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Dec 6, 2006 05:46 PM

Small winery recommendations/restaurant recommendations

Will be in Napa Valley this weekend. Am staying at Meadowood for the first two nights (conference) and the next two nights are open (thinking about Farmhouse Inn) Have booked Terra for Friday, eating at Meadowood (part of conference) Saturday, booked Farmhouse Inn Monday.
Have been to Napa a couple of times so have been to a number of wineries. We have found we really like finding the smaller wineries (i.e. Kaz, Elyse) and would like some feedback from Chowhounders on some of your favorites.
Also, any recommendations for dinner Sunday (and feedback on above choices) as well as lunch suggestions are appreciated.

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  1. There are a numbe of great small wineries in the north end of the valley which is where you will be. North of Calistoga there is Bennett Lane, Summers and Calistoga Cellars, all are small, family owned and excellent producers, especially like Bennett Lane. Just south of Calistoga on the Silverrado Trail is August Briggs, great wines, again, a family owned winery. Vincent Arroyo is another, although his wines are normally in high demand and he sometimes doesn't have a lot to taste, if he does it's more than worth it. Dutch Henry is also on the trail and produces very good wines.

    Have a great time and report back.

    1. Just a note that Kaz is in the Sonoma Valley, not Napa.

      Also, while I love the Farmhouse Inn, it is in the beautiful Russian River Valley in Sonoma County as well. That's quite a distance to drive from Napa Valley and you might want to shift your accommodations to somewhere closer.

      Post on the Monday night at The Farmhouse Inn -

      3 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Thanks so much for the recommendations.
        We are not set on Farmhouse and have only made dinner reservations so if anyone has ideas on a good place to stay otherwise, we are open. We have the first couple of nights paid for at Meadowood so just thought we would try somewhere else for a change for the last two. Totally open to suggestion.

        1. re: merbel

          This link has many past reports on food and wine in Russian River Valley -

          You might also want to search for the individual towns of Sebastopol, Forestville, Occidental, Freestone, Graton, Guerneville, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, and Bodega for many more ideas in and near Russian River Valley.

          I've not stayed at the inn myself, but why not consider lodging at The Farmhouse Inn, if you're dining there?

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            That was our tentative plan. Two nights in Napa and then to the Inn with dinner one of those nights...

      2. Also, how long a drive over to Farmhouse and can anyone give recommendations for wineries over there should we make the trek?

        2 Replies
        1. re: merbel

          I have to tell you that I think Farmhosue was overrated. the staff was rude and food was overpriced and not as good as I anticipated. Also, wine list very expensive, nothing really under $60. Also, the Inn is kind of out by itself and rooms are not updated...depends on style of inn you like. Maybe you'd consider dining at Cyrus in Healdsburg and stay at Hotel Healdsburg or Les Mars Hotel...then you can walk to a bunch of restaurants and wineries? Fabulous quaint little town.

          1. re: ljero

            I disagree. I've dined at the Farmhouse many times and always have had a fantastic meal. But the wine list is what really impresses me. There's lots of amazing stuff you don't see everywhere, and, very reasonable priced - a lot is at only 2X mark up, not the standard 3X or more you see at many find dining establishments, Cyrus included (good luck finding something under $100 on the that list). It's a huge list for such a small restaurant. I just looked on their website, and wine list posted must have had at least 100 wines under $50. I don't know about lodging, I've never stayed there but the restaurant if fabulous and worth a trip!

        2. For wine tasting, my first choice would be Karl Lawrence (at Sequoia Grove). Contact Ric Henry a

          Also, you can contact Thomas Rivers Brown who makes wine for Schrader and Outpost (among others) his e-mail address is

          Lewelling is a good visit, I don't have their contact info on hand

          Gemstone wines are great, I've never visited, but here is their contact info: