Things to do in the Napa Valley- late winter

Pretty soon the wine country will be deluged again with visitors

Getting to either Napa Valley or Sonoma wine country before it gets too busy can be a treat; access to wineries and restaurants could be arranged without too much hassle. That said it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Here are some suggestions about making the most of your trip to wine country:

  • Have an idea what kinds of wines you’re willing to taste and sample; for example, for pinot noir one might be mostly inclined to skew the itinerary towards the Russian River Valley area- we’re talking about Windsor, Sebastopol, West side road and East side road near Healdsburg.
  • For Zinfandel lovers, Dry Creek valley could be the focus of the itinerary.
  • Napa Valley offers a formidable array of wineries and venues to taste some Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other Bordeaux varietals.
  • Let me share with you sample itinerary for a day in Napa Valley: I’d allocate about 4-6 hours and plan on staring around 10:30
  • Cabernet and other Bordeaux varietals can be sampled at the following wineries: Darioush, Pine Ridge, Stelzner Vineyards and Robert Sinskey Winery. They’re all on Silverado Trail within 10 miles of each other; a nice and compact area to cover; it is critical to call and set a an appointment to these wineries as a matter of courtesy and also as a way to make sure that you have a time allocated to to you when you get there.
  • Itinerary#2: Focus on Spring Mountain District, again Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals; Pride Mountain Vineyards, Barnett Vineyards, Robert Keenan, Terra Valentine and Smith Madrone.
  • Further up Valley towards Calistoga we such places as Twomey, August Briggs, Bennett Lane and Storybook Mountain Vineyards ( a mix of varietals here); Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, some Pinot Noir and of course Chardonnay.

Now let have some food!

Many options to consider:

  • The picnic approach; there are a few markets that we’d recommend. you could pick up food item to stock a picnic basket at these places: Whole foods in Napa, The Oakville grocery in Oakville, and in St. Helena you have Sunshine Market and Dean & Deluca.
  • Cafes and eateries are plenty in the Napa Valley; my favorites include Cooks in St Helena, Taylor’s Refresher and the Oxbow Market place in Napa.
  • Restaurants: from north of the valley heading south we have, Martini House in St Helena. In Yountville we have Redd, Ad Hoc and Bouchon Bistro.
  • But of course we cannot forget to mention The French Laundry a three star rated by the Michelin Dining guide. The restaurant at Meadowood resort is worth a trip also.

Please stay tuned for my next entry: how to get around the wine country.

 Anani