Monday, June 10, 2024

How To Go Wine Tasting In Napa

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Wine Tasting Outfit Ideas Winter

Napa Wineries To Visit In ONE Day| How Book Wine Tastings| NAPA VALLEY WINE TASTING VLOG

I dont think Ive ever had a hot winter wine tasting experience. Maybe a few that are warmish but plan on it being chilly if youre visiting a winery in the winter I always like to wear warm maxi or midi dresses, especially sweater dresses. Or jean with sweaters, coats and boots.

Anything that has layers and tons of warmth in case your wine tour takes you on a stroll through a cold wine cave or something. Always pack an umbrella, too, as theres a good chance youll get winter rain! Keep in mind the vines will be dead and brown, so you probably wont be taking too many wonder babe photos strolling the vineyards this time of year.

Shop Winter Wine Tasting Outfits

Where To Begin Your Napa Valley Wine Tasting Journey

Now its time to start exploring some of the best Napa Valley wine tasting experiences. Napa Valley has over 450 vineyards in 14 different regions , along with almost two dozen local tasting rooms . Where should you go?

Well, thats where we come in. Weve compiled a list of ten amazing tasting sites for your consideration. There are so many incredible locations from which to choose, but the following list is a great place to start!

Swim At Boutique Hotel Pools

Many of the people going to Napa Valley are looking for a very luxurious retreat, and the hotels in the area have certainly stepped up to meet that demand. Throughout the entire valley you can find very high-end boutique hotels that are a treat just to see. While staying at these upper-echelon accommodations is outside of most peoples budgets, grabbing a drink and spending a day by the pool is much more affordable. If youre looking for the best of the best like the place the Kardashians stay head to Auberge du Soleil in St. Helena. After your swim, maybe you can book a spa treatment, too!

Auberge du Soleil Pool

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Wine Tours Transportation And Other Planning Tips

What are the best Napa Valley wineries?

It’s no big secret – Napa Valley is renowned for extraordinary wine and excellent food, but when our guests are faced with hundreds of wineries ripe for the pickin’, we know that planning can become all-too overwhelming.

The most common question we hear at the concierge desk …

“What are the best Napa Valley wineries?”

We’d love to give you a Top 10 list, but there’s no pat answer! And for good reason! In Napa Valley, we’re blessed to be surrounded by wineries suited for every palate. Our job as concierge is to direct you to the wineries that are best fit for you. So here’s how you can get a head start on planning – which is half the fun anyway!

First of all, consider transportation to the wineries. If someone in your party is willing to be the designated driver and abstain from wine tasting, you can go in your own vehicle or rental car.The valley is not too hard to navigate, and Napa River Inn can provide you with a good map upon your check-in. If you are going to taste beyond a couple of sips, I highly recommend that you do not drive! In my years as a concierge, I have known of guests who spent the night in jail instead of their comfy hotel room. It’s not worth it to drink and drive!

If everyone wants to taste, then you have three options to choose from:

  • Hire a designated driver for your vehicle or rental car
  • Arrange for a private car, along with driver, to transport you
  • Join a group tour, which picks up and drops off at the inn

The Best Wineries In Napa


There are fantastic wineries spread throughout the entire Napa Valley region! Whether you are taking the classic route on Highway 29 or heading up to hillside destination wineries along the Silverado Trail, you can find great wineries in Napa sprinkled throughout the densely planted valley good wine is ubiquitous in the region!

The best wineries combine delicious, balanced wine with spectacular views. Each individual producer will have their own spin, but as a rule, valley fruit tends to be richer, broader, and juicier and mountain fruit tends to be more savory and elegant.

As far as what to try, Cabernet Sauvignon is the best-known grape from Napa, but you can also find killer examples of Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot.

Below, Ive organized the best wineries in Napa by their best or most interesting qualities!

*Note: At the time of writing, all Napa wineries require reservation due to COVID-19 health & safety measures.

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What Should I Wear To A Wine Tasting

A more upscale winery might call for darker denim, and be sure to dress in layers as many winery experiences take place outdoors and tours often take guests through wine caves and chilled cellar areas. How do I taste wine? First of all: Wine should be enjoyed, so dont overthink it have fun and drink what you like.

Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery

This family-owned Iowa winery is right on highway 965. And thats the inspiration behind the name of the wine we tried: Nine: Sixty-Five. Its open for tastings, weddings, and even has a restaurant!

Kent, the gentleman from Cedar Ridge, was so passionate when talking about how the blending of the grape varieties was very intentional in this wine. It was blended in hopes of showing a taste of home.

The wine we tasted, Nine: Sixty-Five, uses building blocks of different and unique grape varietals. Its aged in barrels shared with the distillery and gives off a very cozy and homey vibe. The price point is $16.

Pair this wine with food, keeping in mind, what grows together, goes together. Iowa is famous for pig farming so how about a pork dinner like my Stuffed Spinach Pork Loin. Or something more earthy like my Mushroom Lentil Risotto.

Check out Cedar Ridge Winery on , or Cedar Ridge Website.

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Stags Leap Wine Cellars

This winery helped put Napa Valley wine on the map when their cabernet sauvignon won the 1976 Judgment of Paris, and now their Cellarius Kitchen Experience is also one of the most ample wine and food experiences around. Chef Travis Westrope whips up dishes like hamachi tartare and a creative interpretation of steak frites using porcini braised short ribs, which match with two whites and two reds. For something a little more chill, theres also a picnic-style food and wine pairing , which includes four wines and bites presented in a box. That option is specifically served next to Fay Lake, a stunning spot that few Stags Leap guests get to see.

This famous sparkling house offers a pair of casual and outdoor food and wine experiences made for small groups. Picnic on the Lawn comes with a chic basket full of mini bottles of sparkling wine, cheese and charcuterie, fruit, salads and sandos, with the option to add other snacks. The Private Cabanas experience is truly made for Instagram photoshoots and comes with two kinds of wine, plus a delightful wine country lunch to eat at your leisure.

Start The Day With A Big Breakfast

Wine Tasting In Napa Valley| Napa Travel Tips| Tools To Plan Trip To Napa Valley| MiloveOfLife

Whether you choose to have a sit-down breakfast or grab something at a bakery, it is critical to have a full stomach before you start drinking wine. I am a huge fan of Bouchon in Yountville. There is often a long line at the bakery, but it is well worth the wait. Additionally, when we have scheduled tastings without a lunch break, I have picked up a sandwich here. And, it is difficult for me to leave without having at least one macaroon. I also recommend snacking and drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated, you will thank me in the morning.

Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, my favorite place for breakfast or a sandwich

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How Should I Get Around

There are a few different ways to get around the Napa Valley.

Perhaps the most commonand the easiestis by car. If youre planning to drive yourself, have a designated driver and reserve a rental cars are available from all area airports, as well as from most of the major valley hotels. Rideshares serve the region, as well even at peak times, customers rarely wait more than 5 or 10 minutes for an Uber or Lyft. About a dozen private transportation companies operate in the valley, too a few worth investigating are Napa Valley Tours & Transportation, Pure Luxury Transportation, and Beau Wine Tours & Limousine Service. Keep in mind that the valley is long and it can take longer than you expect to get from the top of the valley to the bottom plan your tasting schedule accordingly.

Another popular option for exploring the valley is the Napa Wine Train. This old-school train service incorporates refurbished Pullman railcars and offers a variety of tours to explore Napa Valley excursions range from a few hours to the entire day, with longer ones stopping at wineries along the way. The Wine Train also offers seasonal events aboard the railseverything from special New Years Eve packages to one-of-a-kind Valentines Day trips.

When To Go Wine Tasting In Napa Valley

Its always a good idea to schedule winery appointments well in advance of your visit. Some wineries are so small that they need to know when you are coming. Other wineries have permit restrictions that limit the number of guests that can visit each day. Many wineries have sit-down tastings that start and end at specific times.

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Fall : Best Bay Area Wineries To Visit

Everyone knows thatfall is the best time of year to go wine tasting. The vineyards turn brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow as they transition from harvest time to their annual dormancy. Wineries have the pungent smell of fermentation in the air. During this last gasp of Bay Area âsummer,â thereâs nothing more pleasant than sitting outdoors in Wine Country with a scenic view.

Our latest update of this Top 25 Wineries list pays special attention to the season, featuring spots that are especially rewarding to visit in the fall. Thereâs Mount Eden Vineyards, a gem in the South Bay that requires a long drive up a beautiful mountain â and is more than worth it, with some of the best, most age-worthy wines around. Thereâs the brand-new Marine Layer Wines, a chic tasting room on the downtown Healdsburg square, where you can try balanced Sonoma Coast wines alongside snacks from the hotly anticipated new restaurant Little Saint. And this update includes some hidden-gem estates like Preston, a sprawling property with organic vegetable farms alongside the vineyards, to capture the laid-back, bucolic charm that our local wine regions can offer.

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Alternate Option: Napa Valley Wine Train

Ultra Luxe Napa Wine Tastings

If youre willing to splurge a bit, check out the Napa Valley Wine Train. Travel through the Napa countryside on a train while enjoying a gourmet meal and delicious wines. With different options ranging from stops at wineries like Castello di Amorosa or the Murder Mystery Dinner, youll definitely have a unique experience.

Pick one to make a day of, or try them all. You cant go wrong because wine is the greatest.

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How Does Winetasting In Napa Work

The best way to sample a winerys offerings is to pony up for a formal winetasting. As the name implies, this is your chance to taste some of the winerys current releases.

Others incorporate food, chocolate, and other delicious treats into the mix. Across the Valley, many tastings are seatedmeaning you and your traveling companions sit as you would at a restaurant, and a server or host brings the wines to you. Some wineries also still use tasting bars at these, you simply walk up to the bar and stand while you sip. Hosts do their best to facilitate your tasting, providing general tasting notes before you sample, then checking back after you sip to answer questions you might have.

Many wineries require appointmentsespecially when youre aiming to taste rare wines or have a food pairing. To make these, go to the winerys website or call.

Once youve sat for a tasting, dont rush. Basic tastings last about an hour, while more involved tastings can go anywhere from 90 minutes to two or three hours. Hosts are trained to pace the tastings slowly to keep everyone relaxed. Remember that you dont have to drink every drop of each wine tables and bars always are equipped with dump buckets into which you can pour any wine youd rather not drink.

Most wineries are open daily from 10 or 11 a.m. until 5 or 6 p.m.

The Best Wine Tours In Napa Valley

There are so many great Napa Valley wine tasting experiences, many of which simply require you to go to the winery or a downtown tasting room. However, wine tours can be a great way to experience Napa Valleys wine as well. Here are a few of the regions top wine tours:

  • All Aboard! The Napa Valley Wine Train is a classic, upscale wine and food experience that is simply a must while in the area.
  • One of the easiest and most popular wine tours in Napa Valley is the join-in style tour from Platypus Wine Tours.
  • Try something a bit different and hop aboard two wheels while youre on tour with Napa Valley Bike Tours.
  • Hop on a classic open-air trolley for a wine tasting adventure you wont soon forget with Napa Valley Wine Trolley.
  • For a private guided tour through Napa Valley, book a tour with Beau Wine Tours.
  • Whether you take one of these tours or plan out a self-guided itinerary, we know youll have an exquisite time Napa Valley wine tasting. To make your stay even more memorable, make sure you book a stay at our incredible Select Registry Bed and Breakfast in the area. You can even combine a visit to Napa Valley with a trip to Californias other wine tasting destinations, like Paso Robles and Temecula. Read a recent blog we put together about this for more information!

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    Tip : Choose Your Colors Wisely

    Unless youre only sipping white wine all day, spills are something you need to factor in. Wearing darker colors can help camouflage any mishaps. Even if youre extra careful, the person next to you may overindulge and spill a glass, or the wine bottle may drip after the server pours a taste into your glass. These things happen, so plan accordingly.

    Free Wine Tastings In Napa Valley

    Napa Wine Tasting on a Budget

    From previous wine country trips, I knew most tasting rooms have pricey tasting fees, so I was determined to make a list of all the vineyards that offered free tastings . Napa Valley is more expensive than Sonoma Valley, or even Calistoga which is the most Northern part of the wine valley. Im talking wine tasting fees that average $30-50 per person. FOR TASTINGS! Lawd almighty, I love trying fancy cabs and pinots, but sometimes its hard to justify dropping hundreds of dollars a day on what adds up to less than a bottle of wine.

    So, I hunted for the free wine tastings in Napa Valley. Turns out not a thing. There is only one winery in Napa Valley that offers free wine tastings that I know of. And that winery ladies and gentlemen? Sutter Home.

    I havent been to Sutter Home winery in a while, but back when we were poor and broke, we would always swing by to take advantage of a free wine tasting at this Napa Valley winery. They even always had little food and jam samples out, so free snacks yall! But, one does not go to Napa Valley just to taste wine at Sutter Home and leave. Its not the best wine and wine country trips are meant for lots of day drinking, people!

    Keep reading for my recommendations on affordable wine tasting in Napa Valley, if you should sign up for the Priority Wine Pass and the best wine club membership to get that gives you FREE wine tastings at wineries all over the country.

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    Wine Tasting Etiquette: The Dos And Donts Of Wine Tasting

    Courtesy of Unsplash | Zan Wrue

    The image of the Wine Country visitor sidling confidently up to the tasting bar, swirling technique down pat, is an iconic one. But the reality is, its not always clear what to do and, perhaps more critically, what not to do once youve arrived at a tasting room.

    Though COVID-19 has changed how we go wine tasting , the general unspoken rules of wine etiquette remain relatively the same, whether youre tasting cabernet sauvignon in Napa, pinot noir in Oregon, or chardonnay in Santa Barbara County. To help guide you, weve put together a few wine tasting etiquette tips plus a few extra guidelines worth noting for COVID times so you can seamlessly enjoy this beloved Wine Country activity.

    Wear White With Caution

    Have I worn white dressed for wine tasting before? Yes! I have spilled red wine on myself? YES. Heres the thing: I love the look of white in vineyards. Its chic and timeless. But you have to wear white with caution. If you easily spill on yourself, only wear those white denim jeans to champagne houses like Mumm or Korbel.

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