Bridal shower in Napa - advice appreciated!
I am planning a bridal shower that will take place in 3 1/2 weeks with a party of 10 women.
Though in the process we will be getting drunk, this is more of a wine appreciation weekend - we want to enjoy the wine and the valley (more smaller wineries with nicer views and maybe a couple of tours); however, since we have people coming in from all parts of the country, we only have one real day to appreciate the wine country.
We are staying near the Silverado Country Club (near the Silverado Trail) which means that it makes most sense to begin there...but it would be nice to taste maybe one winery in Sonoma
I had a couple of questions
(1) Do you think it is possible to start the day off on the Silverado Trail, going up north and ending the day at one winery in Sonoma - maybe 5-6 total wineries if we begin the day at 9:30 (I absolutely love the Russian River Valley and I think people should experience it)?
(2) What wineries are recommended along the Silverado Trail and in Napa Valley (I have a group of girls whose love for wine range from cabs to zins so I am open to anything since there is no way I can accomodate to everyone)
(3) I have been to V Sattui, which I thought was not-so-great and crowded, but was hoping for a nicer picnic spot along the way (preferably with a winery - though I do not know if this is possible in napa), most likely picking something up from Oakville along the way...anything recommended?
(4) any other comments?
Thank you very much and apologies for the long post....!
Just a reminder about manners and reservations:
Please don't get drunk while you're wine-tasting.
If anything would happen, both the person who served you the wine and the winery could be fined and jailed. Get drunk later, back at the hotel. Tasting room personnel get rather unhappy with tipsy visitors: they are loud, don't listen, don't want to learn, interrrupt conversations with other guests, and put the winery at risk. Bachelorette parties are known to be among the worst offenders. (Sorry, but having worked at several wineries, it's true.)Please watch your manners and alcohol level.
With 10 people, you must make reservations.
Aim for about 4 tastings that day, and remember to pre-order a picnic lunch at Oakville Grocery or Sunshine Market that you simply pick up the morning of your tastings, or go out to lunch (make a res). You must make prior arrangements with a winery to picnic on its grounds, and they will want you to buy a few bottles of wine to drink while you're lunching.
Timing and breakfast.
45 min. per tasting x 4 plus 2 hours total drive time plus 1 hr. lunch = 6 hours, from about 11 to 5 pm. Make sure everyone has a hearty breakfast that day, and bring a cooler (even a makeshift cheapie one) with lots of water and cold drinks.
Check out the Silverado Trail Winery Association (STWA) website http://www.silveradotrail.com/ . They have a printable map of STWA members, and also indicate whether the wineries are by appointment or open to the public, as well as showing what varietals each winery makes.
With a group of 10 I would definitely contact the wineries you are interested in visiting and see if they can accomodate your group size, even if the winery is open to the public and doesn't require an appointment. Many wineries have a "no limo" policy.
Also, make sure to bring more bottled water than you think you can drink because dehydration can be ugly after a day of tasting in the summer sun. I've seen my share of limos pulled over on the side of the road after all the tastings rooms are closed, with beautiful young women staggering out of the limo to vomit.
I live work and play here in the Napa Valley. It can be overwhelming for many with all of the options. I would agree with Roberts post to skip Sonoma and just do Napa. I would also reccomend as Jamie said to get a limo, Beau is a good one. Reverie is a great place for a picnic, small family owned winery. There are lots in the valley, I don't think you necessarily need to stay on the trail but not to far up, in the Stags Leap district, Pine Ridge, Steltzner and Hartwell are all fab cabs! Steltaner (ask for Erika or Tiffany) is a small family owned as well as Hartwell , Pine Ridge is owned by a corporation but has great wines (ask for Joe or Eric) - Tell everyone Dani sent you. :) Another winery on the trail is the Terraces (ask for Nate) tiny winery, lots of fun. Head up Howell Mountain and go to Viader, wonerful Syrah. A lot of wineries have picnic areas, some are just for wine club members like Pine Ridge but a lot allow you to use them, some ask that you reserve it, but pretty much the main rule is don't drink anyone elses wine, you must buy theirs on their picnic ground. No winery has food except for V. Sattui. Rutherford Hill has some really pretty picnic grounds. Oh, how about Kelham! Great small family owned winery, great good looking guys (Ask for Ham or Ron - again tell them Dani sent you). :) They have nice picnic tables under some trees, great napa valley feel , they are on ZInfandel Lane. Any more questoins, shoot me an email, email@example.com
I planned a similar party in March, though we focused our tastings in St. Helena. The number of people in your group may limit your options also, as many of the smaller wineries can't accomodate a group that size. We used the limo services of Beau Wine Tours, which did a very good job and helped to recommend the stops. Wine tasting fees in Napa can be quite expensive, and they helped to pick places thery weren't. In fact, the per person limo price was roughly the same as 2-3 tasting fees, had we not gone to the places that Beau selected for us. In particular, everyone enjoyed Reverie, where we had a tour of the facilities, including their caves, and had our picnic in Reverie's lovely redwood grove. Although Beau offered to get food for us (at a rather steep rate), they were perfectly fine with our bringing along our own supplies from Oakville Grocery.
Specifically, on the Silverado Trial, I enjoyed tastings recently at Miner (which may be too small for your group) and Darioush. I really want to go back to Darioush for their wine and cheese pairings, which require reservations. You may also want to consider Paraduxx, which may be able to set up a wine and food pairing for a reasonable fee. I did this for my party at Duckhorn, Paraduxx's parent, and it cut down nicely on the amount of picnic supplies we needed.
re: Jamie Rudman
I just returned from a trip to Napa. I would agree, and stick to just Napa Valley.There was a lot of traffic along the main highway throughout the day. You must go to the winery Robert Sinsky. It was one of my favorites. They offer wonderful little free bites with your wine tasting. They specialize in Pinots...and they were great. The other winery I really enjoyed was Clos Pegase. They offered a great free tour of the winery and cellars. STay away from Beringer, what ever you do! The place is like a factory. I was very disappointed. Another great winery was Castello di Amaroso. IT is owned by V, Sattui. You must check out their website.IF you are into ITalian castles, you should see it. The place is amazing. VEry authentic. The wines were OK...the tour is an hour and they offer a tasting after. The price is 25 per person. I really didnt like the wines too much...and they were very pricey. YOu got the feeling that they were selling their bottle in order to pay for every brick in the castle. I would still highly reccomend it.YOu MUSt have a drink/cocktail at Auberge. We went to Terra for dinner afterwards. The view from their patio was the best of the whole valley. Simply breathtaking.
For a one-day trip, stick to the Napa Valley. Sonoma's a long detour, especially if you have to go back to Napa.
Napa Valley winery suggestions:
Napa Valley picnic suggestions: