With there being so much to do on the West Coast, I wanted to be sure I dedicated one day of our trip to visit wine country – looking back I wish we had spent the night in Napa, but next time I’ll be sure to give myself more time to indulge. There were only two places we knew we wanted to try and left the rest up to spontaneity and recommendations from other vineyards.
We decided to rent a car overnight out of San Francisco so we could enjoy the entire day out in wine country without having to worry about getting back to the rental by 6 pm the same night. Pricing was just a tiny bit more to extend it, but I definitely recommend because by the time we ended at our last vineyard we were 2 hours outside of San Francisco!
I was so excited to have a full day for tastings we got up super early and headed straight out to Sonoma for breakfast. After some quick research I found this adorable café called Sunflower Caffé that had a pretty back patio which was shaded by bright yellow umbrellas and leafy vines hanging overhead. Dining tip – order a Champagne Lavender Mist mimosa which uses locally harvested lavender and smells like heaven.
^^Isn’t this just the most serene?!
Once we had a good base layer of food in our bellies we headed to our first winery in Sonoma County that did not require a reservation. Traveler tip – be sure to do your research ahead of time if you want to hit some of the more well known vineyards. This website is a great resource to look into particular Napa wineries collectively in one location: Napa Valley Wineries.
One of the highlights was a tasting room in Yountville by Girard Vineyards close to Stag’s Leap and several other well known wineries. This particular vineyard has tastings for members only and I was fortunate enough to have my uncle call ahead to get us a reservation a few weeks before. The town itself is quaint and picturesque, if we hadn’t just indulged on a large breakfast we would have gotten a bite to eat at Bouchon which is run by world renown chef – Thomas Keller. There are several other great restaurants as well as some lovely boutique shops, so if you can fit it into your trip I highly recommend it!
Midway through the west coast excursion, we stumbled across this adorable general store and serves all sorts of snacks, cheeses and charcuterie which is perfect for pairing with wine tastings. There’s also a bar for those of us that need something a little stronger than vino, decked out with taxidermy animals and worn street signage giving a heavy dive bar vibe.
I could write forever on the details of each winery we visited at, however all were extraordinary and slightly overwhelming at how many were within 2 minutes of each other, expanding over a massive radius of California. My best advice is to pick one or two that you are excited about and just let the rest fall into place!!
As I mentioned earlier, my uncle goes to Napa every year with his wife and knows some of the hidden treasures in the area and insisted that we end our day trip driving through the Russian River Valley. Along the cliffs overlooking the river emptying into the pacific there is a beautiful restaurant nestled underneath weathered pines and even though it may be slightly dated the view is absolutely breathtaking. River’s End has a weathered wooden bar when you initially walk in and has a beautiful wrap around deck outside with panoramic views of the valley and ocean. It is a bit of a trek back to San Francisco but well worth the drive, especially if you are planning on staying overnight.
My next post of my San Francisco trip coming soon, thanks for reading!! xx Brittany