As someone who used to frequent Napa as a child with my parents, I was extremely excited to return to Napa Valley as an adult! I am a bit familiar of Napa Valley from my trips during my childhood (my father is in the wine business), but I never got to participate in wine tastings myself. The county is gorgeous, with endless vines and greens everywhere.
Upon arriving, we decided to jump straight into wine tasting starting out in Downtown Napa! Our first stop of the day was Azur Wines, which just opened their newly renovated tasting room, The Green Room. Each tasting takes around 45 minutes to an hour plus, so I would recommend saving ample time for each winery.
The tasting room was unique as we were able to see the production and the behind the scenes behind a glass window. The winemaker was a huge surfer, so you could see aspects of that in the tasting room. Our highlight of the tasting was the Azur Rose, which not only had gorgeous packaging, but tasted excellent as well. I highly recommend getting a bottle of that if you ever come by it!
Next up: Jam Cellars. Jam Cellars is a fun atmosphere with record labels and vinyls hung up as décor. They offer live music, and their wine names are so cute! We tried the Toast, Jam, Butter and Candy. Since we came during the day, it was a bit quieter, but it would be a great spot to check out at night and enjoy some wines and dishes!
I know we drank wine first, but we got our fair share of food at Heritage Eats right after! I was pleasantly surprised by Heritage Eats as it was delicious! They offer fusion dishes such as sandwiches, salads, wraps, bowls, and more. We ordered the Banh Mi Dutch Crunch, the Baja Shrimp Tacos, the Reggae Chicken Bao, and the Cowboy Steak Wrap. My personal favorite was the Cowboy Steak Wrap since I love meat, but everything was so flavorful! They also offer a wide variety of sauces so I would try them all! We had a side of waffle fries and sweet potato fries to enjoy the sauces with.
After lunch, we headed up to Calistoga (about 40 min drive) to check into our hotel, the Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa. The Lodge consists of about 50 rooms sprawled all across the property, as well as mineral pools, a MoonAcre spa, and more. There was plenty of space to hang out, and you could even borrow board games at the lobby to play in your room! The lodge has the whole camper / RV vibe, and it was very chill and relaxing! We really enjoyed unwinding at the lodge and checking out all of the amenities they had to offer.
For dinner, we checked out Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller's interpretation of American comfort food. To finish the night, we stayed in and played board games provided by Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa!
The next day, we had an agenda full of winery visits, including Bennett Lane, Wellington, VJB, and Far Niente. We started off with the Blanc De Noir at Bennett Lane, which really set the tone of the day for us! Bennett Lane was highly recommended by my father, and it did not disappoint. Not only is the winery so picturesque, the wines were amazing! We were able to tour the facility and check out the show vineyards out front.
For lunch, we stopped by VJB, an Italian winery named after the family's son! While the family did start out with their restaurant, the sons started making wine to sell at the restaurant. After Victor unexpectedly passed away, they ended up creating the winery in memory of him. VJB was a gorgeous space, with beautiful décor! We were able to eat their paninis, pizza, and cheese board there - all of which were fantastic paired with the wines. I really enjoyed the lunch there, and would highly recommend stopping by here for lunch + a tasting!
After VJB, our last and final stop of the day was Far Niente. Far Niente was a fairytale. The estate was gorgeous beyond belief, and their brand was established all the way back in 1885! This spot also came highly recommend from my father, and I was so impressed by everything here. Not only was the hospitality fantastic, but we were able to explore the winery on our own time and learn more about the history of Far Niente. They actually only offer two varietal wines - the Chardonnay and the Cabernet, which I would highly recommend for a nice dinner. Quality over quantity is definitely the case here! We got to visit the cellars which had wines dating back to the early 1900s. They also have a vintage car museum on the property, as well as gardens and a chef’s area.
All that wine drinking calls for a relaxing time ahead, right? We headed back to the hotel after Far Niente to check out the MoonAcre Spa's mud mask treatment! After applying the mud all over our bodies and face, we were able to hang out in the lounge area while letting the mud dry. The mud is great for removing toxins from the skin, and once the mud dried, we washed off and ended the mini spa adventure in the steam room. The spa space is gorgeous, and definitely a nice place to relax and hang out in.
Last but not least, the next morning we headed over to Conn Creek winery for a barrel blending experience. This was the perfect spot to finish our trip, as we got to measure and create our own Cabernet blended bottle! We were first given 5-6 different Cabernet varietals from different regions, and from there, we blended our favorite recipe. After the blend was finished, we were also able to add different types of grapes in such as Malbec, Pinot Noir, etc. After completing the perfect blend we filled up our beaker and poured it into a wine bottle, corked it, and labelled it. Super fun and unique experience (I’ve never even heard of this!) that I highly recommend if you want something more interactive and fun.
Overall, we had such a fun-filled experience in Napa Valley! With gorgeous landscapes, amazing wines, delicious food, and great hospitality, there are a lot of reasons to return! I, personally, am planning on returning when I am able to get French Laundry reservations, which will hopefully be sometime in the near future! Thank you Visit Napa Valley for hosting our unforgettable trip!