I don't think you can really go wrong with your choices of stops when in the Valley of Na-pa (as we liked to call it). Literally everywhere you go is chalk-full of wine and great views. Really, what could be worse? It's definitely hard when you have a limited amount of time on a long weekend to pick where to go, so I did it for you! This is a list of my can't miss vineyards and eateries in Napa:
This winery is at the very for north end of Napa. A Napa winemaker friend of mine said the north most vineyards have the best views. Sterling did not disappoint. When you arrive, you pay for your ticket (which btw look for a coupon online, I found one for $5 off) and jump onto a airborne gondola to get to the winery at the top. From the gondola, you get great views of the whole valley. Unfortunately, it was broken when I visited, but the trolley ride was great, too! Make sure you take a photo with the giant wine glass while out on the terrace. If you don't see it just ask someone! They keep in it the closet. Also, there is a giant "Before I die..." board, you can't miss it, so write down your dreams for all to see!
CASTELLO DI AMOROSA
A trip to this winery will transport you straight to Tuscany since its a replica of a Tuscan castle. The castle really is a destination of its own. A little bit of a tourist trap, its still a great stop for some photos. You don't necessarily need to pay for the whole tour, but if you have time do a wine tasting. They take you down to the the dungeon for the tasting AND they have the cutest animal pourers. I was obsessed with the elephant one. Make sure you look for a coupon here, as well!
This winery is famous for the sparking wine. Fun fact: Sparkling wine is really just champagne, however, only wines made in Champagne, Italy can be actually called champagne. So, sparkling wine or champagne, doesn't matter what its called, it is delicious. You can choose to have just a flute or a flight, here. What's great about Mumm is that they offer table side service, unlike anywhere else!
It's inevitable, you're going to be hungry after tasting all that wine. The original Gott's Roadside is located in St. Helena which is the perfect location in the middle of the valley. It's not what it sounds like, though. It's more like an upscale diner with gourmet roadside food. Their parmesan truffle fries were the perfect combination with my kale salad. There is also one located in downtown Napa next to Oxbow Market.
OXBOW PUBLIC MARKET
The Oxbow Public Market is a giant food hall, reminiscent of the Anaheim Packing District I recently posted about. You can get anything from gourmet cheeses, oysters, and spices to cupcakes and gluten free food. I don't think you can go wrong with anything here. I may have gotten a little carried away here with gourmet cheeses after I ate my lunch. It does get crowded, so be prepared to hunt for a table.
PROVENANCE VINEYARDS - I may be a little biased, since I know the head winemaker here, but if you get a chance, check out Provenance. Great wines and welcoming people!
ROBERT SINSKEY - Wine and food are always are great pairing. I've heard nothing but great things about Sinskey's. You get food and wine pairings!
ROBERT MONDAVI - Supposedly a super scenic stop in the valley. When we drove by it looked beautiful. You can order by the glass from here.
If it wasn't obvious, I spent the weekend here for my best friend's bachelorette. Napa is the perfect place if you're looking for a fun, boozy and some what low-key weekend with your girlfriends. Or really a long weekend away is a great idea. The valley is so beautiful and there are so many amazing spots to go along the way. If you want to explore more, I've heard Sonoma is wonderful, as well, and it's pretty close by.
Remember, keep calm and drink wine. Or my favorite, Rose all day.
Yours Truly // Shannon