Ever since I visited Napa valley in 2013, it’s become one of my favorite places. The scenery is beautiful, the sun is almost always shining, and obviously the WINE. Here’s a fun story for you: my husband hated wine, like really HATED it, until I dragged him to Napa in 2013. He reluctantly tried a Cabernet Saugvignon and the rest is history. We’ve been visiting now every few years (it helps that my parents live two hours away) and each time we come back, we find something new we love. This time, some dear friends of ours were getting married and it also happened to be our fourth anniversary, so we had a lot to celebrate.
Celebrating 9 years dating and 4 years of marriage with this guy!
Travelling to Napa
San Francisco is the closest airport to fly in to. Bonus, if you have time, you can visit San Francisco, or at least have a scenic drive through it. Oakland is also nearby, but it’s a smaller airport and harder to find cheaper flights flying in. If you do choose to fly in to SF, keep the traffic in mind. It’s best to take a rental car, even if you plan on going on a wine bus/train/taking an uber for all the tastings because there is no airport within about an hour of Napa. Rush hour will add anywhere from 1.5-3 hours to your travel time.
My caveat is that there are 600 wineries in Napa, so keep in mind that I’ve only visited a handful of them. However, this handful was so amazing, that it is hard for me not to return to them and keep visiting new wineries.
This winery is at the Northern most part of Napa and it is a hidden gem! Featured in the movie Bottleschock, this winery is the one that put California wines on the map in 1973. There is a ton of history with this winery and let me tell you, they know their wine. It also located in a beautiful castle-like building complete with a pond outside with swans a swimming. I mean look at it…
It’s also where my husband tried that infamous glass of wine that made him a wine believer. But only if it’s from Napa. Or France. (Insert eye roll emoji). They have several different tastings at Chateau Montelena and you learn so much during each of them. I also highly recommend the wine club-we were members for several years.
I’ve loved Cakebread wine for several years now, but never made it to the winery until this trip. I was expecting it to be good, but I was surprised by how amazing it was. The wines at Cakebread are exceptional! And the story behind the winery is very endearing and sweet. Also, the owners sound like the sweetest couple. They just celebrated their 68th wedding annviersary, 68th!! They truly care about the customers that they serve. We went on the most basic tour there and this included a walk through the vineyards-where we got to sample all of the grapes ready to be harvested and plenty of samples of tine.
The Cabernet and Pinot grapes were my favorite–they tasted so sweet!!
We got to sample 5 of their amazing wines while exploring part of their beautiful property. I was pleased to learn that Cakebread was recently awarded the title for Greenest winery in Napa–which just makes me love them even more! For being the lowest tier tour, this was pretty extensive. and it made me think that next time we go back we’ll have to splurge a little on an even better tour. Or maybe even become wine club members.
We found this winery’s tasting room on a whim and ended up buying a few bottles to take home with us. The wines at Priest Ranch all had very delicate tastes and were very easy to drink. Their Petite Syrah was delicious and I don’t usually like wines made with Syrah grapes. They also have a very unique Rose made from Syrah grapes as well as a bubbly rose. We will definitely be returning here and checking out their vineyeards next. My favorites for sure were the Sauvignon Blanc, the Petite Syrah, and the Sparkling Rose!
Best Eats on the Go in Napa
So this is one area I do not know as much as I’d like to about because I typically only go to Napa for day trips and often time eat at the same place.
Whether I’m hungry or not, I always make a point to stop at Bouchon Bakery. Thomas Keller’s bakery has some of the best macarons (on par with French Laduree) and other pastry goodies. There’s almost always a line, but they never run out of pastries and the staff are very efficient. My favorites are the macarons and the TKO (Thomas Keller Oreo) which is a homemade oreo cookie.
(I ate mine before I could snap a good picture…sorry, not sorry!)
Before I talk about V. Sattui here are the details of my outfit. I went for stylish comfort with this look. This off-the shoulder top looks more dressy, but it is actually quite comfortable. I wore my favorite new pair of distressed jeans from the Nordstrom anniversary sale, but if distressed jeans are not your thing, I linked the non-distressed version below. My sunglasses are only $14 and they have been a staple of mine all summer. They come in three different colors. I snagged the purse from Hautelook during a sale, but linked a similar version below. Oh and these earrings–one of the best! They are made of leather and are so light and easy to wear, but still make a statement.
V. Sattui is one of the best locals in Napa because it has the MOST amazing sandwiches and deli, a cheese section that looks like it could be in France, and also pretty decent wines. I highly recommend stopping by here to stock up on some picnic essentials and then dining either on their outside property or taking the food with you elsewhere. Their outside area is beautifully situated under tall shady tree, complete with picnic barrel tables. If your looking for an additional place to taste wines this is a great place to taste, but it’s not my favorite.
Here’s the only picture I managed to snap at the wedding we attended, but luckily it’s a good one. My dear friend Anushka got married to her high school sweetheart and I was honored to be a guest at their wedding! My dress was a pretty lace number from Rent the Runway. Have you heard of Rent the Runway? It’s like Netflix (old school Netflix if that’s a thing) for dresses. You can go look at pictures of real women wearing the dresses, read the reviews, and then rent designer dresses for a fraction of what they would be in the store. The rental price includes shipping both ways AND dry-cleaning. Plus they send you two sizes of the dress you order. I’ve used Rent the Runway at least a dozen times and I’ve actually never been disappointed. Want $30 off your first order? Click here to try it.
Till next time Napa…I’ll definitely be back soon!