Want to go to Napa...
Folks, we've moved this thread from the Wine board to the San Francisco board, as the San Francisco board is the best place to discuss where to eat and which wineries to visit.
However, discussion of lodging is off topic for our site so please, keep your recommendations focused on where to find great chow and wine. Thanks.
My spouse and I went to Napa in summer last year. We stayed at The Elms in Calistoga. It was a charming B&B. The owners at that time were planning to sell it, so I don't know if the inn is still open for business. Hearty and delicious breakfasts and wine and cheese in the afty, if you haven't had enough all day.
We tend to eat mostly vegetarian and so I researched online menus for the most interesting veggie options. Here is a dump from my notes from summer last year.
Wappo Bar Bistro - L,D closed T,
Good veggie choices
1226 Washington Street
Calistoga, CA 94515
Zuzu - L: Mon to Fri, D: 7 days
Tapas - nothing more that $9 in veggie options
829 Main St (between 2nd and 3rd St
)Napa, CA 94559
Mustards Grill - L,D, 7 days
yummy menu, 2 interesting main course veg choices, several appetizer options and great sides too. prolly better to get reservation for D versus walk-in.
7399 St. Helena Highway
Something to keep in mind - a number of wineries and tasting rooms offer coupons on their website. It could be 10% discount on purchases or two for one tastings or even complimentary tastings. Here are some wineries where the tasting room staff were attentive and knowledgeable: Chauteau St. Jean (Sonoma Valley), Peju, Mumm Napa.
If you want to buy wine, check out Wine Garage in Calistoga. I was just beginning to explore wine when I visited last year and the folks here gave spot on recommendations for what I might like, based on just a few examples that I told them I had enjoyed in the past.
I like staying at The Vintage Inn in Yountville, and then it's just a short walk to Bistro Jeanty, my favorite place to dine! Also try Bay Leaf in Napa, and Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena. I have also enjoyed dining at the dinind room at CIA Greystone and at Julia's Kitchen at COPIA. Brunch at Domaine Chandon is always memorable, as well.
My favorite wineries to visit include Chimney Rock, Trefethen and St. Supery. Nichelini is a little off the beaten path in the Chiles Valley, but they make some of the best Zinfandel I have ever tasted.
Bartholamew Park is great and really off the beaten path as is Nicholson Ranch. Call ahead to Nicholson Ranch and they will more likely than not be willing to give you a very in depth tour of their wine making process- plus you can pet the alpacas.
Zuzu, a wine bar in downtown Napa has some fun wines by the glass and is good for light snacks. Especially the queso frito and the anchovies
Try Bistro Jeanty in Younteville.. it is much better than Bouchon. If you get to BJ you MUST get the lentil/foie gras small plate and the fried smelts (it is a very frequent special) also the homemade sausages and an excellent crudite (REAL crudite- not veg sticks and dip)
Pilar, in downtown Napa is also good.. but less consistent than BJ.
Domaine Chandon has a good Pinot Meunier.. but I've found the tasting room staff to be snotty of late.
Imagery Winery in Sonoma has a really great selection of obscure varietals and cool blends in a beautiful setting - not to mention competent staff. It's a little farther out but so very worth it.
If you do get to Sonoma stop by The Cheesmaker's Daughter in Sonoma Square. Ditty Vella of Vella cheese fame runs it. They have an awesome selection and are generous with the sampling.
There are so many great wineries in Napa. It depends on your interests and what type of wine you like. Here's some of my recommendations (not knowing your likes and dislikes):
Restaurants: Bistro Don Giovanni (a local's favorite and reasonable by Napa standards) and Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford. The Auberge has one of the best dining views in the valley. Make reservations early for a table on the deck.
Lodging: One of my favorites is Silverado Resort in Napa. The restaurant is also great. This is a stately resort that also offers golf, tennis, and a spa. Check out their website for the latest specials.
Wineries: Andretti Winery
Address: 4192 Big Ranch Rd., Napa, CA
Telephone: (707) 259-6777
Open daily 10 AM – 4:30 PM
This Napa Valley winery is owned by race car driver, Mario Andretti. It was established in 1996. It's an interesting stop for Napa Valley Wine Tours. They offer 2 lines of wines. Selections range in price from $9-$13 while Andretti Napa Valley wines range from $15-$30. These are reasonable prices for Napa.
Domaine Carneros by Taittinger
Address: 1240 Duhig Rd., Carneros, CA
Telephone: (707) 257-0101
Open daily 10 AM – 6 PM
It's wonderful to sit outside on the patio sipping great sparkling wine and enjoying the spectacular scenery. This is one of the greatest views in the Valley and the wines are equally wonderful.
The Hess Collection
Address: 4411 Redwood Rd.
Telephone: (707) 255-1144
Open daily 10 AM – 4 PM
This winery has great wines in a wooded area. Art lovers should include visits to the Hess Modern Art Musuem on their Napa Valley Wine Tours. Admission is complimentary. The displays are interesting. Be sure to check out the flaming typewriter!
Address: 1 California Dr. Yountville, CA Telephone: (707) 944-8844
Open daily 10 AM – 6 PM
This Napa Valley winery has beautiful grounds, art exhibits featuring local artists, and a gourmet restaurant in addition to wine tasting. Domaine Chandon was the first French owned winery in the United States to produce sparkling wine when it opened in 1973. It continues to specialize in sparkling wines, but also produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Silver Oak Cellars
Address: 915 Oakville Cross Rd., Oakville, CA
Telephone: (707) 944-8808 or (800) 273-8809
Open daily (except for Sunday) 9 AM – 4 PM
If you like Cabernet Sauvignon, they make one of the best.
Address: 1111 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga, CA 94515
Telephone: (707) 942-3300 or (800) 331-8266
Open daily 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Ride the aerial tram to this hilltop winery where you will enjoy spectacular views and sample great wine.
There are an abunance of great places to stay, eat, and wineries to visit in Napa. Enjoy!