The Napa Valley is OPEN for business and we are so excited to be able to welcome you back to Wine Country. If you are anything like me, you are ready to get out and explore. Napa Valley is the perfect place to safely do just that. I have put together a full day itinerary for you to experience a variety of what Napa Valley has to offer.
Before We Start
Napa County is taking the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously and all of our businesses have put many new safely procedures into place to keep both visitors and employees safe. Masks are required in all public spaces (this includes walking on sidewalks) and must be worn until you are seated your table for tasting. While you are exploring Napa Valley make sure you maintain at least six feet of physical distance between you and other parties and always wash your hands.
Not only are our wineries ready to welcome you back so are our drivers and tour companies! The safest way to wine taste is with a designated driver and Napa has plenty to choose from. You can book a private car and driver through Beau Wine Tours or Platypus Wine Tours. If you feel more comfortable staying in your own car, call Wine Tasting Driver and they will send one of their drivers to drive your car!
Start your Napa Valley tour in my second favorite Napa Valley appellation, after Yountville of course, Carneros. Carneros is located at the southern tip of the City of Napa. Bordered by the San Carlos Bay, Carneros is famous for its cooler temperatures and for producing exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs.
Etude Winery was established in 1982 and is considered one of the pioneers of Napa Valley Pinot Noir. Today, you can taste Pinot Noirs not only from Napa Valley but from other famous Pinot Noir regions around the world! Start out your tasting with a splash of Rosé of Pinot Noir or try their Pinot Gris. Then relax on their spacious patio and sip through an impressive collection of Pinot Noirs.
Your next stop is in one of Napa Valley’s most famous appellations, Stags Leap. The Stags Leap district was made famous by the Judgement of Paris in 1976, the competition which put Napa Valley wines on the map. Stags’ Leap Winery is nestled in its own micro valley and is full of fun history and amazing wine. The winery has been a lavish home, resort, post office, and speakeasy and is now home to some of the best Petite Sirah in the world. Tastings take place on the impressive covered porch overlooking the vineyards, some of which are over 100 years old and original to the property. If you are a history buff be sure to book a tour of this historic winery.
It is time to continue north into the Rutherford appellation. Rutherford is known for producing outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and what is known as “Rutherford dust”. “Rutherford dust” is a term of endearment applied to “fine dusty tannin” effect that many of Rutherford’s wines have, a quality that makes them highly sought after. Provenance Vineyards is the perfect place to dive into Cabernet and learn all about “Rutherford dust”. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Mayacamas Mountains from the patio and sip through a series of Cabernets from the exclusive Hewitt Vineyard.
Our last winery of the day takes us to the top of the valley to Calistoga. Calistoga is the warmest appellation in Napa Valley and can be upwards of 20 degrees warmer than Carneros in the summer. A must stop when visiting Calistoga is Sterling Vineyards. Sterling is famous for its gondola ride, well priced wine, and self guided tour…not to mention the phenomenal view of Napa Valley from the deck. For a true treat upgrade your tasting to a Silver or Platinum tasting. Enjoy a food and wine pairing on the private deck with impressive views of Mount St. Helena and then guide yourself through the self guided tour. Make sure to snap a picture with the whole valley behind you!
Your last stop of the day will take you back to Yountville for the perfect dinner. Have your driver drop you off early so you can stroll through town before ending at one of Yountville’s famous restaurants. If you are craving french food make a reservation at Bouchon Bistro. If Italian is more your style stop by Bottega for an authentic Italian experience. No matter what you choose, you are sure to have one of the best culinary experiences of your life!
Yountville and Napa Valley businesses are taking COVID-19 very seriously and have many new procedures in place to make sure you are safe. Make sure you make a reservation, wear a mask until seated, and stay six feet apart while in public.