Last year my girlfriend won a two night stay at the Trinchero Family Estates in Napa. She invited ME to tag along with her! The word “excited,” was a bit of an understatement! Given that my husband and I spent last summer traveling from California to Vancouver, I couldn’t wait to get back. Wine is one of my favorite beverages and it’s a fruit (total win-win)! Little did we know, 48 hours in Napa was not nearly enough time. But it’s all we had and we made the best of it!
Should you be curious of how to get to Napa, where to stay and what to eat, use this guide.
TRAVEL – How the hell do you get there?!
One thing you will notice rather quickly is that there is an airport in Napa. The second thing you will notice is how expensive it is to fly into. Honestly, I think only private jets and planes fly into it. Do you have one of those? I didn’t think so. Best bet — fly into one of the cities closer airports.
Travelers can attack this one of two ways. Either fly into Oakland and drive up, or fly into San Fran and ride the ferry. My first trip to Napa Valley (2016) consisted of both methods. We Flew into Oakland ($357) – ubered to Napa ($60 bucks) – ubered back to the Vallejo Ferry ($20) – and rode the Ferry back to San Francisco ($6). During this trip we rented a car at the Oakland Airport and drove to Napa. The only caveat to that was trying to get back to Oakland in-time to catch a morning flight! So be careful and leave plenty of time for this. Spending your last day in Oakland or San Francisco, isn’t such a bad idea!
LODGING – Put your pennies here!
Let me preface this by saying, you can’t stay where we stayed. Sutter Home’s Victorian Inn is only for their guests. Folks they personally invite. As a matter of fact, most vineyard properties are for guests of the winery. You know it’s expensive when there are no prices listed. At least that’s how I determine the cost of things. But please believe that If you don’t want to tell me the price, I don’t want/need to know it!
Most Napa hotels are pricey. It’s almost like they only want you to visit, not stay, lol.
The Victorian Inn is niiicceeee. There are about 20 or so sleeping rooms on property, a kitchen with full service breakfast and an on site tasting room. The breakfast is served with complimentary bubbly and each night of your stay come with a comp’d bottle of wine. That we took as a challenge!
TOURS & TASTINGS – Let me get a couple sips of that…
Trinchero Family Estates is family owned and operated in the heart of Napa Valley since 1948. Trinchero Family Estates is a worldwide leader in the wine industry, with more than 45 acclaimed wine and spirits brands and a global presence in nearly 50 countries. A few wines are named after the family’s immediate members Mary, Vera, Mario with their Forte and BRV being among my top favorites. Our tasting guide Sandra was the best. She really made the tour enjoyable and even left us with a sweet parting gift– Obsidian rock from Mt. St. Helena that’s over 3 million years old!
Failla Cave Tour & Tasting was unlike anything I’d every experienced. We were escorted into a grotto-like cave, for a seated tasting of 5 current releases. Though we over-indulged on Failla’s Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah, our guide Sarah was the real star. Young. Fun and Spunky. Tastings here are about ($60) bucks each, this also includes the tour.
Tank Garage Winery came to life in a 1930s era gas station in the Napa Valley town of Calistoga, California. An area graced with world-class vineyards and cool California made wines. The result is a small collection of “one off,” uniquely-crafted wines that draw heavily on the owners’ personal lifestyles and experiences. I really enjoyed this winery and want to give a shout out to Made Society PR for sponsoring the visit. The wines are delicious, fun and unique. Their Lipstick and Gunpower, 2015 California Red was too good not to bring home! They have a private room in the back that seats 30. If you’re looking for a private event space in Napa, give them a shout!
NAPA NOSHING – What to know when looking for grub!
One thing that really SUCKS about Napa is that most restaurants close around 10pm. I totally understand why. Most restaurants serve heavy pours of wine, and most folks are already drunk before they get to the restaurant. Those winding roads are no joke. Responsible drinking is expected here. My top two picks are listed below. There are tons of restaurants on main and around town, but start here.
Oenotri is a southern-Italian restaurant featuring a daily-changing menu of rustic dishes built around the freshest local product available. Oenotri offers a menu with more than 20 different types of house-made salumi, an array of handmade fresh and dry pasta as well as exclusive olive oil sourced from within the Valley. The restaurant’s pizzas are baked in a 100-percent wood-burning oven, imported from Italy. Most noteworthy were the Margherita Pizza, Paccheri and Artisan Cheese plates at Oenotri.
At Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch the connection to rugged mountain terrain, mineral-rich riverbed benchland, and cool coastal air is tangible through the dishes and ambiance carefully curated by their artisans. We visited this place twice during the trip. It’s that good! Our first visit was for dinner and the second, brunch. Farmstead specializes delicious farm-to-table vittles like fresh steamed artichoke with butter and grilled stoned peaches with house made burrata cheese. Additionally, the beignets are killer. Bring in your own bottle of wine for a mere ($5) corkage fee. The cheapest in town!
CLOSING REMARKS – one last pointer
Napa Valley is quite nice. The temperatures is amazing, the scenery is breathtaking and the wine is delicious. But it’s expensive and somewhat of an overpriced experience. If I were to put a price tag on my 48 Hours in Napa, it would be the upwards of 3k. For that amount of money, I would suggest skipping this stateside excursion and heading to Bulgaria, Uruguay, or Greece. Their wines are equally delicious.