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Things to do for non-drinkers

Atlanta, GA
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Things to do for non-drinkers

Hi, My husband and I are visiting Napa (Sat) and Sonoma (Sun) this coming weekend, for the first time. We will be driving up from the south bay.

We both are non-drinkers but want to visit the vineyards for scenery. Any recommendations on which wineries to visit and/or wine tours without tasting the wines? Any suggestions on other things to do? Thanks!

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Napa, CA
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1. Re: Things to do for non-drinkers


Are you staying for the night, or just driving in/out for the day?

(lots of options/things to do-- but they change substantially if you're staying overnight)

-The Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

Atlanta, GA
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2. Re: Things to do for non-drinkers

We will be staying overnight (Sat ) in Napa. I appreciate your response, thank you!

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3. Re: Things to do for non-drinkers

I would go on the Mondavi Signature tour as early as possible. It's a beautiful winery, and you're learning about the valley and winemaking. Then I would drive up to Calistoga, maybe stop at the Castello Di Amorosa just to see it. There is a Petrified Forest and an Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga. Clos Pegase has a lot of sculptures. The winery is designed by Michael Graves. Drive Silverado Trail on the way back to Napa - stop at Mumm for some sparkling.

There are a lot of other things to do in Napa Valley: biking, kayaking, horseback riding, segwaying, hiking, Wine Train.

Have a great trip!

united states
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4. Re: Things to do for non-drinkers

I didn't see a cross-post for Sonoma, so I'll just offer my suggestions here....

You didn't specify which part of Sonoma county you had in mind, but given that you'll only have a day I'm going to suggest that you consider keeping to Sonoma Valley and Carneros. It will be easy access from Napa and keep you within a reasonable area for your return trip to the south bay.

For scenic wineries, in Sonoma( town) Bartholemew Park and Buena Vista are the 2 I think of off the bat. Further up the Valley you have the regal-style places like Chateau St. Jean and Ledson, the Mission-style like St.Francis and the homestead-like places such as Arrowood. In Carneros, I think that Viansa is probably the first place that comes to mind for most folks. At any of these venues you will find lovely views of mountains or the valley or a combination thereof.

I would be remiss in not mentioning the vineyard tour at Benzinger, which is a tram tour that describes the biodynamic practices they use in their farming and wine production. A tasting is included, but you are under no obligation to partake.

At Viansa, Jacuzzi and BR Cohn you can taste olive oils in the same way that folks try wines. Each place is well known for their oils, so if you like that sort of thing it would be fun, I think.

If you are interested in California history you might enjoy the Mission Museum on the grounds of Cline's winery. They also have several ponds and an aviary. It,too, is a homestead-style property and the grounds are interesting to explore.

You could schedule a vineyard tour on horseback at Roche, if you wanted. I believe that a tasting is included in that price, but again, you are under no obligation to drink the wines.

Matanzas Creek winery, near Santa Rosa in the Bennett Valley area, is well known for their lavender fields and they make a line of spa-products created from their lavender as well as very nice wines.

If you are interested in art, a trip up to Paradise Ridge at the main facility would be a treat as there is an extensive sculpture garden on the property and if you visit the tasting room you will be wowed by the views of the valley.

Imagery winery has an extensive collection of wine label art which runs the gamut from uber contemporary to very classic. They commision the works for their labels and you can purchase prints of pieces you like.

A trip to Jack London State Park would provide a great opportunity to learn about the American icon and visit his homestead, the Beauty Ranch, as well as see vistas that inspired his writings.

There are bike tours, segway tours and even winery cave tours available around the valley, and if you like the "Peanuts" comics then you would love the Schulz museum in Santa Rosa.

Hopefully these suggestions will provide a base for your further research.

Napa, CA
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5. Re: Things to do for non-drinkers

If you want recommendations about Sonoma, you should ask on the Sonoma forum for ideas in addition to those from OFL.

Since you will be in Napa on a Saturday, you can take a very interesting tour at the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park. It's in a very scenic location and the docents there do an outstanding job of recreating an operating grist mill. The tours leave on the hour and cost $3 per person. You can even buy some of the milled products.

There are very few free winery tours anymore. At one time, there were many because the wineries were trying to convert America's soft drink and beer drinkers to a more refined way of life. Those days are over and wineries now charge for tours and tastings in order to manage the number of visitors they receive. The wines now are also much more expensive and giving away free samples does not make as much sense.

Clos Pegase used to have a daily complimentary tour without tasting but their website now states that there is a fee. So, that leaves Mumm as possibly the last major winery to have a free tour. It's at 10am daily.


Allen, TX
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6. Re: Things to do for non-drinkers

Olive Oil Tasting at Round Pond in Rutherford.

I'll 2nd the Geyser in Calistoga

Fresh Mozzerella at V. Sattui, best Deli in Napa.

Down towns of St. Helena, Napa, and Calistoga are all nice walks with tons of great shops and restaurants.

Oxbow Market in Napa

Charles Schultz museum in Santa Rosa

Armstrong National Park (Red Woods) in Gurnvylle

Hope you have a great time in the Valley.

Atlanta, GA
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7. Re: Things to do for non-drinkers

I greatly appreciate these extremely informative replies, THANK YOU!

8. Re: Things to do for non-drinkers

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