5 Day 4 Night Vacation to Napa, California
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Nick and I have been to Napa Valley several times, but this trip was different in a lot of ways. The first being that it was a crazy trip from the beginning! Currently we have elite status on American Airlines, so we are able to do same day standby. We got to the airport early and hopped on a 5:45 pm flight instead of our original 8:45 pm flight. The flight went per usual…I fell asleep during take off and that was that. EXCEPT IT WASN’T. About halfway there, I was awoken abruptly by the captain over the loud speaker, announcing that one of our engines was failing and we had to turn around. Back to Dallas we went. It makes sense, as Dallas is a hub for AA and of course I appreciate their safety precautions, but it was still kind of crazy! We landed in San Francisco around 1:15 am and arrived in Napa a couple of hours later. The sweet people at the North Block Hotel greeted us around 3:30 am, and then we hopped off to bed to get some beauty sleep before our full day of appointments.
Another way our trip was different than normal, was that it was a little longer than our typical trips - we basically got an extra day of tasting in! You know those families who go to Disney World every year?? I feel like Napa is our Disney World. (lol) We have our favorite wineries that we visit year over year, and when we don’t have a lot of time, more often than not, we don’t venture to new wineries. We flew in on a Wednesday night instead of a Thursday night, so more time for the win! This year we visited all new wineries except for two, so that made our experience a lot more unique.
With that being said, here’s what our trip looked like day by day! If you are doing any wine tasting whatsoever, I highly recommend making reservations wherever you want to go for sure and slip in other wineries that don’t require advance notice if you can/if you want to.
Lunch at Pizzaria Tra Vigne
Tasting at Quintessa
Dinner at Farmstead
Arrived at the North Block Hotel
Juice Beauty - We got to see the vineyard that they bought last summer, which yields organic grapes for their skincare line!
Verité Winery - Located in Healdsburg, they are known for making Bordeaux style wines with California fruit. They are big and bold wines that are made to age!!
Lunch - Roadhouse 29. They served us quickly, which is what we needed! We had the spicy chips and pimento cheese app, then split the pulled pork sandwich, burger, and fries. Just enough sustenance! Something interesting about this place is it’s a no tipping restaurant!
Cade - We have had their wines before at their sister label PlumpJack, but had never been to Cade. It was a beautiful site and worth the drive. They only take a small number people of day and you HAVE to make a reservation in advance. If you can’t make the drive to it or simply can’t get in, I’d go to PlumpJack - their wines are delicious and you still get to taste Cade! Side note - Cade is an organic winery, which is pretty cool!
Hall - We are a member of their Walt label wine club, but we prefer to taste at Hall. Their experience is so fun, because they have a bunch of interesting art. It’s always a fun visit, which is why we made it a point to stop by. This was 1/2 wineries we visited that we had been to before.
Dinner - Ad Hoc. We went to The French Laundry last year and wanted to try Thomas Keller’s other restaurant out this year. It’s still a tasting menu - or you can eat à la carte from the bar. We had lemon pepper chicken, potato puree, collard greens, and then added on the truffle risotto! If you can’t make it in for dinner, you can go to Addendum and try his food out for lunch for a fraction of the price. The food was great! I hear the fried chicken is to die for, so I’d love to go back to try that dish.
Quintessa (c/o) - Quintessa was a fabulous way to begin the day. We got to do their Quintessential Experience, where you go to the top of a hill to taste, while you overlook their vineyards. I could not get over the views or the wines. DELIGHTFUL.
Flora Springs (c/o) - I’ve had a long time relationship with FS. Their Trilogy is one of my favorites! You may remember I did a post on How to Pair Food with Wine featuring Trilogy a while back. I also love their holiday launches they do with special engraved bottles - they make for great gifts and pretty keepsakes. This was the other 1/2 wineries that we visited that we had been to before.
Lunch - We ate leftovers from our dinner at Ad Hoc, while driving to our next appointment!
Mondavi (c/o) - We had never been here before! Robert Mondavi is considered a father of California wine / Napa valley, so it was cool to go and learn their history, not to mention their property is beautiful.
BR Cohn (c/o) - We don’t venture out to Sonoma near enough. BR Cohn is one of those places that you need to make the drive for - we loved it and was more than worth!! It has such a fun vibe, partly its the Sonoma feel, but also it was founded by Bruce Cohn, the Doobie Brother’s manager, so that plays into it too! It pays homage to its rock and roll heritage in its decor, but also hosts the Sonoma location of BottleRock every year. We finished our wine tasting day here, and it was the perfect ending!
Dinner - Redd Wood. RW was right next to our hotel , plus we had heard great things, so we decided to try it out for something other than breakfast. If you stay at the North Block Hotel, breakfast at Redd Wood is not only exclusive to you, but included in your stay! We ordered the burrata and each got one of their homemade pasta dishes. VERY good!
Swanson (c/o) - When you walk up to Swanson, the seated tasting (no walk-ins) is on your left or you can head into the salon for a wine tasting. We did the seated tasting and it as so nice - they paired the wines with some small bites. The history is also really cool with Swanson, as it has French / NOLA roots, but also pays tribute to the original inhabiters of Napa.
Girard Winery (c/o) - Another beautiful property! I loved their bar set up (you can walk in to do this) - it was so open and inviting. We started there, but ended in a private room, as we did the paired tasting. If you want to do the food pairing, make sure you make a reservation at least a week in advance.
Lunch - We went to a local store and grabbed sandwich fixings. I made them that morning and we nibbled on them throughout the day, as we went from appointment to appointment.
Clos Pegase (c/o) - Arriving at Clos Pegase was a dream, because it had just stopped raining and there was a beautiful rainbow! (side note, this property is across from Girard!) This is another property with rich history. The grounds were modeled after Greek mythology and I’m pretty sure I expected Hercules to pop out at any time. We did the cave tasting and it was a real treat.
Dinner - Farmstead. We actually had a different reservation for this evening, but we changed it at the last minute and I’m so glad we did. Definitely make a reservation and for sure make it a point to eat here. They made me one of the best spicy margaritas I have ever had and I’m pretty sure Nick and I stuffed ourselves silly. From steak tartare, to the biscuit ham sandwiches, you really can’t go wrong!
Health Spa Napa Valley (c/o) - Nick and I struggle to relax on vacation, so we booked a couples massage! You can do work out at classes like yoga or even just use their pool and gym. We always bring work out gear, but struggle to get up and do it on vacation, so it was nice to have a set time to get a quick workout in, not to mention a cozy massage!
Pizzaria Tra Vigne (c/o) - If you’re craving pizza in the valley, this is where you need to go! You cannot beat their mozzarella appetizer, nor their fresh baked pies. Would make for a great lunch spot in-between tastings and/or an easy dinner place where you need to just relax. Maybe take a break from drinking wine and try one of their craft cocktails. I had the beekeeper’s journal and it was wonderful!
Lobby at North Block Hotel
Rainbow at Girard / Clos Pegase
Tasting at Cade
Tasting at Girard
I took a nap and Nick drove to the top of a mountain (lol)
Member tasting at Hall
Other wineries we love that we didn’t make it to this time: ZD Wines, B Cellars, Duckhorn, PlumpJack, Auburn James, Cliff Lede. Do you have any favorite places that I left off?! #CHEERS
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