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Apr 19, 2012 12:32 AM

Napa Engagement Proposal - It's Going Down

OK, I really hope my GF doesn't know my Chowhound handle. I don't think she does.

Wine hounders - need your assistance.
Here's the plan for a weekend in July/August:

Meadowood Friday, get breakfast in the room Saturday morning, skip their proposal packages (don't wan't calligraphy box and hoopla) and just hop in a car Saturday after breakfast and hit up some wineries.

Which 3-4 (4-5?) wineries would we have time to check out that would also double as good places where we can be walking alone and I can pop the Q? I've done a bit of research, but basically, I'm worried that other people will be doing the exact same thing as me, and definitely she doesn't want this to be a public proposal. Hopefully I can find enough places with enough areas for self-guided tours in vineyards/gardens that there will be a few opportune moments.

I'm thinking:

--Sterling Vineyards (maybe propose in the tram on the way up?)
--Ferrari Carano (maybe in the gardens)
--Rutherford Hill (idk, saw some references to this in other posts)

That night I want to do dinner at Meadowood (hopefully 8:30-9pm reservation), which is why we'll be doing in-room breakfast as opposed to a mid-day picnic.

We've been to Napa a few times, but I can't really remember the places we liked. As long as theres lots of views/nature to walk around it would work. [/SAP ALERT] Please help me make this memorable for the love of my life. [/END SAP]

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  1. I am not the right person to advise on quiet, proposal suitable wineries in Napa. However, I can't' resist chiming in to encourage you to consider re-thinking this plan if you want it to be memorable for the right reasons. Do you really only normally eat two meals a day? Personally, no matter how much I planned to eat at Meadowood, if I had breakfast fairly early in my room (which implies a fairly small, or at least fairly early meal), drove around to three to four or more wineries, perhaps did a bit of walking to find the private location, and then wasn't taken to dinner until well after 8 pm, I would be in absolutely *no* mood to say yes to anyone's proposal, much less to celebrate afterwards.

    Perhaps a mid-day picnic is the way to go.

    4 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf

      I got the feeling that the OP is intending to propose during the daytime, while at one of the vineyards. So, hopefully, his GF would have already accepted before sitting down to their dinner later. :) However, I agree that twelve hours of an active day, without food is a stretch - so, I would agree with suggestion of a mid-day picnic...and maybe it will provide the right "moment" for you.

      Best wishes and good luck, OP!

      1. re: susancinsf

        Ya - we will definitely be eating some cheese/snacks throughout the day I imagine or maybe even a sandwich. We just have never really done a picnic so I know it will immediately raise flags and spoil the surprise. That being said, if her only memory of the day is starvation, that's not great.

        1. re: hungree

          Also note that tasting wine without food is a bad idea, so perhaps that would be a good justification for a picnic. Of the wineries that don't require tours, Artesa might be a good choice, as it's a bit off the "main drag" in Napa Valley and there are terraces that can be a bit more private and have a nice view.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Ya - Artesa does seem like it might be out of the way. I will definitely note that humans require food.

      2. Plan a special picnic at Ferrari-Carano in their lovely gardens.
        We visited and at mid day there were only two other couple anywhere in sight.
        Excellent wines as well. Let then know your plans and they might be helpful with privacy.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Bruce in SLO

          I'm a little concerned about Ferrari Carano being so far from Meadowood, even though the gardens do look wonderful.

          After looking closely at the maps and garden wineries, I'm thinking this as a possible itinerary:

          2--Rombauer Vineyards
          3--Sterling Vineyards
          4--Clos Pegase

          They are all within 20 minutes of each other, so we can be back around 5-6pm and have some time to rest/take pictures before dinner.

          I'm thinking if I don't have an opportunity in the Rombauer gardens, I can get it done at Sterling Vineyards.

          If you guys think Ferrari Carano is worth the 40 minutes each way trip, let me know.

          1. re: hungree

            I'd just throw in that quality over quantity on a day like this may be best. If you think the Ferrari Carano garden is the best place, then maybe its worth going to only 2 wineries so that you have the time to pop the question in the place you think is best.

            1. re: XerxesAB

              Great point. I will have to go up and do this drive myself / visit all 4 of the above as well as Ferrari Carano and see what makes the most sense.

            2. re: hungree

              Ferrari Carano is not worth the 40 minutes each way.

              A warning, if the winery is directly on the Silverado Trail or Hwy 29 and open to the public, if you are going anytime during peak season or on a weekend in good weather, you won't have too much luck finding a spot to yourself. Don't know if that's important to you.

              I don't know if you want to do things first thing in the morning or last in the day, but an idea would be to schedule an appointment for either their first or last appointment of the day, and then linger on and propose. Kenzo (appt only) comes to mind as an example (though is rather far from Meadowood).

              Another idea would be (and now I'm exposing this on a public forum) Pride Vineyards (appt only) up on Spring Mountain actually has two picnic sites. One has a view, and is near the wine tasting room. The other is down at the ruins of the old winery, in a meadow, w/ a tree swing etc. It's very beautiful, despite having no view, and no one seems to go down there (we were the only ones there in mid-October which is still peak season).

              The smaller wineries are pretty accommodating to requests. I had a friend who asked if they could schedule an appointment not at the typical time (say they usually do 11:00 am through 3 pm and he asked if they would be willing to do a 10:00 am or 4 pm appointment). Of course, then I would feel obligated to buy a lot of wine during the appointment in return for the favor, but I always feel obliged in those situations.

              1. re: goldangl95

                Great points. I will call Pride Vineyards and see if they might be able to help me out. Definitely concerned about the crowds, especially if it's a weekend in late June/July. If there really is no way to do it privately in one of the 4 wineries, apparently meadowood has a large enough grounds with privacy that they suggest engagement proposals there. My last ditch effort will be to just do it at Meadowood sometime before dinner.

              2. re: hungree

                The drive to Ferrari Carano is not worth it. And the tram to Sterling will probably have too many people - maybe not if you time it right.......

                I am partial to the lake at Chateau Montelena

                OR what about looking out from the patio at Phelps

                Here's a link to Napa wineries with gardens:

                1. re: Junie D

                  Ah, good to know the tram to Sterling is for more than 2 at a time. Gotta muck that plan then. Montelena looks really promising. Now I'm thinking of just doing it at Meadowood on their grounds. This solves both the a) hunger and b) privacy concerns since they can arrange a picnic and set up a quiet corner on their grounds for us before we head out for some tastings.

                  1. re: hungree

                    Well, I think the Sterling tram holds just 4, so you could be the only two (and might be able to request that). Chateau Montelena is a little farther, but so lovely and private. And it could be sunny in Calistoga vs. foggy farther south on a July morning. Whatever you decide will be perfect, so don't stress too much. My husband proposed in our living room and it was perfect.

                    1. re: hungree

                      Where did you end up proposing? I'm faced w/ the identical scenario. I have a room and dinner booked at meadowood. I'm leaning towards proposing on the grounds. Please advise. Thanks!