Two weekends ago one of my girlfriend's and I decided to spend a few days in Wine Country to continue her birthday celebration. Now for those of you who may not be familiar wine country is located in the northern Bay Area and is known worldwide as a premier wine-growing region.
HOW TO GET THERE
We flew in from Los Angeles to San Francisco and rented a car through Turo as we found it to be less expensive than using a car rental company. Although we flew into San Francisco we planned for 90% of our trip to be spent between Napa and Sonoma. Once we picked up our rental car for the weekend we did some brief sightseeing nearby, we stopped at The Painted Ladies (remember the iconic houses on the opening of the hit TV show, "Full House"), we visited the neighborhood of Fillmore where you can see beautiful Black art and "Black Lives Matter" painted on the street, and then we spontaneously decided to stop at Johnny Doughnuts and I'm so glad we did! The Sweet Potato galzed doughnut and their Crodough were DELICIOUS (like melt in your mouth good) !
WHERE TO STAY
As you may have heard (or guessed), Napa and Sonoma are on the expensive side however, here is a short list of places to stay if you're watching the budget or deciding to splurge!
Budget Friendly: Hampton Inn and Suites will do the job if you're looking for a clean hotel room to rest your head and still be close to everything between Napa & Sonoma. The location is excellent for the price!
Luxe on a Budget: Andaz Napa has a luxe vibe, a super cute roof top and bar, and walking distance to many tasting rooms, eateries, and boutique shops.
Splurge Worthy: Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa is a boutique hotel with luxury digs. Caslitstoga offers a few different room options (keep in mind the camper room is the only pet friendly room incase you want to bring your pooch along), they also have a mineral pool and spa!
Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Tasting
I visited wine country while we're still technically in a Pandemic (because I mean the rest of the world seems to be operating like nothing ever happened), so my friend and I really had to pre plan where we would go since only certain tasting rooms were open and a lot of vineyard tours were limited so we forwent those.
- Housely this was our first stop once we settled into our abode in Napa. The two young men who worked there (I wish I could remember their names) really made the visit, they were so fun, knowledgeable, and helped us choose our next stop - which was not wine related but made since once I mentioned I love tequila. The tasting at Housely started at $20 , I would rate the wine a 6/10. It was a fun stop for us since Tamera Mowry- Housely's family owns this winery. ** I did their $25 tasting ** this was their standard tasting option
- Honorable Mention - Gran Electrica is a Mexican restaurant that offers a tequila tasting and even has a Mezcal only tasting if thats what you're into like I am. The ceviche was good as well as the tacos, the rice and beans not so much, the cocktails were great as well. It's a nice spot to stop at if you're craving lunch in between tastings.
- Three Fat Guys is a casual, cute, laid back tasting room (wine tours are not available at the moment due to COVID). There is seating and service available to you outside and inside, we sat outdoors as it was a beautiful day. Their Chardonay was delicious and one of my favorites out of the tasting. There is also a super cute artisan market next door where you can get cheese, crackers, spreads, and snacks - the roasted red pepper spread was a hit! If you're a Green Bay Packers fan the winery is owned by 3 former teammates of the Green Bay Packers. ** Their wine tasting is $30/pp **
- Domaine Carneros was on my list of "Musts", if you've followed me on Instagram over the years you know that I am a champagne enthusiast. If you love champagne or a breath taking ambiance than you must visit Domaine Carneros during you visit to wine country. You can enjoy a tasting outdoors and if capturing memories and content is your thing then this is the place! The service is also amazing! ** I did the Sparkling Grande Tasting, that was $60 **
- Buena Vista Winery was such a fun winery to visit, there's so much history there and the staff were beyond kind to us. It is one of the oldest wineries and has beautiful grounds. **Their tasting starts at $25/pp **
- Kieu Hoang Winery is a beautiful, quaint winery. At first our experience wasn't the best when we arrived however, toward the end of our time spent at Kieu Hoang one of their staff made sure my friends and I had the best time by pouring us a complimentary bottle of champagne and taking our pictures out in the vineyards and beautiful wrap around porch out back! I will say I wasn't a fan of their wine but I enjoyed the sparkling champagne they provided at the end to make up for the rocky start and to celebrate my friend's birthday. ** I believe this tasting was about $30/pp **
Before leaving Napa I had to make sure I stopped at Brown Estate, although it wasn't open for tasting I wanted to make sure I picked up a bottle to take home. Brown Estate is a Black owned winery in Napa, the first and only Black owned estate winery in Napa to be exact. I purchased "Chaos Theory" which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel (priced at $40).
I also made a stop at Scribe Winery to purchase two bottles. I first heard of Scribe Winey through Ashley Kane, who I absolutely adore. Scribe's vineyard and grounds are absolutely gorgeous, like I want a membership so I can go back and enjoy it ( you have to have a membership to enjoy a tasting or picnic on the grounds during COVID). I purchased the Pinot Noir and the Pinot Rose for about $96 total.
Lastly, we booked a motorized bike tour with Pushpak Motors , I haven't laughed so hard from being on a bike before! John and Paul were amazing hosts and it was a time to remember for sure. On this bike tour is where we did wine tasting at Three Fat Guys, Please advise that your wine tasting is not included in the bike tour, this was something that we weren't aware of upfront.
I hope the next time I visit Napa which may be at the end of the year, that I will be able to have the full experience as if it were pre COVID. Have you been to Napa or plan on going soon? Let me know in the comment section!