With the new year upon us and many of us looking for places to explore in 2022, here are a few suggestions for those of you making Napa Valley one of your New Year’s wine destinations.
Wineries to Visit
We all know that if Napa is your destination you are most likely looking for suggestions on wineries to visit. Here are a few from our most recent trip that you might want to checkout, listed in alphabetical order:
Alpha Omega: Celebrating its 15 year anniversary in 2021, AO specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s conveniently located on Highway 29 for those of you who might be on a tight schedule and can’t venture out too much during your stay. Make sure to close out your tasting by trying their Late Harvest wine, there’s a good chance you will love it.
Ashes & Diamonds: If you are looking for a culinary wine country experience then Ashes & Diamonds is one you should explore. We tried The A & D Wines + Food experience during our visit and loved it. Regardless of what experience you choose, make sure to try their Cabernet Franc, it was one of our favorites of the trip.
Caymus Vineyards: Founded by the Wagner Family, Caymus is one of Napa’s most popular Cabernet Sauvignon producers. The Wagners produced their first vintage in 1972 and ever since they have been known for the quality of their Cabernet Sauvignon. If you are a Zinfandel lover give theirs a try, you usually can only find it at the winery.
Darioush Winery: Named after it’s founder, Darioush Khaledi, Darioush is a cultural experience for the senses. Founded in 1997 by Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi, this Iranian inspired abode is one to visit for all art, architecture and wine lovers. During the visit we enjoyed one of the most unique tasting experiences of our trip in this heritage rich, dream of a winery.
Frank Family Vineyards: From deliciously refreshing sparkling wines to highly coveted Cabernet Sauvignons Frank Family Vineyards has you covered. A morning tasting in their beautiful garden, weather permitting, is an experience we hope to enjoy again and one we encourage you to schedule.
Larkmead Vineyards: A visit to one of Napa’s most storied family-owned estates should certainly be on your list when visiting The Valley. Founded in 1895 this history rich winery is now under the care of Cam and Kate Solari-Baker. Learn more about their story and their delicious wines in our feature “Meet Larkmead One of Napa’s Most Storied Family-Owned Estates”.
Maldonado Family Vineyards: If you are looking for the quintessential family winery experience then a visit to Maldonado Family Vineyards is a must. The project is the dream and vision of Hugo and Lidia Maldonado who together own and run the winery. Learn more about their beautifully crafted wines and about our amazing experience in our feature “Making Dreams Come True at Maldonado Family Vineyards”.
Newton Vineyard: Working out of a custom crush facility in Calistoga as they recover from the devastating Glass Fire, Newton Vineyard is a stop we suggest you make. Focused on small lots of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, Newton is producing wines worth seeking. Checkout our feature “Inspired by It’s Tradition Newton Vineyard Rises from the Ashes” for more.
Round Pond Estate: If it is sweeping vistas that you are looking for then Round Pond Estate needs to be on your list. Try to visit later in the day so that you can experience the golden views of their vineyards as the sun sets.
Silver Oak Cellars: Producing Cabernet Sauvignon for over 40 years, Silver Oak is one of Napa’s most recognized wineries. Located in Oakville, this is the perfect stop before or after visiting Oakville Grocery. We suggest the Twomey tasting experience because you also get to try some great Pinot Noirs from their sister winery Twomey.
Where to Eat
The dining options in Napa are endless but here are three places that we highly recommend:
Oakville Grocery: For us it is not a visit to Napa unless we enjoy lunch, at least once, at Oakville Grocery. Founded in 1881 they are the oldest continually operating grocery store in California. Great food and charm await you here.
Bouchon Bistro: One of our favorite restaurants is Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro. Located in delightful Yountville, Bouchon has a diverse menu with a casual elegant atmosphere which creates a relaxing and memorable dining experience. We suggest that you get an order of their truffle pommes frites, they are to die for. Make sure to make a reservation with plenty of time as it is often hard to get in.
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch: If you are a meat or bbq lover this is your place. They raise all of their beef at their ranch so you will undoubtedly be getting some fresh prime cuts. We suggest that you add an egg to your order because everything tastes better with a fresh egg. Their corkage fee is only $5.00, so if you have a special bottle that you picked on your trip and were hoping to open it with a great meal you are in luck at Farmstead. On top of the low corkage fee, all the proceeds from the fee are donated to non-profit organizations in the area.
Where to Stay
One of the trickiest logistical details of any trip is lodging. In Napa you will have no shortage of options, you just need to decide what kind of experience you are looking for. During our visit we split our stay between an Airbnb concept and a traditional hotel and are grateful for the great hospitality that The Bungalowas at Calistoga and the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa extended us.
The Bungalows at Calistoga: This is one of the coolest lodging experiences that we have had. We stayed in Bungalow A, which is close to 900 square feet and absolutely beautiful. The Bungalow features a full kitchen, fireplace, washer and dryer and much more. In total, there are 3 Bungalows on the property which are conveniently located a block from Calistoga’s Main Street. If you are looking for a cozy spot to call home away from home this is your place.
Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa: The Napa Marriott is conveniently located in the town of Napa off Highway 29 and it offers an abundance of amenities. Their rooms are spacious and stylish and their Redwoods garden is a perfect spot to read a book or enjoy a nap. A glass of wine by their outdoor fireplaces is a must do and a splash in their beautiful swimming pool a perfect treat on a warm summer day. Regardless if you are traveling for business or pleasure you are sure to enjoy a memorable getaway at the Napa Marriott.
A couple of other articles that might be of interest are: “A Guide to Enjoying Napa Valley’s Calistoga in Twenty Four Hours” and “Sonoma County is a Never Ending Treasure Hunt for Wine Lovers”.
We hope that these suggestions are of help as you plan your Napa Valley escapade and would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year.