breathtaking views and fabulous wine

Looking for the perfect Napa weekend getaway but don't know where to stay, eat, or drink? Yountville is definitely the happening place to be!


Yountville is one of Napa's hidden gems (or maybe not so hidden). A lot of people don't know about it or haven' spent much time there. The little town of Yountville has so much character, cute hotels, amazing tasting rooms, and fantastic restaurants. The best part is you can walk to EVERYTHING! I recommend doing a tasting somewhere out at a vineyard in the morning and then come back and stroll around Yountville for the rest of the day while enjoying some of the best wines and food Napa has to offer!


Here are a few of my top places I stopped into while I was in Yountville over the weekend:


Downtown Tasting Rooms:

*There are so many downtown tasting rooms in Yountville, some that welcome walk ins and others that require a reservation.


Hestan Vineyards: Aside from the wine, when I look for something special in a tasting room, the staff and experience are tops. The staff at this tasting room help really make the whole experience. They sell their cookware in the tasting room, which I wanted to buy literally ALL OF IT! I definitely recommend making a reservation here, especially if you come in over the weekend. But if you are strolling around downtown through the tasting rooms, you can stop in and they will definitely accommodate you if they are not packed.

Favorite Wine I tasted: 2014 Hestan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon



Hestan Tasting Room - Yountville

Silver Trident Winery: One of the hidden gems of downtown Yountville. It is a cute tasting room that is furnished and decorated with Ralph Lauren. Walking into this tasting room you will immediately feel at home. The staff are personable and knowledgeable on the wine and the cheese pairing is fantastic! For the best experience, I recommend booking an appointment here.

Favorite Wine I tasted: 2016 Playing With Fire


Stewart Wines: Another great tasting room in the area! You will not be disappointed by these wines! Walk ins are welcome in the tasting room and courtyard. They also share the space with a restaurant that will provide great bites to go with your wine! Favorite Wine I tasted: 2015 Stewart Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Lodging: North Block Hotel

Courtyard outside the rooms - Northblock Hotel Yountville

North Block Hotel is THE cutest little boutique hotel that has a great courtyard and central location in Yountville that is perfect to walking to everything in the downtown Yountville area. The staff were very welcoming, the rooms were spacious and nice and you have your own little outdoor seating area. They have a SPA as well (I did not get a chance to go try the SPA). My favorite thing about this hotel is how small it is, so you don't feel like you are tripping over people everywhere you walk. You feel like you are in your own world when you are in the hotel room. Also the room service food comes from Red Wood - which is one of my favorite restaurants in Yountville, so that is a huge perk as well! Also, the breakfast for North Block is served at Red Wood as well! If you are looking for a luxurious hotel getaway for the weekend this is your spot to go!


Wineries in the Area - a Short Drive Away:


Cliff Lede Vineyards: This place has some killer wines and isn't too far from downtown Yountville. Their wine membership is great and the staff are very knowledgable and passionate about these wines!


Chandon: Great place to start the day with some sparkling wines!



Restaurants:

Red Wood Restaurant: As I stated above this is one of my favorite restaurants in Yountville. Go here for lunch if you can! They have AMAZING pizza and their chicken is AMAZING as well. If you go for dinner you will be impressed as well. They are also Gluten Free friendly which is important for me!

Yountville Deli: This is my FAVORITE quick lunch spot in all of Napa. They have lots of snacks, but their sandwiches are amazing! We go here probably 2 out of 3 times we are wine tasting in Napa.

Restoration Hardware Restaurant: If you are looking for the most recent trendy spot, Restoration Hardware has done an outstanding job of the PERFECT ambiance for enjoying a meal or drink with friends.

**Yountville has a wide array of restaurants that will range from ten dollars to a couple hundred dollars per place. Make sure you are doing a little bit of research before you book a reservation if you are on a budget! The ones that I mentioned here are middle of the road and the deli is a causal lunch option!



North Block Hotel - Yountville

One thing that ALWAYS gets away from me in Napa is TIME. So staying in Yountville is a perfect central location where you are close to many of the great wineries in Napa but also some of the places that are further up north are not quite as much of a trek when you are staying in Yountville. Love this place and I hope you do on your next visit!


-AU

Updated: Dec 5, 2018

Want the dream getaway weekend in Napa? Drink some amazing wine, stay at an amazing boutique hotel, partake in an interactive cooking experience, dine with a winemaker, go on a hot air ballon ride and have luxury transportation!


HESPERIAN WINES:


Hesperian is a winery I recently learned about and was SO glad I did. The story and the passion behind the owner and winemaker, Philippe Langner, is incredible! He is passionate not only about wine but the farming behind the wine. Philippe grew up learning about farming from his family in Colombia and Zaire. So his passion for farming came at a very young age. Since then Philippe has lived all over the world and has been able to farm and experience many different terroir. (Of which he spent a very long stint in Bordeaux.) After traveling and living many different places, California is the place Philippe has decided to settle and now calls home!


Hesperian wine is low production because  the  vineyards yield  only  2  tons  per  acre in  a  good  year. This is where Philippe's passion really shows through. He believes if you truly know your terroir you are able to affect the quality of the wine. This really shows through in the most recent vintage I was able to try! The wines are AMAZING! Philippe is truly an amazing wine maker and his love for wine and the vineyard really shows through in his wines. Sign up for the mailing list and I promise you won't regret it! Also, with it being such low production, grab it while you can because I know once this word is out on Hesperian, the mailing list will turn into a waiting list to buy this wine!


I had the opportunity to walk through the vineyards with Philippe and learn about the terroir.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:


How to Enter:

Just a few easy steps! Go to this site (here) and it is a super simple one step process in which you provide your name and email address to sign up for the Hesperian newsletterYou are also given an opportunity to share and invite friends to enter. The more you share and invite, the greater their chances of winning. Easy as that!


For the giveaway, the winners will experience a luxurious Napa Valley weekend. They will be picked up from the airport on Friday by Napa Valley Tours & Transportation in a luxury vehicle, brought to Napa where they will check into the River Terrace Inn and then have dinner. Saturday morning they will wake up and experience the hot air balloon ride provided by Napa Valley Drifters (if weather permits; it may be delayed for Sunday morning). In the afternoon, they will meet at Kitchen Collective where they will taste through the Hesperian collection and in the evening they will have a dinner at Kitchen Collective with our winemaker Philippe Langner.

On Sunday, there will be a tour of the Hesperian property, and then they will be driven back to the airport.

*MUST BE 21+ TO ENTER AND ABLE TO TRAVEL DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY*


Prize List

1. $500 travel credit, courtesy of Alaska Airlines


2. 2-night stay at River Terrace Inn


3. Hot air balloon ride with Napa Valley Drifters


4. Dining experience at Kitchen Collective with Hesperian winemaker Philippe Langner


5. Luxe ground transportation with Napa Valley Tours



6. Leisurely wine tasting


GOOD LUCK AND ENJOY!


-Allison

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