I’m going to give you my recommendations based on my experiences in Napa, but note that my friend Victoria is far better versed in the area and has the best Napa guide ever! Check it out here for a lot more options. One of my favorite things about her post is the simple map she created (below) to make it easy to understand where you are. Silverado Trail, to the East, and Highway 29, to the west, create the outside of the ladder that is Napa Valley. I always felt so confused as to where I was until I saw it laid out this way! The perks of being friends with a graphic designer, am I right?
Where to stay:
I’ve only ever stayed at two spots in Napa, but my favorite of the two was definitely this weekend, a smaller bed and breakfast that way over-delivered, Black Rock Inn. Jeff, the owner, keeps the place immaculate, and perfectly, elegantly decorated. Every morning for breakfast, he would whip us up a feast that rivals the best brunch spots in NYC. He knew that two of us were dairy and gluten-free so he made us GF, DF dark chocolate chip banana bread one morning that knocked my socks right off!
I seriously can’t wait to go back to Napa just to stay here again. And I know Anel will love it! Again, Victoria has a lot of other hotel/inn recs on her guide, but now that I stayed at Black Rock, I don’t think I’d ever stay anywhere else.
Where to drink wine:
It’s pretty hard to go wrong for wine tastings in Napa Valley. I went to one vineyard, once, that I really didn’t like but that’s it! It really just depends what you’re up for… A picnic outside with sparkling wine? Tasting a variety of rare blends in a beautiful space? A history of wine making? My list will have you covered.
Ma(i)sonry– This weekend marked my second time at Ma(i)sonry, a small tasting room in Yountville that has an incredible selection of rare, small-batch varietals that will make you think differently about the way you drink wine. I remembered the caramel-forward Perpetuity blend from Rivera Vineyards that I had tasted a year earlier and made sure to pick up a bottle this time around! The space here is super cool, because it also functions as an art gallery. They sell quirky statues and gorgeous oil paintings. If it’s nice out, be sure to set up your tasting by the oversized stone fire pits.
Domaine Chandon– One of my favorite moments from last weekend was spent here. We picked up a few bottles of sparkling rose and sat outside as the sun finally came out to shine down on six girlfriends, catching up over some bubbly. The property is great for picnics and outdoor drinking, but the inside space is nothing to write home about.
Peju– Anel, my sister, and I went here last November and loved it. It’s a bit crowded/touristy but the space is really cool/modern and the wine is amazing. It’s kind of more of an upbeat vibe. They also have these unusal/gorgeous trees out front. You can see them in my post here.
Redmon– This winery is tiny and off the beaten path, which is awesome. We were lucky enough to do a tasting with the owner, Lisa, who walked us through her family history with the land and their wine-making process, and had an intimate tasting there as well. They only make 250 cases/year so this wine can only be found at their property which is pretty cool! It’s fun to buy a bottle and then impress your wine-o friends at a dinner party later. The best part? All of their blends have been rated 90 or above… which is a really big deal.
Girard– One of Hallie’s readers sent us to Girard on Friday afternoon. We checked it out on a whim and loved it! Scott, who did our tasting, was super nice and made it a fun process. The location is right in downtown Yountville so it’s great if you’re walking around town.
Cakebread Cellars– Fun fact, Anel and I took our Christmas card photo here last year. It’s such a gorgeous property. I also love their wines and they do great tours and teach you a lot about the process of making their wines if you’re interested.
Rombauer– Ok so I’ve never actually been tasting here but Rombauer wines are hands down my favorite of all time. I live for the chardonnay in the summer and the Cab is to die for in the winter. The vineyard was right near our inn, but we didn’t have time to make it over. Next time, I’m hitting it up for sure!
Odette– I went to an event here last year and just fell in love with the space. Their cab reserve blend was also one of the best wines I’ve ever tasted in Napa, ever. It’s so beautiful and modern here, which makes sense because it’s run by all women!
Where to eat:
The food in Napa rivals the wine… seriously! There are so many amazing restaurants, and I’ve literally never once been disappointed.
Oxbow Public Market– Victoria took me here on our way out of town for a tea and green juice. It was a big space with tons of vendors selling everything from smoothies to soaps to artisan olive oils. It was fun to poke around and meet some local vendors. I’d love to come back for a full on breakfast or lunch next time.
Pacific Blues Cafe– This lunch spot is no frills but always hits the spot. It’s mostly burgers and sandwiches, so if you need to soak up some of that wine from the night before, this is the place to do it. Plus you can always walk across the street to Bouchon Bakery for dessert!
Boon Fly Cafe– We stopped here for brunch on the way into town. When we walked in, the amazing smell of food hit us and we knew we were in for a treat. The spicy bacon bloody mary was a hit and the chilequiles were so incredible. Everyone was happy with their meal, and it had a cute, farmy, bright vibe that is great for lunch or brunch.
Tacos Garcia– This apparently infamous taco truck parks in Yountville, minutes away from a bunch of the wineries I mentioned above. After a few bottles at Ma(i)sonry, Hallie and I walked over to pick up some tacos for the group. There was nothing fancy about it, but boy did those tacos hit the spot. It made me remember how much I miss good Mexican food on the East Coast! Definitely a must if you’re in town, even if just for a snack.
Bottega– We had the most fun dinner maybe ever at Bottega on Friday night. The Italian-inspired farm fresh menu was great and the drinks were even better.
Farmstead– We ate at this giant converted barn on Saturday night, and it was so nice to finally eat something green! The kale salad and turkey chili were two of our favorite hits, and the oysters were wonderful as well. Definitely a good representation of California fare.
Rutherford Grill– Last winter, my family and I enjoyed a delicious hearty dinner at Rutherford. As a big Hillstone fan, I knew this spot, in the same restaurant group, wouldn’t disappoint with their selection of American comfort food mixed with an obviously incredible wine list. It didn’t!
Bouchon Bakery– Thomas Keller’s famed Yountville bakery is a tourist trap but well worth it. You will probably wait in line, but once you bite into that chocolate bouchon, you’ll understand why.
Goose & Gander– On Saturday night, a few of us split off after dinner to grab a drink. We happened upon Goose & Gander, which is a restaurant upstairs, and a bar downstairs. The drinks and vibe at the downstairs bar were super cool. It’s a great spot to hit up late-night or if you’re sick of wine
Where to spa:
Spa Solage– On one of the mornings, Victoria and I split off from the group to get the famous mudslide treatment at Spa Solage. It sounded pretty alright on paper, but was magical in person. It’s a three-part detoxifying treatment (we needed it after all the wine!) that includes “the mud”, “the waters”, and “the rest”. You get to pick a customized pure essential oil to mix in with mineral-enriched mud and warm geo-thermal mineral waters from the hot spring there. They mix that all up and you apply it to your body in a hot, dry sauna. The sauna lasts 20 minutes so the mud can really bake in.
From there, you move to a private room with a luxurious soaking tub that is full of the hot spring waters and a bowl of sea salt mixed with the same oil that you choose for the mud.
That was all great and lovely, and our skin felt amazing, but the best part of the whole thing was “the rest”, which consisted of us relaxing in zero-gravity meditation chairs, wrapped in a cocoon of duvets, and covered in a cold eye mask and headphones playing harmonic music.. The coolest part? The music works with the chair to pulse healing vibrations throughout your body which promotes an intensely deep relaxation. It was insane and so amazing. My skin still feels so soft and smooth!