Going to be in SF at the beginning of June. We have a hotel in Union Square for a couple of nights (Thurs Fri) and we want to head to Napa on Saturday. We are trying to decide if we should rent a car and stay over night in Napa or if we should just take a wine tour. We fly out Sun night. Any suggestions?
How serious are you about wine? Are you going to want to visit high-end, by-appointment wineries over a couple of days or will you be happy with a more mainstream tour? Are you going to want to see more things in the Napa area on Sunday, or would you rather spend that time in San Francisco? A third alternative is that since most wineries close at 5, 6 at the latest, it's quite possible to rent a car, visit some wineries, have an early-ish dinner and drive back to the city.
I would stay the night in Napa and dine there instead of trying to head back to the city after just a day tour.
Tell us what kind of foods you like and what your budget is...
Unless it's last minute, many Napa Valley hotels require a 2 night minimum stay on weekends, at times waived when it becomes closer to the date. Supply and demand enters into the formula and some hotels may be more flexible, however in June you will be into the tourist season. I'm not saying impossible, just something to note.
Renting a car for the day and traveling back at night makes efficient use of limited time. You won't get caught in Sunday traffic coming back into the city, especially if you have a plane to catch, and will be able to enjoy another full day in San Francisco, if that's important to you.
Thanks for all the responses. We are not super serious about wine - so not hung up on where we go. Really just looking to maximize the few days we have. I get to SF fairly regularly so I am trying to accomodate my friend who really wants to stay in Napa. Any restaurant recommendations in Napa? Nothing outrageously expensive but worth going? Also any absolute musts in SF? We were planning on trying to get to the Slanted Door and Fleur de Lis.....would love to get an insiders recommendation for a great restaurant...
Recent Napa threads:
Honeymoon in Napa: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/898192
Itinerary that includes Mountain wineries: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896735
Napa cheap eats: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896224
Napa sampler: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888984
Napa restaurants with a view: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/889127
Mid-priced Napa dinners: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888418