Traveling to Napa Valley in January didn’t promise sunshine and blue skies, however, I decided to take a chance (refreshing the weather app every minute, as if it would magically change).
We landed in San Francisco, January 4th at 2:00 pm, and headed straight to our rental. Renting a car will give you the freedom to drive to the different towns around. The rental is also cheaper for the four days than a one-way ride from the airport to our hotel. The drive from SF to downtown Napa was about an hour and 45 minutes. It was 49 degrees and the rain soon greeted us on the road, but so did Chick-Fil-A. This was my first time here, I had the nuggets and Oh mahh god!
Anyway, we checked in to the gorgeous Andaz Napa Hotel in the heart of Downtown (free parking for our rental!). As I rambled thru one too many scarfs and a sea of hats, the kind woman at the front desk gave us a complimentary upgrade! This is one of the perks of traveling in the off-season, hotels have the extra room to spoil their guests. No complaints here! After settling into our beautiful room,we headed down to the lobby for a complimentary glass of wine. Who doesn’t love free stuff! A few glasses later, we walked to a random restaurant and had more wine, with food of course!
The following days rewarded us with perfect weather. The wine tasting tour began bright and early! We were picked up at our hotel at 9:30 am and greeted with a glass of champagne. With a promising day of drinking, I gripped on to my coffee tightly with high intentions of pacing myself. Our first tasting was at Black Stallion Winery, the location was breathtaking! Crisp air, sunny skies and lush green grass surrounded us. We tried a tasting consisting of two whites and two reds; the tasting fee was just $15 each (not included with the tour).
Next, we visited Rutherford Ranch, this property prides itself in their organic process. The entrance and lobby has a homey and warm feel. We didn’t explore the grounds much, partly because I felt like I needed a nap post our much needed lunch.
Third stop was at Bernessere, an Tuscan-style winery. A smaller, independent own winery and absolutely superb! We purchased three bottles: Zinfandel, Phenomenon, and Rosato. I’m normally a white white or rose drinker but their red wines were the best of the entire trip; full-bodied and dry, without the bitter aftertaste.
By the fourth tasting we were ready to knock out! I thought I was pacing myself but all the 1 oz. pours began to add up. It was about 2 o clock by now; we’ve been drinking for 5 hours! I briefly tasted the wines at Judd Hill Winery. I don’t remember much actually, besides the purchase of a bottle of the Petit Sirah. So good!
We arrived to our hotel, fell asleep, and missed our dinner reservations.
Upon waking, I thought we were in hell, mostly because the heater and fireplace were both turned all the way up. After chugging an entire bottle of water, we threw on some boots and headed to Redd Wood in Yountville. BEST PIZZA EVER!!!! GO!!!
The next morning we headed to Oxbow Public Market to prepare our bellies for the second day of wining and dining. If you’ve been to Eataly in New York, and/or Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, you know the drill. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast with a healthy twist from the Mexican restaurant Casa, and of course coffee from Ritual!
Next, we hopped in our rental and drove 45 minutes to Castello Di Amorosa. The tour consisted of a one hour guided tour and a 45-minute tasting of 8 different wines. The wines are on the sweeter side; not my favorite, but I did enjoy the Chardonnay Reserve. The drive up the castle was breathtaking! You instantly feel enchanted by the romantic scenery and beautiful architecture.
After our tour, we rushed to Robert Mondavi Winery and made it to their last tasting. This is definitely a tourist magnet but being my first time in napa, I couldn’t pass it by and took home a bottle of Fume Blanc Reserve.
I definitely say go to Napa at least once! If you want to get better deals go during the off-season; you will avoid the crowds as well.We will definitely return! It’s a beautiful place with over 400 wineries so you’ll never get bored! If you love wine, good food, and nature, you will love Napa.