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First trip to Wine Country...this November

Memphis
3 posts
2 reviews
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First trip to Wine Country...this November

Hi everyone,

My husband and I are doing our first trip to San Francisco/Wine Country this November. I have reserved roughly three days/nights in our itinerary (thinking like wed-sat). We are young and newly married and don't know much about the area at all. I don't really have a preference between Napa, Sonoma, etc, but would like to stay somewhere unique in a good location for first time visitors. Price is flexible, but ideally under $300 a night. Our goal is to get a nice first look at the area so when we make future trips we have a better idea of where we want to go/what we like to do. We are interested in both vineyard tastings and enjoying tasting rooms in whichever town/city we stay.

Also looking for vineyard/ tour/driver suggestions - I love red wine of almost any variety, pinor nior is a current favorite but would love to try new grapes.

Any ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Mentioned in this post
San Francisco
San Francisco
California
Napa
Napa
Napa Valley, CA
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
Dallas, Texas
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374 posts
85 reviews
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1. Re: First trip to Wine Country...this November

You are going to love it!

Because there are so many wineries in Napa Valley, we have yet to make it over to Sanoma. There are more wineries, dining options, hotels, and shopping in Napa Valley.

If there are any wineries you know you'll want to visit, double check their websites to see if you need to make an appointment for a tour or tasting (no need to do tours everywhere, though -- they take up quite a bit of time, can get repetitive, and not all tours are created equal). I would suggest trying not to schedule things too close together, if possible. Our tours have always lasted longer (or we have just stayed longer) than we originally planned, so if we have appointments close to one another, we felt rushed.

Robert Mondavi does a good tour, which is a good intro into the wine making process and the history of the valley. Another good intro is the Napa Valley Wine Train. We did the train on our first trip and chose one of the tour combinations. We had a private tour of a winery, and learned a lot, then met back up with the train after, and still had plenty of time to do other wineries.

Another fun tour is the Castello de Amorosa (www.castellodiamorosa.com/). Their tours are especially unique since it's a castle/winery tour.

Might also give Schramsberg a try (www.schramsberg.com). They are famous for their sparkling wines and caves. The tour goes into the caves, where you get to taste a number of their wines. Many people in the valley told us this was one of their favorite tours, and we really enjoyed it. As with Mondavi and the castle, you do have to book this tour ahead of time.

Other places with a historical significance are Chateau Montelena and Stag's Leap (not Stags' Leap, which is not affiliated). Both of these wineries won the 1976 Judgment of Paris.

Here are some other places that we really enjoyed: Caymus, ZD, Frank Family Vineyards, Franciscan, and Silver Oak. But as anyone will tell you, there are literally hundreds of options in Napa Valley, so it's hard to go wrong. You don't even need to plan all of them ahead of time -- just go and start adventuring! Every place and person can give you great suggestions of other wineries to visit.

If you're up in the St. Helena area around lunch, I highly recommend stopping by Gott's. They make great hamburgers! Also V. Sattui Winery has a good little food store and picnic area -- and no need to visit the winery to go there.

I know I type a lot! Hope it helps some! Let me know if you have any other questions, and I hope you guys have a great time!

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Napa Valley
Napa Valley
California
Napa Valley Wine Train
Napa Valley Wine Train
2,996 Reviews
Napa, CA
Chateau Montelena
Chateau Montelena
566 Reviews
Calistoga, CA
Frank Family Vineyards
Frank Family Vineyards
285 Reviews
Calistoga, CA
St. Helena
St. Helena
Napa Valley, CA
V. Sattui Winery
V. Sattui Winery
1,713 Reviews
St. Helena, CA
florida
Level Contributor
79 posts
5 reviews
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2. Re: First trip to Wine Country...this November

i did my first trip to napa/ san fran last july and LOVED it. I would recommend checking out the petit logis as far as hotels go. its a small quaint inn in yountville and its walking distance to alot of amazing resturants. we loved it! As far as wineries go, there are sooooo many. one of my faves was round pond for the scenery there..it was simply gorgeous! enjoy!!!

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Yountville
Yountville
Napa Valley, CA
Lucas, Texas
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2 posts
199 reviews
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3. Re: First trip to Wine Country...this November

My wife and I have gone to Napa 1-3x year for 20+ years, whether living in NJ, Co or CA. Would recommend lodging in Yountville if the budget permits (Villagio, Vintage Inn, Napa Vly Lodge and others) as there are countless restaurants within walking distance so you can leave your car behind and continue a day of imbibing. Serveral BnBs as well, which we haven't tried in town.

Montelena does some excellent tastings, as do many places in the Valley. If you're still learning about wine Franciscan offers several classes that offer either personal wine blending, the difference between different wine glasses, etc that can have a PROFOUND impact on how you perceive wine. 15 years after taking some of these classes I still recall how they shaped our approach to wine.

Please make sure that you "discover" some small wineries off-the-beaten-path, and that you visit either Spring or Howell Mountains, only 5 mins from the Valley floor, as their wineries offer a dramatically different grape (and view) than the napa valley floor properties.

Most of all, ENJOY!

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Napa
Napa
Napa Valley, CA
Yountville
Yountville
Napa Valley, CA
Birmingham, AL
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119 posts
46 reviews
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4. Re: First trip to Wine Country...this November

Build some time into your schedule one afternoon to drop into some tasting rooms. We enjoy driving the Silverado Trail and stopping at wineries that look interesting. It's a great way to discover new wines.

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Silverado Resort and Spa
Silverado Resort and Spa
4,184 Reviews
Napa, CA
5. Re: First trip to Wine Country...this November

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