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Jun 19, 2012 06:46 PM

Please review my Napa area itinerary.

Please help with the last few details/logistical issues! I have had great success on trips to Maui, Scottsdale and Boston through board searches, and am looking for some specific help for our upcoming trip.
My husband and I are flying into SFO on July 4 and driving to Napa. We are staying through the weekend. I have not included hotel info. because we have not yet booked! We drink mostly reds, but we certainly enjoy whites, too. We have visited the area once before and enjoyed tastings/tours at Pine Ridge, Robert Sinskey, Frog's Leap, Silver Oak, Sequoia Grove, Cakebread and Reynolds Family. We would like to do at least two tours--one at Schramberg. For the other wineries, we may just stick to tastings. Any thoughts on tours vs. tastings are welcome.
Here's our tentative plan:
Wednesday-- Land around lunchtime and drive to Napa. Probably wander Oxbow Market. Not sure what to expect since it is the 4th. Any helpful info. is appreciated.
Thursday--Miner and PlumpJack. (Two of my husband's MUSTS.) Looking for lunch rec. and possibly another winery rec. Late dinner at Oenotri.
Friday--Drive to Schramsberg. Possibly include Duckhorn and/or Frank Family. Again, looking for lunch recs. Late dinner at Morimoto.
Saturday--Cliff Lede (Another MUST.) We are open to suggestions in the area. Late dinner at Redd.
Sunday--drive back, possibly to Oakland first to catch a baseball game. We are both big baseball fans and the Red Sox are in town--we'll probably just play it by ear. Fly out of SFO on red-eye.
Some other places we are interested in include the Patz and Hall salon, Stag's Leap, Elizabeth Spencer, Jos. Phelps, Cakebread, Frog's Leap and Robert Sinskey (yes, again). All of our "activities" will be winery-based--no balloons, massages, hikes, etc. for us. Thanks for your help!

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  1. Thursday, you could lunch in St Helena, Cook or Farmstead are both good. Farmstead has an outdoor patio. If you want something casual Gotts for a Burger and other sandwiches. Its outdoors only, no res and often has long lines if that's an issue.
    If your heading south on 29, Mustards is always good or Bistro Don Giovanni on Hwy 29 between Yountville and Napa.They also have an outdoor patio if that's of interest.
    Your other restaurant choices are good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mick

      Thanks for the lunch advice! Cook and Farmstead both sound great, but Gotts is probably more within our budget for lunch.

    2. Wineries:

      Near Miner, Plumpjack and Cliff Lede:
      Rudd (expensive appt only)
      Vine Cliff (appt only)
      Pine Ridge
      Quixote (appt only)
      Shafer (expensive and limited times) (appt only)

      Near Schramsberg:
      Larkmead (appt only)
      Madrigal (appt only)

      5 Replies
      1. re: goldangl95

        Thank you! Appointments are not a problem, I just want to feel good abt. the timing--not rushing from one great place to make a mediocre one on time. Advice about touring vs. tasting at Miner, Plumpjack and Cliff Lede would be welcome. I am not sure we want to tour at all three, but I don't know which is best.

        1. re: Court7221

          I don't believe Plumpjack has much to tour (not sure if they even offer one - but probably wouldn't pick that one). Have not done a tour at Miner or Cliff Lede.

          1. re: goldangl95

            Hmmm...Plumpjack's website it showing a "Hilltop Tour and Tasting." Maybe it is something they are just starting. Regusci looks interesting to me.

            1. re: Court7221

              Oh weird. Is that for Plumpjack (on the valley floor) or for Cade (their other winery on Howell Mountain)? If it's for Plumpjack that was definitely something I didn't know about.

              1. re: goldangl95

                Oops--forgot to reply to you! I called Plumpjack, and they said that they have recently started the tour. We decided to try it out--I'll report back in a couple of weeks. Thanks for the suggestions!

      2. As I am making appointments, I am seeing gaps in my schedule that you may be able to help me fill. Here's the latest plan:
        Thursday- Need a morning (start to our trip) idea
        1:00 tour at Plumpjack
        4:00 tasting at Miner
        8:00 dinner at Oenotri
        11:00 Tour at Cliff Lede
        Ideas for the rest of the day??
        8:30 dinner at Morimoto
        10:30 Tour and tasting at Cakebread
        2:30 Cave Tour at Schramsberg.
        8:15 dinner at Redd
        If you see any glaring problems, please let me know. Some of the appointments were the only available times, so we may just have to work around them, if possible. Thanks for your help!

        14 Replies
        1. re: Court7221

          On Thursday, you could just drive up to St Helena first, wander around town for a bit, do a little shopping, whatever. It's not real big, 5-6 block long Main St. The places that you're interested in for lunch (Gott/Cook/Farmstead) are all in St Helena. Then go off to your tastings. You could also stop at Mumm's and start your vacation off with some bubbly, then have lunch.

          Since it's a holiday week end, I would avoid Hwy 29 as much as possible as traffic will be extremely crowded and slow. Use Silverado Trail as much as possible, unless you have a tasting appt along 29.

          1. re: Dawgmommy

            Thanks for the advice! I have a feeling we will be finding a winery where we can just taste, prob. Sinskey, Frog's Leap, Pine Ridge or other. (Husband will not shop before wine, esp. in Napa Valley!)

            Traffic is a huge concern, and that's where I'd most like local guidance. For example, about how long will it actually take to get from Cakebread to Schramsberg? Any ideas? I am hoping that 2-and-a-half hour window will allow us time for lunch, but with traffic, is that realistic?

            I have also completely looked past our arrival day, Wednesday. It is the 4th! Any ideas about what we should do? I am thinking very casual, probably in Napa. Thanks!!

            1. re: Court7221

              In the summer time, traffic will grind to a halt about 5+ miles south of St Helena. From Cakebread, I would cut over to Silverado Trail via Rutherford/Conn Creek Road (Hwy128). And then cut back to Hwy 29/Main St via the Pope St Bridge. One you're in St Helena, going north from that point to Schramsberg isn't bad.

              Something casual in Napa on the day of your arrival is a good idea. Oxbow Market has a lot of casual places to pick from.

              1. re: Dawgmommy

                Thanks for the traffic help!
                Oxbow market is exactly what I was thinking. We'll just walk around and see what looks interesting!

                1. re: Dawgmommy

                  <<From Cakebread, I would cut over to Silverado Trail via Rutherford/Conn Creek Road (Hwy128). And then cut back to Hwy 29/Main St via the Pope St Bridge. One you're in St Helena, going north from that point to Schramsberg isn't bad.>>

                  No. That is far too big a detour. The only bottleneck is in St. Helena proper, and you simply make a small jog left before the bottleneck and a jog right after the bottleneck. Get a detailed map map and go west on Sulphur Springs, and north on Crane, etc., as the attached map shows. I'm a local girl and we know how to drive to avoid weekend traffic. Besides, this way is prettier anyway.

                  By the way, Cakebread would be far down on my list of wineries to try. I've posted many times about my favorites. Please do a search if you're interested.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    Thanks for clarifiying the traffic situtation!

                    I have searched many, many threads in planning my itinerary, and have enjoyed reading the advice you and so many other regular posters offer.

                    Cakebread: maybe it's just sentimental, but we like their wines. We have been there for a tasting and decided to go back for a tour. Wine, like most things, is subjective!

                    That said, we would still welcome any suggestions. Thanks again for your help!

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      You're correct in what you're saying, I generally prefer the Trail to 29, as I find it more scenic, plus there are wineries along the Trail that they seemed interested in. Sinskey, Pine Ridge, etc....

                      1. re: Dawgmommy

                        But those wineries are far south of Rutherford Cross, so that would be going south before going north again. Doesn't make sense. Certainly, there are other wineries on the Silverado Trail going north, but there are along Highway 29 also.

                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            Thank you! I think to some extent we are just going to have to play it by ear. You both have given us options to consider depending on how much time we have and just how bad traffic is. I really appreciate the help!

                    2. re: Court7221

                      Wednesday evening if your not too tired could walk around Yountville, casually pick up a bite to eat at the bar area of one of the restaurants and then walk over to the golf course and watch the fireworks.

                      1. re: mick

                        I was wondering about specific 4th plans! Could you tell me which golf course? (Or is there only one...or should I know this by now??)

                        1. re: Court7221

                          Its the Vintners course in Yountville, right off highway at main Yountville exit on the west side of highway. They do fireworks over the course starting a little after 9pm. If you come into town earlier you can beat the firework traffic exiting off the highway. Its casual can picnic on the grounds of the golf course prior if you wish.
                          I have a home here and if not gone usually just watch from my house or wander on over to the course. And as mentioned previously can wander Yountville prior to fireworks.

                          1. re: mick

                            That sounds like a good plan--thanks!