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Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

Boston...
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Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

See Sonoma forum for the first part of this trip.

Day 1 Napa = Day 3 of trip: Coming out of Sonoma County, entered Napa Valley and stopped at Domaine Carneros for an excellent cheese plate and a sparkly tasting. On the terrace with amazing views of the vineyards. Highly recommend. Checked into La Residence. Also highly recommend. Look for my hotel review to be posted eventually if you'd like more info. Dinner at Mustards. Bartender amateurish (could not recommend a good cocktail with 209 gin, ended up with a martini with no vermouth). Food was good, worth a stop I guess, nothing bad, just nothing to write home about, IMHO.

Day 2: Breakfasts are included and very good at La Residence. Decided to start "at the top" and drove up to Calistoga; walked around there a bit. Drove down the Silverado trail for a while, then turned back over and had lunch at Taylor's Refresher in St Helena (the best one of the three). Had a delicious burger and expertly cooked fries and sat outside in the shade. Went to a tasting at V. Sattui. Really enjoyed the wine, bought a couple bottles, but the atmosphere felt very touristy and crowded. Like that winery in "Sideways" where the bus tours go. Still, the wine was good. (BTW, this was not the only place I purchase wine, I just wanted to mention that to emphasize that I wasn't being snooty about the wine, just the environment.) Would probably go back mid-week (this was Friday). Then we hit the pool at La Residence.

Had a sunset drink at Auberge du Soleil (just a glass of wine, very friendly yet still professional staff). Dinner at Bottega. Bottega was surprisingly excellent, given the somewhat Disney-esque vibe of the place, and the celebrity chef posing for photographs. I would definitely go back.

Day 3: After breakfast, went to Buffalo's shipping post. (Rip off. Box it and then check it onto your flight. Even with the baggage fees, it will be cheaper than shipping through this place.) Had a tour and tasting at Palmaz Winery. Super incredible grounds and tour, actually it was a private tour, not sure if they offer group tours, they try to keep things low key. Walked around downtown Napa (kinda pointless) and Yountville (my wife kept saying "CUTE"). Then had an early dinner at Bouchon (good bistro type food) before heading down to SFO for our red-eye.

Whew!

Napa, CA
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1. Re: Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

Sorry you thought Buffalo Shipping Post a rip off-- they are by far the best shipper in the Valley for wines over the counter. Costs are 60-70% LESS than at competing places (like the UPS store).

And you may have been shocked at what the airlines charge for overweight baggage-- a number of our guests have written and lamented not using a local shipper, given their overage fees (typically $80-200+ for a case or two of wine)

-The Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

Boston...
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2. Re: Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

WOW, I could not imagine other places being more expensive, but I'll take your word for it.

If we had checked in another bag (i.e., box of wine in this instance), it would have been $30, much less than the ~$100 for shipping it.

Napa, CA
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3. Re: Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

12 bottles of wine for $30?

Which airline?

We'd love to pass this on to our guests! :)

Boston...
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4. Re: Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

It is the normal baggage charge for extra luggage. You know, one bag, $20, second bag (or box), $30, third bag, $40, or whatever.

Don't quote me on this. I just remembered the airline flyer next to me checking in was intending to do this. I did not actually witness it, so maybe he did not succeed, but that sounded right.

Anyway, enough about the stupid wine-shipping! :-p That was not what this trip was about! :-)

New Jersey
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5. Re: Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

I have to agree with the OP in checking your wine with your luggage. Most airlines charge less than $20 for each checked in luggage; Southwest still allows 2 checked luggages for free for each traveler. The cost for the box with styro inserts is about $12. Fortunately and unfortunately for us, we purchased 3 cases of wine and had to 2-day air our third case for $100 since we just had too much luggage and boxes of wine to check in. If the weather around the country was cooler (say starting in November, I would have opted for ground shipping which would have been much cheaper).

Napa, CA
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6. Re: Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

Our reason for asking:

We had ONE additional bag last year, and it was overweight (but not nearly as heavy as a case of wine).

Cost us $85 for that ONE bag, plus some other nuisance fees.

Airline was Northwest.

So anyone else reading this thread, please do let us know if you've been able to get wine home for only $20-30 on your flight!

And our apologies to the OP for "hijacking" your thread. :)

-The Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

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7. Re: Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

On most airlines, your bag has to weigh 50 pounds or under. We found this out the hard way. American charged us $50 for our overweight (55 pound) bag, and had it been over 70 (IIRC), we would have had to repack it. In our case, we would have had two free bags per person - so one suitcase, and three cases of wine.

Managing wine cases at the airport and getting them around, though, just seems pointless without one of those specially designed wine wheelers.

Don't the wineries have clubs you can join to get the wines shipped?

Boston...
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8. Re: Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

Some states do not allow shipping of wine from the wineries. For info on this: http://www.freethegrapes.org/

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9. Re: Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

Sounds like a great time and you visited some of our favorite places. I'm glad you enjoyed Bottega and Domaine Carneros. :)

10. Re: Napa Sonoma TR--Napa part

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