The Perfect Long Weekend in Napa and Calistoga…
Napa seemed like the natural choice for a girlfriends getaway; especially for two career-focused friends who enjoyed wine and could benefit from a work break and a bit of pampering.
So, we agreed the theme for this trip would be “luxe”—everything, from our accommodations to the sporty Cadillac ATS we drove from San Francisco International Airport to our vino adventure, was about comfort (and the car’s hazard-alerting vibrating seat kept us safe on Napa’s dark country roads).
Decked out in sexy sunglasses and stylish layers (no high heels or tight dresses here), we arrived in Napa ready to be delighted, and the region welcomed us warmly and eager to show us its delights. Evidenced by the all bottles in my suitcase and the smiles plastered on our faces…Napa didn’t disappoint.
In order to fully enjoy each experience, we visited no more than three wineries per day. Our first stop was the sophisticated Hestan tasting room. Joy, the whip-smart tasting salon manager, poured us some yummy selections from grapes grown on their vineyards. TIP: be sure to ask for chocolates to pair with some of the reds…it is SUPER yummy!
Next was a stop at Chimney Rock Winery in the heart of Napa’s Stags Leap district. Red lovers, be sure to check out the estate grown Cab Franc or the Ganymede Reserve Cabernet (made from some of the oldest vines on the estate).
We finished off our day at Tamber Bey Winery, whose Wild West aesthetic was a fun contrast to the other wineries we’d visited, right down to our cowboy-hat-wearing tasting guide. TIP: Check out the custom cookie-and-wine pairing experience while taking in the beautiful performance horses and the expansive grounds.
The following day brought a visit to Hall Wines. This state-of-the-art, LEED® Gold certified winery that has put out several award-winning wines has a tasting room that feels like a gallery, and, bonus, all of their vineyards have been certified organic. To further satisfy our need for fabulous spaces to sip, we stopped at Darioush. Their visitor’s center, with the sky-touching columns, mixes Persian golden age glam with modern chic. The portfolio tasting, led by their knowledgeable guest services team, is a must. The wines we tried were all delicious, but the fruit-forward, lush Viognier was one of my faves.
Our craving for bubbly brought us to the Domaine Carneros tasting room, housed in a gorgeous mansion, with a roaring fireplace, on a sweeping estate. The sparkling tasting flight is divine — and the vibrant, floral Brut Rosé, which gives up wild strawberries and hints of juicy peach, was added to my collection of bottles to take home.
Foodies will get their fix in the valley; dining options range from a quick bite at Gott’s Roadside, a gourmet burger joint that uses fresh, local ingredients (the garlic fries are to-die-for), to the elaborate “chef’s choice” Japanese cuisine tasting menu at Morimoto, overseen by the eponymous Chef Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame.
Napa understands deluxe. When we arrived after a long day of travel at the spa-like Solage Calistoga, they checked us in at the car, drove the car to our accommodations, and unloaded the luggage, allowing us to go straight to our delicious dinner at their Michelin-starred restaurant, Solbar. After, they picked us up and drove us back to our spacious, sleek studio with a patio and working fireplace. We were in love!
For one of our tasting days, we treated ourselves to a designated driver from Pure Luxury. Their all-inclusive rate starts at $98 per hour for a sedan (three-hour minimum).
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It’s no offense to use the spit bucket (if you don’t love it, dump it!)
Check out Hertz for luxury car rentals in case you want to roll in style
Plan your winery visits as some tasting rooms require reservations and charge tasting fees (which may be waived with a wine purchase)
If your pourer goes above and beyond, a gratuity is appreciated