I spent this past weekend in Napa/Sonoma with my family to celebrate my parents 25th anniversary! Had such a nice weekend, thought I would share my itinerary in case others are looking to make a day or weekend trip out there for wine tasting! Where to eat and drink (Bottega, Gabrielle, and Hall are my favorites!), as well as where to avoid. 🙂
Where we stayed:
We decided to rent an Airbnb this trip, in the past we stayed at hotels in the area, but I preferred the Airbnb route much more. Nicer place, better location, more space than a hotel, and just gives you and your family/friends room to hang out.
- Gabrielle Collection – love
- the jist: great food/wine pairing, highly recommend!
- $35/tasting, comes with food and wine pairing! The small bites here are delicious, the wine is amazing, the decor is adorable, one of my favorite places. Highly recommend. Their tasting toom is in Downtown Napa (not attached the the vineyard which is what you would typically expect), unfortunately their vineyard was hit really hard by the earthquake 2 years ago so they haven’t been able to host any tastings on their property. They just opened this downtown location to the public on Friday. Make a reservation.
- Miner Family Winery – eh
- the jist: Good wine, mediocre experience for walk in tasting option
- $25/tasting, they comp your tastings if you purchase some dollar amount of wine. Nothing bad regarding the experience here, just nothing special. (I will note – there are nicer wine tastings you can get here like a wine cave tasting, which I am sure would be awesome, but you have to book in advance. We just walked in, so my blurb is strictly regarding the walk in tasting) You walk up to the 2nd story of their building where they do the tastings, big room with a large bar and a few stand up tables. They did have 2 large tables on the patio that is a nice place to sit if the weather is nice. You can walk in.
- Hall Vineyard – love
- the jist: great placer for tour + tasting – beautiful grounds and great wine
- Not sure the price on this one, but it is one you will want to book in advance if you would like to do the tour + tasting (which I would suggest). The tour is short and sweet (I hate when places drag you along for 2 hours when you really just came to drink). Beautiful gardens and vineyard and the wine here was my favorite form the entire weekend. If you like your red wine, you need to come here. If you don’t want to do the tour, you can walk into their tasting room.
- note – there are 2 Hall vineyards, be sure you go to the right one.
- Cakebread – eh
- the jist: great wine, but experience isn’t anything special
- not sure the price for the tasting here again, but you need a reservation to come here, no walk ins accecpted. I am a fan of cakebread wine, so I knew going in I would like their wine, but if you already know you like their wine I wouldn’t say coming here should be a priority. Their tastings are held in this large barn-esque building on their property. No food pairing, nothing too special.
- Grgich Hills – no
- the jist: good wine, but don’t bother
- 3 tasting options: $25, $45 (2 white, 2 red, 1 desert wine), and $60 if you want the all red tasting. If you buy x amount of wine they will credit your tastings, but this isn’t the case for the most expensive tasting. This tasting takes place on their property, right across the street from Cakebread. Nothing special about the venue/views/experience. You just stand at the bar and grab a few quick tastings then make your way out. Don’t need a reservation.
- St. Supery – love
- the jist: good wine, comfortable ambiance
- I am a member here, so not sure about the tasting price (members are free, if you like their wine, would suggest joining!). The grounds here are absolutely beautiful, they highlight everything with a bright green which looks great. Chanel actually bought this vineyard last year, which is a cool fun fact. They do offer a special food/wine experience but you have to book that in advance. They recently just required everyone to book an appointment in advance, so be sure to hop on that if you want to make it here. Great spot to hang out on their patio and enjoy your wine tasting on a nice day, they are also dog friendly so feel free to bring the pup!
Others: If you are in Sonoma, go to Cline and then Jacuzzi is right across the street – free tastings at both, and their wines are on the more affordable end. Robert Mondavi – good wine, just an ok experience. Hess – cool experience, they have a huge art museum on the property you can walk through before wine tasting.
Lunch – Bottega
LOVE this place. This is a sister restaurant to Coqueta in the city, which is one of my favorite restaurants, and Botegga is just as amazing. The ambiance is Coqueta-esque for those who have been there, for those who haven’t I would describe it as upscale rustic – think fire pits and large couch seats, with burnt orange and brown being the main color theme. I would describe the cuisine as Spanish Italian. To give you a better idea what the heck that means, this is what we ordered: burrata appetizer (obviously), truffle burger, branzino, risotto special, their pasta special, cauliflower side dish. 100% get the burger and the cauliflower. I would try and make a reservation.
Dinner – Cafe La Haye
Really cute, intimate dinner spot in downtown Sonoma. Small restaurant – probably have about 10-12 tables in the entire place, which gives this spot a quaint vibe. Really good food, nothing I am per say dying to go back for, but all in all a nice spot I would recommend. They are more farm-to-table, so smaller menu – 3-5 options and would be considered American/Italian cuisine. Need reservation.
Lunch – Don Giovanni’s
Really delicious Italian spot located pretty centrally to a good number of the vineyards in Napa. Also a good dinner spot as well. Friendly/welcoming staff, nice ambiance (more traditional not on trendy side), and their food is bomb.
Dinner – Mustard’s Grill
Do not come here. So this place has a lot of hype for the Napa Valley food scene – supposed to be one of places everyone recommends, but I will save y’all by saying plz don’t waste your time/money by going here, there are so many good restaurants in this area. Food was room temperature and nothing special, American cuisine, ambiance/decor very sub par, our waiter was very nice but that’s about all this place has going for it.
Others: they have a Dean & DeLuca (market) where you can pick up some snacks/sandwiches and eat by the tables outside, there is also a Bouchon across the street from Bottega I wanted to try.