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Oct 28, 2013 08:30 PM

Napa Itinerary for November - any feedback would be appreciated!

My husband and I are traveling to Napa in late November - I have spent a good amount of time researching and reading all of the helpful information included in previous posts to come up with the preliminary itinerary below.

Generally speaking, we have some experience tasting wines (not a ton), but are not terribly picky with respect to varietal or style - we are looking for a combination of some well known wineries as well as some smaller, more "off the beaten" path places. We are open to purchasing wine (particularly at the smaller wineries) and are open to various price ranges. With respect to food, we enjoy dining out (and often plan vacations in large part around food), and our goal with respect to restaurants would be getting a variety of different places (both casual and upscale). We will be staying in St. Helena for three nights (and will essentially have one full tasting day and two half days - we have a few other sightseeing/spa activities planned). Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, particularly with respect to whether any of this seems overly ambitious from a scheduling standpoint and/or whether we are missing out on any places in the near vicinity that we should visit in lieu of one of the current wineries listed. Thanks in advance!

Breakfast/early lunch @ Boon Fly
Frog’s Leap
Smith Madrone*
Dinner @ French Laundry

Breakfast @ Model Bakery
Schramsberg tour @ 11:30 am
Lunch @ Gott’s Roadside
Robert Keenan or Terra Valentine (undecided between these two)
Cocktails @ Auberge (if time allows)
Dinner @ Goose & Gander

Lunch @ Cook
Far Niente
Cliff Lede
Robert Sinskey
Dinner @ either Redd or Bottega

Lunch @ Grace's Table before driving back to SFO

*Unfortunately, Smith Madrone is closed on Sundays - I have read good things and think it would be worth the drive there on Saturday prior to checking into our hotel, but would be interested to know whether others disagree (or whether I may be underestimating the time it will take to get there).

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  1. It's quite a drive. It's fun to hang out with them - and they offer a quality riesling. Unless you really like riesling .. . I'm not sure it's quite worth the drive for them?

    You may want to try:

    Trespass or

    for a similar feel without having to go up the mountain.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goldangl95

      Thanks - that is very helpful. I was more interested in the feel/experience (as opposed to a particular affinity for riesling), so I will definitely check out Trespass and Corison as it sounds like those may be more convenient. Much appreciated!

    2. There are all sorts of wonderful wineries close by to Frog's Leap, so I'd go to one of the them. Caymus, Quinessa, Shafer, Hartwell, Pine Ridge.

      Even Far Niente, Cliff Lede, or Sinskey -- if you want to shift those to the same day as Frog's Leap.

      I'd plan your Spring Mountain day a little better, with another of its wineries. Kennan is good, Schweiger, Pride, Barnett, etc.

      Or, even plan another Diamond Mountain District winery on the same day as Schramsberg. Von Strasser is excellent, Reverie is right next door. Diamond Mountain Vineyards is one of the most wineries in all the world. Also, Dyer is on the same mountain.

      Just group your visits geographically. Plan one picnic per day (lunch).

      8 Replies
      1. re: maria lorraine

        "Diamond Mountain Vineyards is one of the most wineries in all the world."


        1. re: macsak

          ooops...I'm guilty of typing while tired and not proofreading!

          Try this instead

          "Diamond Creek wines, with their vineyard designates, are some of the most sought after/revered/respected/prized wines in all the world." I'm not sure they offer tours or tastings, but if you know their wines, and like them, give them a call.

        2. re: maria lorraine

          Thanks, Maria. With respect to the Spring Mountain day, assuming we go the picnic route rather than stopping for lunch, is four wineries manageable? If so, it sounds like we could either add another Diamond Mountain or Spring Mountain winery. We have an afternoon appointment at Pride - between, Keenan, Schweiger and Barnett do you have any thoughts as to which one (or two) of those might be best? Thanks again.

          1. re: ashleyyates

            From what I've found, Pride has the best picnicking areas.

              1. re: maria lorraine

                We declined to picnic at Keenan because the picnic tables were both somewhat inconveniently located and not really in the best of areas.

                Schweiger and Barnett due to their location may also have good picnic areas.

                I really like Pride's picnic areas because there are two if not three picnic areas. There's the ones up the hill from the tasting room that look over the valley, there's the ones you need to drive to that are out by the ruins of the old winery, and (but I can't remember) I think there's a couple picnic tables right by the tasting room. It's a lot easier to find a place that fells "away."

            1. re: ashleyyates

              Pride takes about 1 hour to taste/tour. We always picnic at Schweiger when we go up to the mountain. They have a really nice balcony off their tasting room (beautiful views) and they will bring the tasting to you while you picnic. They also have some tables on their lawn. Keenan is not great for picnics IMO. Schweiger and Pride are my favorites up there and usually we only do 2-3, 4 might be too much.