To me, Napa Valley is everything. It is fine wine and mind-blowing food. It is luxurious hotels with relaxing couple massages. It is an awe-inspiring countryside with miles and miles of beautiful vineyards.
But most of all, it is where I said yes to spending the rest of my life with my best friend and where we will return to celebrate the engagement of my dreams for many years to come.
Even if you don’t come away from your Napa weekend with a ring, spending two or three nights in the Valley is well worth the trip.
Here are my top recommendations for where to stay, eat and drink in my new favorite place on earth.
Between the location, ambiance and service at Hotel Yountville, I was pretty sure I had died and gone to heaven. Each room has its own fireplace and they hold private wine tastings in their lobby. But they are also walking distance to several wineries and some of the best restaurants in the area. That’s not to mention the couples massage in their spa and their attention to detail as they laid out rose petals and champagne on our engagement night. It truly was the most romantic setting for our special day.
Speaking of our special day, Schweiger Vineyard up the road in St. Helena was at the heart of it. Nestled in the rolling hills of Spring Mountain, this small family-run vineyard was the perfect place for Kushan to get on one knee. Not only was the wine some of the best I’ve ever tasted, but the staff was so attentive and made sure that we had memories of our engagement that would last a lifetime.
If you are looking for a vineyard where you’ll get an authentic Napa experience without the throngs of tourists and crowds, this is the place for you.
High on love and maybe a little (ok a lot) of bubbly, bae and I had the meal of a lifetime at Bottega to mark the first night of the rest of our lives.
The service was unparalleled and the food bordered on Michelin quality.
Don’t miss the polenta – it is out of this world!
The next day, we were off to celebrate some more with tastings and vineyard tours.
I would highly recommend beginning your tours at O’Brien Estate Winery (especially if you’re a novice like me). They truly take the time to walk you through a tasting. They explain everything from how the wine is made to what foods pair best with each bottle.
Best of all they’re super low-key and down-to-earth about the entire experience. Though you can tell they’re renown experts, they allow you to experience the wine in whatever way best suites you.
Believe me, spending some time with them at the beginning of your day will go far in knowing what the heck you’re doing later.
By now, it’s probably pretty clear that I prefer the less touristy, more boutique wineries. Frog’s Leap is just that. The property is a quaint, quiet colonial style estate set quite a bit off the main drag. I could have spent hours sitting along the edge of this vineyard soaking in the sun and the Riesling.
After a day of tastings, sometimes all you need is some pizza to sop it all up. But don’t get me wrong, Redd Wood is anything but “just some pizza.” Like most restaurants in the area, they take their food seriously. This place was trendy, modern and served up some next level wings and pizza.
If you are looking to hit up some of the more touristy attractions, I would recommend Domaine Chandon and Domaine Carneros. Despite the crowds, their grounds were beautiful and their wine was spectacular.
Napa will forever hold a place in my heart. It was setting for the happiest weekend of my life and from this day forward visiting (hell even just reminiscing about) Napa Valley will always fill my heart with warmth.