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Trip List by NapaValleyLocal

72 Hours in Napa Valley

3 Nov 2009  I live here and I'm a profession vacation planner (I do this for a living!)
4.0 of 5 stars based on 7 votes

My recommendations for how to spend 3 days in the Napa Valley.

  • 1. Napa Valley Bike Tours
    Napa Valley Bike Tours, Yountville, Napa Valley

    Day One: Entrust one of your days to Napa Valley Bike Tours. They are my go-to resource when friends and family come to visit. They have great local Tour Guides who lead small groups (like 10-15 at most) on a casual biking tour of the wineries. I say casual because I know that most of the friends & family I have sent on tour with them are occasional bikers, at best - and they always have a blast. They stop at 3-4 boutique wineries - the type you won't find on your own - and they even serve a nice picnic lunch at one of the vineyards. This is a no-brainer way to spend one of your days in the valley without having to do virtually any planning at all!

  • 2. The Hess Collection
    The Hess Collection Winery & Art Museum, Napa, Napa Valley

    Day Two: This is a great winery to start the day with. Take the complimentary tour offered at 10:30 a.m. The winery is tucked up in the hills, well off the valley floor. The property is host to an amazing art collection and they even offer self-guided iPod audio tours! Finish with a tasting and then be sure to return to the valley floor via Oakville Grade, which offers a stunning view!

  • 3. Oakville Grocery
    Oakville Grocery, Oakville, Napa Valley

    Day Two: After driving down Oakville Grade, you'll be conveniently close to Oakville Grocery. This is a great place to pick up deli sandwiches to go (be prepared to wait during the lunch rush, especially on weekends). It's also a great place to shop for exotic culinary gifts for your non-wine drinking friends back home. Get your lunch to go and then make the short (15 min) drive to O'Brien Estate Winery for a picnic among the vineyards (see #4).

  • 4. O'Brien Estate Winery
    O'Brien Estate Winery, Napa, Napa Valley

    Day Two: O'Brien is a hidden gem and one of the most romantic vineyards in the valley. It is very important that you call ahead to make a tour/tasting appointment, and especially important that you get the okay to enjoy lunch at one of their picnic tables. This is a tiny winery and a really special setting. If you plan to include a picnic lunch at O'Brien Estate in your itinerary, please consider purchasing wine from your gracious hosts, Barb & Bart O'Brien. They have a romantic story to share, they produce exceptional wine and their vineyards are such a special place to visit.

  • 5. Great Olive Tours

    Day Two: After lunch, you should meet up with Carol Ainsworth of Great Olive Tours. Carol has special relationships with many boutique-label olive oil producers and can take you on a tour of these beautiful estates and teach you about the process of producing high quality olive oils. It's a nice change from wine tasting and you'll likely find a scrumptious bottle of olive oil that you can't go home without!

  • 6. Schramsberg Vineyards
    Schramsberg Vineyards, Calistoga, Napa Valley

    Day Three: Start the day by taking the scenic drive up the Silverado Trail to Calistoga. Arrive at Schramsberg Vineyards for what is arguably one of the best tours in the Napa Valley (Note: these tours sell out early; make an appointment well in advance of your visit; don't forget to enlist the help of your hotel concierge!).

  • 7. Ca'toga Galleria D'Arte
    Ca'toga Galleria D'Arte, Calistoga, Napa Valley

    Day Three: This is artist Carlo Marchiori whimsical retreat. You don't have to be an art-enthusiast to totally appreciate this experience. Each room is like a whole new world, with enchanting murals that inspire and delight. A favorite is the "Birdcage Room," which is painted to create the illusion that the occupant is inside a birdcage, looking out from the viewpoint of the bird. A really fun stop, and a great way to break up a day of wine tasting!

  • 8. Palisades Market

    Day Three: Great local deli located at 1506 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA. This is a great place to pick up lunch "to go" for another picnic at a nearby winery.

  • 9. Envy Wines
    Envy Wines, Calistoga, Napa Valley

    Day Three: Great wine and a gorgeous setting for a wine country picnic. Again, call ahead to make a tasting appointment and be sure to get the okay to picnic on their grounds.

  • 10. Frank Family Vineyards
    Frank Family Vineyards, Calistoga, Napa Valley

    Day Three: This is a nice post-lunch stop in Calistoga for a final wine-tasting fix. Fantastic wines and a welcoming tasting room staff will make you right at home.

  • 11. Bouchon
    Bouchon, Yountville, Napa Valley

    This is a fun and bustling restaurant and it's my top pick among the abundant choices for French bistros. Reserve well in advance; in many cases, Yountville's restaurants book up more than 2 weeks in advance.

  • 12. Bottega Napa Valley
    Bottega Napa Valley, Yountville, Napa Valley

    Celebrity Chef aside, this restaurant serves great food and the rustic Italian menu is a welcome change from the abundance of French bistros in Yountville. Reserve well in advance; in many cases, Yountville's restaurants book up more than 2 weeks in advance.

  • 13. Redd
    Redd, Yountville, Napa Valley

    This is a great restaurant for a special occassion. If you're looking to "do it up" one night, this is your chance (go with the tasting menu). The scene is hip, but not overly stuffy. You'll see an array of diners wearing jackets, as well as many wearing jeans. Reserve well in advance; in many cases, Yountville's restaurants book up more than 2 weeks in advance.