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A Guide to: Napa & Sonoma Valley

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Guide to: Napa & Sonoma Valley

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redgrapes

The best way to enjoy your visit to the northern California Wine Country is to stay there at least for one night. You could do a bus excursion from San Francisco, or drive up there for a day trip, but you’ll go back feeling like you didn’t do enough and want more.  If you can stay one or perhaps two nights, it will be enough time for you to do tastings at least in some of the most known wineries, explore the local restaurants and enjoy your wine without worrying about driving.

I would recommend starting your trip with a tour in one of the wineries. Robert Mondavi has an excellent tour, where they’ll give you a background about the Napa region and take you through the vines (and even let you taste the grapes directly from the vines!). The end of the tour includes a 5 wine tasting, with tips on the wine drinking etiquette, and you’ll enjoy every glass of wine much more after that lesson.

Other wineries that can’t be missed:

Sterling – Amazing views to the valley, and their building has a very unique architecture. You’ll do the tasting as you tour the building, which I thought was much more pleasant as I could taste each wine calmly and in a different environment. Their wine is very good too 😉

Beringer – Not so much for the wine, but their vineyard is so famous and with so much history that it’s worth the visit. Among others, the film ‘A walk in the clouds’ was filmed iDSCN1547n their vineyard.

Kendall Jackson – Tasting is done in a beautiful house, and they have a nice area for pic nics.

There are many other wineries in the area that are worth visiting, and you should follow your preference: visit your favorite wineries or stop by the ones that look nice from the ouside while you’re driving on the Silverado Road or on the main road;  every single one will be remarkable whther it’s for the wine, the view, or the people.

Besides visiting wineries, the cities of Napa, Sonoma and the ones surrounding them have great restaurants and some shopping areas.

Driving north through Napa’s main road, St Helena has a very cute downtown area with art galleries, kitchen stores wine-related shops. In downtown Sonoma, there’s a great place for breakfast/brunch – Sunflower Cafe (with kind of a hidden garden/outdoor seating area in the back), some good chocolate and ice cream stores, and local arts & crafts shops.

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