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Napa Itinerary - Ready for Feedback!

Have been furiously researching and planning and would love any feedback on our Napa itinerary! My husband and I will be there in late March/early April for about 3 days staying at the Harvest Inn in St. Helena (then Sonoma for 5 days, but I'll keep that separate). We were in Napa for the first time last winter and are looking primarily to hit new places, though we may return to a couple wineries whose clubs we joined.

We drink mostly reds (I love the big ones, my husband appreciates some of the more subdued styles) and lots of cab, zin, syrah and interesting blends. We really love pinots but assume we will have more of those when in Sonoma. We also love white, but not chardonnay. We have found we can pretty comfortably do 4 tastings a day if we share at least one or two of them.

Sorry for all the detail, but if it's helpful to understand why some of these are not on our list, we have previously dined at: Redd. French Laundry, Oenotri, Mustard's and Brix. And we have done tastings and/or tours at Shafer, Phelps, Chappellet, Sinskey, Domaine Chandon, Stag's Leap, Cakebread, Chimney Rock, Duckhorn and Schramsberg.

So, without further ado...

FRIDAY (MARCH 29) - begin at SFO, end in St. Helena
11:00 - land at SFO
drive to Napa
1:00ish - lunch at Grace's Table (or Angele?)
3:00 - tasting at Hendry
4:00 - tasting at Trefethen (no appt needed, so only if we feel up to it)
drive to St. Helena
Dinner - Goose and Gander

SATURDAY - Spring Mountain
Breakfast - at the Inn (it's free)
get picnic food in St. Helena (Dean & Deluca or Sunshine?)
10:30am - tasting at Smith Madrone
12:00 - tasting and a picnic lunch at Pride
2:00 - tasting at Robert Keenan (or Schweiger?)
3:00 - tasting at Terra Valentine
Dinner - Cook

SUNDAY - central Napa County (*this is where I could really use some help - there are about 20 wineries I would love to squeeze in but have to choose!)
Breakfast - at the Inn
10:30 - tasting at Corison (we were booked here last time but had to cancel, so this is a must)
12:00 - tasting at Elyse
Lunch - picnic?
3:00 - tasting at Frog's Leap
4:30 - tasting at Miner Family (or any other suggestions??)
Dinner - Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen

MONDAY- finish Napa and head to Sonoma
Breakfast - at the Inn
10:00 - tasting at Shafer (we love it and are list members)
maybe a quick stop at Cliff Lede before lunch
Lunch - French Blue or Farmstead on the way north?
2:00 - maybe Von Strasser or Larkmead on the way to Healdsburg?

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  1. Have backup plans if it's not picnic weather.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Good call - thank you! I assume that time of year can be hit or miss?

      1. re: kristinndc

        On average it should be fine, but there's a chance it could be rainy or cold.

    2. I think the one thing that stands out for me is dinner at Cindy's Backstreet... It has never been a huge favorite of mine and the few times I have gone has been for lunch only - I think it would be a waste for dinner considering how many other great eateries are in the 'hood (Terra comes to mind, specifically).

      Also, based on my recent review of French Blue, I would pick Farmstead for lunch instead:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/889194

      1 Reply
      1. re: CarrieWas218

        Thank you! Will definitely take a look at Terra (probably the bar side).

      2. Enjoy your trip, and please follow up with your review, as I am "furiously researching and planning" our trip in late April.

        4 Replies
        1. re: pagesinthesun

          Will do - we leave Friday and we are very excited!

          1. re: kristinndc

            The current weather prognosis is for showers and thunderstorms so I would nix all your picnic plans...

            Did you make dinner reservations?

            1. re: CarrieWas218

              I know, weekend weather not looking good :( We'll have backup plans (or eat picnic food in the car!). Our dinners in Napa will be at Cook, Bar Terra (thanks for your rec!) and Goose & Gander. Lunch at Farmstead one day, and the jury's out on our picnics. Fortunately, weather looks like it might get a bit better for our Sonoma leg next week.

              1. re: kristinndc

                For either tomorrow or Sunday, try Elizabeth Spencer. Prefer their cabs over Elyse (I enjoy the rhone blends & zin at Elyse). Been a while but I think I prefer them to Trefethen too. If you go to ES, see if you can still taste '09 Napa Valley cab...enjoyed it at rest. recently. Easy access right off 29 @ Rutherford road & no appt. necessary.

                Also, just went to Phelps last week. Loved the '10 cab...peppery with dark fruit.

        2. If you are looking for big reds Conn Creek is a great place to taste. Another favorite of mine is Heitz Cellars. Both places are highly underrated IMO. Otherwise sounds like a great trip!

          1. How was your trip? I am planning mine now and would love to get your feedback!