Today I am sharing my Napa Valley Travel Guide. I am recapping where to stay, when to go, what wineries to visit and where to eat while visiting Napa Valley. This past trip was my third time visiting, so I combined all of our favorites for you. If you have any favorites not listed, please leave a comment. I would love to hear them!
January-March– This is considered low season in the valley. You can take advantage of low room rates and a more personal experience at the wineries during this time frame.
March- May- Spring is in full bloom. Take advantage of the hikes and the less crowded wineries.
June-July– During these two months, you will see vines full of grapes that are on their way to being harvested. It does get pretty warm this time of year, but I love seeing the vines lush with grapes.
Late August-September– Depending on weather, the end of August is when the grapes start to be harvested! A lot of action is happening at the vineyards during this time frame. The process of picking, soaking, crushing, etc is being completed which makes this one of the most popular times for people to visit Napa. Hotels will be at their highest this time of year.
September-November– The Fall Foliage is downright breathtaking in the Valley during this time frame. Drew and I got to experience it when we visited Napa for part of our honeymoon 9 years ago. Be sure to ride the gondola to get the full experience.
The Andaz (Downtown Napa)– We have stayed at the Andaz our last two trips and have absolutely loved our stay. It is a beautiful location, the rooms are very spacious and the restaurant located in the hotel is fabulous. Their concierge team is extremely helpful in getting your winery appointments, transportation etc so that your day in Napa is the best experience. If you love a craft cocktail, the bar located inside the hotel is exceptional too!
Other Suggestions– Homeaway or Airbnb for great houses in the actual valley.
One of the most asked questions I got was what is the best way to get two and from vineyards.
Uber– There are Uber’s everywhere in Napa. This is the most cost efficient way if you are not visiting vineyards deep into the valley. We did this traveling to Yountville and on our first day when we had just two wineries on our list.
Limo/SUV– If you have a larger party, this is definitely the way to go! The fees usually range from $75-$150 per hour with a 5-6 hour minimum. You will need at least 6 hours to visit 4 wineries and have lunch. There are quite a few smaller companies that I feel makes the experience even better, because of the knowledge they have of Napa. Bryan Sales (our fav!), David Locke, and Sammy Davis are three we had recommended to us.
There are over 500 vineyards located in Napa Valley. It can get pretty overwhelming when trying to pick which ones to visit. We usually start with the region of wines we are fond of and then researching each vineyard in that area. Also ask around! Explain to your driver what wines you are fond of and they will lead you in the right direction. We have visited just over 20 wineries over the years and have found that the tastings have ranged from $35-$60. Most vineyards also allow people to share a tasting. We typically got to try 5 wines at each tasting.
DRESS Yumi Kim
Honig Winery– We fell in love with Honig winery when Drew and I went two years ago. It came as a recommendation from our hotel, and we could not have been more happy with our visit. I took my mom there because I knew they were well known for their Sauvignon Blancs, but to my surprise, she loved the reds like me! If you visit, you must try the Vyborny and Bartolluci (if you can get your hands on the 2014 snatch it up!)
Caymus– Caymus has always been one of my favorite wines, so it was at the top of my list to visit on this trip. The grounds are absolutely gorgeous! Lush, tropical with beautiful wine tasting sitting areas. The Caymus Cabernet Reserve was absolutely delicious and we also loved the daughter of Caymus’s Emmolo Sauvignon blanc.
PlumpJack– While this winery is not the fanciest, the wine makes up for it. The Merlot and Cab both are hands down two of our favorite reds. This is our favorite spot to grab a glass and go to the back sitting area and relax.
Sterling– another spectacular winery, with wines to match. Their tour was one of our favorites years ago, and we still talk about it today.
Beringer– This property is stunning, as you can see in the picture above. The grounds are also HUGE and so much to do. You can grab a glass of wine at the tasting room and roam the grounds. You can also book a tour or a wine and cheese pairing for a more formal experience.
Hall– This came as a recommendation from our driver and we really loved the wines we tasted here. The winery is more contemporary and you have to try the Jack’s Masterpiece that the CEO, creates once a year. The wine label is a picture that his 18 month old son painted!
Castello di Amoroso- This winery is a literal castle! It took 15 years for it to be constructed and it is everything you can expect an Italian castle to be. While the wines were not my favorite, the experience gets a 10/10!
Other Notable Wineries- Opus One, Stags Leap, Chimney Rock, Peju, Cakebread and Frogs Leap
Auberge du Soleil– Drew and I visited this restaurant two years ago and we could not decide if the view or the food was better. This resort is OUTstanding and the food at the restaurant is just as good. It is a bit pricy for lunch, but well worth the experience.
DRESS Wayf | BAG Chloe | SANDALS Valentino
Celadon– Another tried and true favorite of ours. It is a farm to table type restaurant and the food is delicious. I love the outside seating area that has fireplaces and beautiful greenery. Definitely one of our favorite meals in Napa.
Oenotri– If you are looking for great service, delicious pizza and salads, look no further. We were recommended this spot by numerous locals in Napa and it did not disappoint. We were told to get the Mushroom pizza, but it was not on the menu that night so be sure to try that one out if it is available.
Bouchon Bakery– I mentioned this bakery on THIS post, but I had to include it in my guide as well. The breads are amazing, the macaroons are delicious and the actual bakery is cute as a button.
Gott’s Roadside- Amazing burgers and a great place for lunch! The lines can get long around lunch time, but worth the wait!
Another Notable Restaurants– Rutherford Grill, R&D Kitchen, Pasta Prego, Bottega (Yountville), French Laundry(THE Thomas Keller’s famous restaurant)
I hope this guide is helping when planning your trip to Napa. Again if you have any other favorites or recommendations, please let me a comment! Also if you have any other questions, please let me know, I am happy to help!