If you’re looking for a great romance getaway with your gal, it’s hard to beat a trip through Napa Valley Wine Country. Just an hour in the car north of San Francisco, Napa Valley is flanked by purple mountains to the west and sprawling countryside as far as the eye can see to the east. Rolling hills and vineyards provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway and a wining, dining experience of a lifetime. You will not only find wines but also special locally produced honeys, olive oils and fruit preserves grown in this fertile valley. By visiting the wineries you not only get to taste new and familiar wines but you can also sample some of the special vintner’s reserve which cannot be found anywhere else.
The city of Napa is small and unassuming, but just travel the Napa Vallejo highway and you’ll run into some of the most beautiful vineyards and grounds that you will find anywhere. Elegant old world buildings dot the landscape and promise a unique experience behind every door.
Most vineyards provide food and elegant patios and tasting rooms. You will also find elaborate gift shops and private party facilities hosting weddings on manicured lawns.
(Nominal tasting fees usually apply). You can follow this map to see the map of vineyards and wineries that the Napa Valley has to offer:
Domaine Chandon is a beautiful first stop. An oak barrel motif opens to a beautiful patio with elegant tables under canvas umbrellas. There is a formal dining room that serves haute cuisine that is complimented by Chandon sparkling wines and other fine vintages. Domaine Chandon is as romantic and upscale as a winery can be.
Opus One is yet another imposing and grand structure which is definitely an upscale extravaganza of architecture and scale. It is an experience for all of your senses and will not disappoint. Whether romance, fine dining, or fine wines are on your agenda, explore the grounds and enjoy all the good things that life has to offer.
Enjoy a glass of “Marilyn Merlot” at the Napa Wine Company. The reds are wonderful and the Napa Wine Co. cabernet is rich and delicious. Vinum 2003 Red Dirt, Red is featured this month along with a selection of Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignon. Visit the website to find featured events which include visiting chef’s and special wine tasting events.
Hess Collection is off the beaten path but well worth the detour! This is more than just a winery. Fine dining and an art gallery await the palette conscious visitor. Make an appointment to sit at the Chef’s table and be pampered by fine cuisine and elegant artsy atmosphere. The Hess Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Artezin Zinfandel are just a few of the fine vintages that will find here.
A bit more casual and relaxed is the Stag’s Leap Wine cellars. A fine selection of reds and whites can be found here surrounded by vineyards and mountains. Sit under the sun and drink in the country life.
This next winery offers quite an experience for and Godfather film aficionado. Niebaum Coppola not only offers fine wines but a museum of memorabilia from the famous movie. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed as you sit outside on the patio and snack and sip on the comfortable grounds. There is a large shop and grounds to explore for hours. Spend time inside the Italianate style home and relive your favorite Godfather movie moments. Reds are especially good here.
St. Supery is a name with which you may be familiar. An elegant white house welcomes you to an easy atmosphere of food and wines. This winery offers shops and art for sale and a homey relaxed atmosphere in which to sip your favorite red or white.
Who says that you can’t judge a book by its cover? The Paraduxx Winery Duckhorn Wine Company is known for its beautifully painted labels. The new winery, completed in March 2005, is a casual farm-like setting with a twist. Taste proprietary red blend and feel like a vintner on the open grounds.
Further north, try Araujo Estate. Not only will you find wines but locally produced grappa, honey and olive oils. Araujo is a tasters paradise of red and white wines.
A must see is the huge Robert Mondavi Winery. Visit a vineyard of epic proportion that provides grapes to many of your favorite labels. Learn about the extraordinary workings of a winery and what it is that makes wine so special.
Whether you are a true wine connoisseur or simply want to enjoy the breathtaking Napa Valley and all of its riches, consider a visit to seductive wine country.