Eureka to Napa for tasting and picnic at Pride Mountain Vineyard: Q about picnic
I have a bit of a pointed questions for my Napa tour that I'm hoping you all will be able to help with.
We're heading from Eureka to Napa for a 12:45pm appt. at Pride Mountain Vineyard (towards the end of a road trip from Seattle to San Francisco). I know the drive along the coast from Eureka directly to Pride is going to take about 6 hours. After the tasting, we'd like to have a picnic on their grounds.
So my question is whether there is anywhere on the way to Pride Mountain Vineyard coming from Eureka to grab some great picnic food? Anything from some good bread and cheese to fresh fruit and more substantial picnic-y type foods.
And if anyone feels like dispensing more Napa-itinerary advice, here's our plan:
- Pride for tasting and lunch
- Storybook Mountain for a late tasting (3pm)
- Anywhere open after that? If not, maybe a drink at Auberge
- AM tour / tasting at Hendry
- Open afternoon. Thinking maybe Artesa, Elyse, Robert Sinskey... but would love some more suggestions, of course. Since we're going to be further up north the previous day, I'm looking into places between Yountville and downtown Napa.
- Dinner at Ad Hoc later in the evening (~8pm)
Friday... of to the city!
Thanks to all in advance. Can't wait for the trip : )
I'm sure you're aware that Eureka to Napa (200-plus miles by car, not all of it freeway by far) is something of an odyssey, cutting through a vast swath of Northern California. You will be driving past outstanding and less touristy wine-country regions of Mendocino County -- the Hopland region is on your route on 101; Anderson Valley is off 101; the Russian River Valley is along 101 in Sonoma County and the beautiful if somewhat boutiquey town of Healdsburg is too, with several famous winery tasting rooms and Michelin-starred restaurants. One could spend a very busy month (I've spent much longer than that in fact) just checking out wine and food in the places I've named and I've omitted several.
Since 101 becomes an undivided road in places and passes through some towns that way, you could easily get groceries in Willits (big supermarkets) or Hopland (smaller town, more artisanal markets) or in the county-seat towns of Ukiah or Santa Rosa, though those are both freeway stretches and you'd need to exit the freeway. As is Healdsburg, N. of Santa rosa, which might supply your picnic nicely if you don't end up changing plans and staying there all day which you might.
This is a nice post describing the regions before you get to Napa Valley.
If Pride Mountain Winery is your goal, there is a great deli section of the Cal-Mart grocery store in Calistoga, just north of St. Helena. This is a suggestion if you're arriving via Highway 29. If you are coming to Pride Mountain via Santa Rosa, you'll reach the winery by Calistoga Rd, and then turning onto Spring Mountain Road. If that's the case, I suggest Olivers on Montecito Avenue about a mile off Calistoga Rd, slightly before before you climb the mountain. This is one of my favorite Northern California grocery stores. Extensive deli food section -- burritos, gourmet sandwiches to order, grilled salmon, meats. Excellent deli items, and fresh items. Wonderful cheese department, breads, bulk bins. I'd go there. Use Google Maps, and you'll see the layout. Be sure you have a reservation for a picnic at Pride. Take a tablecloth, plates, napkins, etc. so it's extra nice. Killer view. I love the Cab Franc there.
560 Montecito Center, Santa Rosa, CA 95409
Pride Mountain Vineyards
4026 Spring Mountain Rd, St Helena, CA
Eatzalot, that sounds so wonderful. I'm tempted to postpone the trip to Pride Mountain Vineyards! If we are able to make time to stop in one of those areas (leaving Eureka at 5am?), do you have any recommendations of wineries to visit?
Pride Mountain Vineyards
4026 Spring Mountain Rd, St Helena, CA
Winery visit suggestion queries appear here incessantly, and receive a lot of advice, all archived here. For that reason I'll say little about Sonoma County, more famous than Mendocino County. Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley are famous Sonoma Cty growing regions. Search using those terms on this board and the Wine board, and you'll find far, far more info than any current reader could give. Healdsburg and environs have notable tasting rooms, including at least two of the venerable "Three R's" that popularized Zinfandel as a varietal red wine 30-40 years ago (Ridge, Ravenswood, Rosenblum) . Here are two past threads mentioning Sonoma County, especially Healdsburg area:
Below are links and tips for Mendocino County to its north (a region where I have a lot of experience visiting and buying wines since the 1970s).
Mendocino is the northernmost of California's three traditional North Bay winegrowing counties. It currently has 84 wineries in 12 growing regions. Of these, Anderson Valley (on Hwy 128 some distance from 101 -- NOT a brief detour) is the best known and has highest density of wineries. It's a cool coastal river valley whose success growing cool-weather grape varieties (Pinot Noir and the Alsatian white varieties) has brought international attention. Eric Asimov at the New York Times visits periodically and writes about the wines.
-- Mendo., County Winegrape and Wine commission, representing (with links to) all 84 county wineries
-- online copy of paper map with all the wineries (geography, hours, tasting info) and growing regions
-- Links to 15 Mendocino-County wineries around Hopland on or near Hwy 101. After Anderson Valley, the region from Ukiah south to Hopland may be the best for premium varietal wines. The climate is warmer; grapes tend to be warmer-weather red varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel). "Passport" program is specific days when all wineries open for tasting with extra personnel, food or other refreshments, to encourage visitors.
-- Wineries and distilleries around Ukiah area. Germain-Robin and Jepson are artisanal distillers, respected for their small-batch aged brandies distilled from varietal white wines in the style of Cognac.
I'm operating without my notes here, but from recollection of many winery visits in recent years, of firms located on or near Hwy 101, the Nelson Family Vineyards particularly, and Jeriko, as well as the Jepson distillery (if open to visitors) are worth visiting and have produced classy products. McDowell Valley Vineyards (which like several other firms has tasting facilities in the town of Hopland, right on 101, which becomes a city street there) has long made ageworthy dark reds.