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Proposing this weekend....NAPA suggestions?

Going to propose this weekend and I need some suggestions on what to do and what to eat in Napa/Calistoga? I've got the bed and breakfast part....but I'm clueless about the rest. This is our first time to Napa and I really want to make it special. We're not super-wealthyy so if there's some ideas on affordable (under $40 per person) restaurants and excursions I'd really appreciate it! I'll update ya'll later if she says yes!!

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  1. not $40 a person, $50 before tax, tip, and drinks. Ad-Hoc in yountsville would be my recommendation.

    if napa is new to the both of you i'm just going to give my standard advice. start at mondavi, hit the wine tour then continue up the road - stop at any winery that catches your fancy. grab a picnic lunch at v.sattui (it's really a treasure in the valley, not expensive and very relaxing), dean & deluca is also across the street. finally continue your tour up north and end at sterling vineyards where you will take a tram up to the tasting rooms. extremely scenic. maybe a proposal spot? anyways...careful on alcohol intake and driving. i'd also recommend dining at greystone or the culinary insisutue if time allows.

    here's cheering you on.

    6 Replies
    1. re: wchane

      V. Sattui has absolutely gorgeous Madeira. You may also like their Muscat and their non-sparkling gamay rouge. www.vsattui.com - I think it's up in the direction of Chateau Montelena that I mentioned below.

      1. re: Cinnamon

        Are you thinking of Sattui's new venture in Calistoga, http://www.castellodiamorosa.com ? It's not open until April 2.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I just looked up the V. Sattui address and it sounded close-ish to Chateau Montelena.. don't know if it was the new place or not. (And, am only commenting on the wines, not the venue!) :)

          1. re: Cinnamon

            Are you talking about V. Sattui's tasting room that's in Rutherford across from Dean & Deluca? It's a popular spot for tasting and has a big lawn where a lot of first-time Napa visitors lay out in the sun with with sandwiches or cheese and wine they buy from inside the store.

          2. re: Melanie Wong

            castello di amorosa is such a crazy place... and huge! since it is not open yet (though I'm sure it will be mobbed when it does), that might be an argument for Sterling then... there is a great view of casetllo di amorosa from there. it is quite impressive from the outside.. an even more so when you see all the sub-earth levels. I'm not a huge fan of sattui in general, but the castle is pretty amazing.

        2. re: wchane

          Sterling Vineyards is a nice visit for first timers to Napa. Wine is only ok, but it's a beautiful winery with great view of the valley. It's $20pp ride (you can get a coupon at their website), but you also get about 5-7 tastings with that. When I was there on a weekday two years ago, the place was almost deserted and we came across a man proposing to his gf on the huge deck overlooking the valley. Needless to say, our group hurried out to give them privacy, but it was so sweet to see.

        3. Napa wineries are not that pretty - Chateau Montelena, however, at the sort of top of the valley, is a gorgeous reproduction of an old French chateau. There's a pond and a little island. Highly recommend checking out their Website, and calling ahead to see if some special arrangements can be made.

          http://www.chateaumontelena.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cinnamon

            Yes, the gazebo on the island would be a fantastically romantic spot to propose. You'll have to call ahead though.

          2. Are you looking for a beautiful place to propose? One with a view perhaps or lovely
            grounds or some place just drippingly romantic? If so, I'll try to help.

            I would never in a trillion years send you to V. Sattui, as other posters recently
            said at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38142...

            Many beautiful wineries are here. I do think Chateau Montelena with its lagoons and islands
            is quite lovely.

            Can you tell us a little more about what you need?

            2 Replies
            1. re: maria lorraine

              i agree with both posters here. the main napa drag, and v. sattui in particular, are NOT very pretty or romantic. and the relatively few prettier wineries tend to be kind of disney pretty. but of course, i've avoided hwy 29 for so many years things might have improved without my knowledge. anyway, this is not to say that picturesque spots can't be found. silverado and the CIA, as wchane suggested, do come to mind. i think beringer's house would also work.
              but truly, the place isn't nearly as important as the purity of your intent, which could be compromised by whipping your neck around looking for some kodak moment. i think a little serenity is a better idea, which is generally found in proportion to your distance from 29. try silverado, the hills, alexander, or sonoma.

              1. re: echo

                Agreed - I can't imagine squeezing into a free patch of grass or muscling your way up to the tasting bar at V Sattui on your engagement weekend. Silverado Trail is a great suggestion for getting away from the maddening crowd. My husband proposed at the CIA and while it was beautiful and relatively more quiet, he didn't get the private moment he had hoped for and panicked and just asked me in the parking lot. But you know what, your SO is NOT going to care. :) They'll only remember you and how perfect the night was, parking lot and all! (My crying also made our waitresses cry, which was pretty cute. :)

            2. Find a little store and pick up the necessary goods for a picnic, then go to any of the nice wineries that have a picnic ground and do lunch there with your wine tasting or even get a bottle to consume with lunch. I think its one of the most romantic and lovely ways to spend a day in wine country... plus affordable!

              1 Reply
              1. re: funmarysf

                One of the most special places I've been to recently was the picnic area at Reverie, a family-owned winery in Calistoga. It would be perfect for a proposal picnic. Their wines were good and affordable and the tour (for my group of 11) was relaxed, entertaining and FREE (very rare in Napa). The tasting room itself is minimal, but they invited us to taste outside among the trees. The wide, "family circle" of second growth redwoods, which you access by crossing a bridge over a little creek, would be a truly beautiful place to propose or just discuss your future. I suspect that the outdoor tasting experience is generally for groups, but if you contact them in advance, and they have room on the schedule, I suspect that the family that owns the place would provide a great expereince, and be honored that you chose to include them on this special weekend. Particularly if you hint that you'd celebrate each anniversary of your engagement with their wine! Good luck this weekend. I hope that you both enjoy every minute of it.

                http://www.reveriewine.com/index.htm

              2. Here's what I would do. I would call and set up lunch outside at Ladera winery. The wine is awesome, buy a good bottle, sit outside and eat under a 100 year elm tree on the top of Howell Mtn. They get their food from Dean and Deluca and it is good.
                Ideally Ladera would want you to purchase more than 1 bottle and I would highly recommend the Lone Canyon Cab, the Howell Mtn Cab or the Syrah. All great but all in the $40-70 range. The tour is free so no sorry ass tasting fees.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jscarbor

                  A very good nice restaurant that is very well priced is Pilar in Napa. Its a smallish contemprary space. Food is very good on its own but really good for the price. Id say the avg entree is under $20?.

                  1. re: jscarbor

                    If you set up the Ladera deal you will be alone, there are not tour buses at this place, its you and the winery employees.

                    1. re: jscarbor

                      Minor correction - the 100+-year old tree is a Chestnut, not elm (I researched and wrote on the that tree as it survived the Chestnut blight of last century). There are also walnut trees and the setting IS beautiful. Solitude, quiet, and beauty abound.

                    2. if you are looking for a 'pretty' winery, I enjoyed Peju Province. Oh, and if you're celebrating, maybe stop by a sparkling winery beforehand and pick up a bottle for later? Domaine Chandon is cool, Mumm is crowded, but nice wines.

                      1. Some of the other posts here mentioning Calistoga are ringing a bell.. the farther north you go out of the Napa traffic jam, the better for serenity, I think. Chateau Montelena is kind of up in that direction - that's still my top pick for a proposal spot - by far. Maybe some other posters can recommend Calistoga-area cozy restaurants or pretty places for a drink or a walk etc.? It has more small-town charm than the rest of Napa.

                        1. thanks for all the help everyone...lets hope she says yes!!!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: whyseetea

                            Best wishes to you and have a wonderful weekend. Give yourself some extra driving time in case there are crowds.

                            1. re: Cinnamon

                              agreed. note that most wineries close at 5, so that means terrible traffic leaving at that time. i say, go have 5pm dinner reservations and drive back (traffic free) afterwards....

                            2. re: whyseetea

                              hope? you mean you do not know? in any case, good luck anyway.

                              1. Well, it's Sunday...

                                La, la, la, la, la...

                                What, don't they have Internet cafes in Napa where a person could send a short message back to the Chowhounds? :)

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Cinnamon

                                  It's Sunday morning. Maybe the happy couple is, uh, celebrating their good fortune.

                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                    Perfect phrase! I've been watching these posts - waiting to see what happened!

                                        1. re: intomeat

                                          He wouldn't leave us hanging though, would he?? 0_o

                                          By the way, intomeat, your "current drink of choice" is great :-)