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Apr 12, 2013 08:50 PM

Honeymoon in Napa

So, my wife and I are going to Napa for our honeymoon, two years after the fact, but be that as it may. I'm very excited about our dinner reservations one night at Meadowood.

However, that will be our blowout meal, with a possibility or Redd or Auberge de Soleil (probably for lunch). Other than that, would love to get thoughts on breakfast and lunch places.

Also very interested in thoughts on must hit wineries. Doing the research can get overwhelming with everything available.

Everything I read says I should get reservations for things "well in advance". We're going the weekend before Memorial Day, so should I be making reservations now?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Good choice on Meadowood for a blow-out meal... After that, I would suggest Redd.

    Breakfast? Consider Boon Fly Cafe in Carneros.

    Lunch? Here are my favs:
    - Picnic food from Oxbow market
    - Goose & Gander
    - Jeanty

    You need to give us more to go on for winery suggestions: Where are you staying? What types of varietals do you like? How much are you willing to spend on tastings/wine?

    For only two days, I would say you MUST go to one of the sparkling producers; Schramsburg, Taittinger, or Chandon (in that order). Then I would heartily suggest some of the out-of-the-way, mountain wineries that require appointments and will give you a one-on-one experience. Look to Spring or Howell Mountain wineries. Lastly, if you enjoy sweet wines at all, there is nothing like Praeger Portworks near Dean & Deluca.

    3 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      +1 on getting off the Valley floor. My wife and I late-honeymooned in Napa in '09 and really enjoyed Kuleto. We're planning to go back this fall, in fact. The food & wine pairing tour at Sinskey was great, too.

      Getting a bag of snackies from Oxbow is a great suggestion, too. What you don't want us to be a slave to your reservations and lose flexibility in your day, since tours, tastings, and traffic can all take longer than you expect. Also, make sure you ask the folks behind the counters where they'd go- often they'll suggest good spots where friends are working.

      Also look into one of the "we drive your car" services. We used Napa Bee Driven and it was great. It's cheaper than a limo, the wineries don't cringe when you show up, and the driver was an excellent tour guide.

      1. re: CarrieWas218

        Thanks for the info Carrie and everyone. As to the where and varietals, we are staying in Yountville.

        My wife loves sparkling, but we are already planning on hitting Chandon. I've heard great things about Sterling and Spring Mountain as well.

        I am partial to Merlot and Syrah. I like a good Cab on the rare occasion we have steak, and we both like minerally Sauvignon Blancs.

        Hope that helps and thanks again!

        1. re: CarrieWas218

          Another +1 for the mountain wineries. I recently took some friends from out of town to Spring Mountain for a day, and it was a big hit. We visited Pride (one of my favorites, and a great place for a picnic with your Oxbow snacks), Smith-Madrone, and Keenan.

          Of those, I always recommend Pride to visitors, because I think their tasting tour is one of the best values around ($10) and the views can't be beat. I really enjoyed Smith-Madrone, though it might not be for everyone. It has a very off-the-grid vibe - the tasting is really just you and the owner in a no-frills storage room filled with wine barrels, so if you're looking for big fancy estates and tasting rooms, this isn't it. But the owner is very interesting to talk to because he's been running the winery for 30+ years. Really enjoyed their Riesling. Keenan was fine, but I think my ho-hum response has more to do with it being the end of the day and less about their wine. I'm curious to try it again before I make a final judgment.

          I also really enjoy Behrens Family, which we didn't get to visit on this last trip, and I've heard good things about Terra Valentine, which I haven't tried yet. Especially if you have multiple days in Napa, get off the valley floor and onto a mountain for one of them!

        2. I made reservations for the weekend AFTER Memorial Day about 2-3 weeks ago and things were already filling up. So I would say you should get your reservations ASAP.

          1. Redd is a very solid choice. We recently had a great lunch at Redd Wood (pizza/Italian). Jeanty, from our experience, has always been a solid choice. We've also had some pretty fine lunches at both Mustard's and Brix.

            For really informal Gott's Roadside for burgers.

            Winery visits can depend on what you like and don't like. I'd get ressies sooner rather than later.

            1. We really, really like all the Willie's and it doesn't break the bank for lunch.