When my husband and I were planning our honeymoon we wanted to visit a place that wasn’t a beach location because we had just spent a week in Cabo getting married. We settled on Napa Valley for the first week of August and it ended up being the perfect decision. Little did we know we were arriving just at the beginning of harvest season. In Napa Valley harvest season begins in August and ends in October. The weather was warm when we arrived but there was a cool breeze in the air. We were there during the week, so we avoided the large crowds. (It does get a bit crowded on weekends.)
I completely fell in love with Napa Valley. The food is amazing, the landscaping is green and lush and of course the wine is what it’s all about. We made our rounds to a few wineries but I’ll tell you about the three that really stand out in our memories.
On our first day in Napa we drove up to Oakville to visit the Robert Mondavi Winery. The drive up from Napa to Oakville was really beautiful. We made a pit stop at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville for a quick bite of their famous baguette and it did not disappoint. Once at the winery we took a walking tour that ends with a wine tasting. A tour guide walks you through the vineyard, cellar and barrel aging room. The history of the winery is impressive. We also learned just how innovative their wine making techniques really are. The wine tasting was a blast and we couldn’t leave without buying a bottle of their famous Cabernet Sauvignon.
V. Sattui Winery is located in St. Helena. We didn’t get to do a tour or tasting here but we did visit the artisan deli and picnic grounds. I will never forget the picnic we had here. We sat on a cute picnic bench surrounded by green vines and flowers. The deli food was fresh and their olive bar made my heart skip a beat. Their delicious deli food is meant to be paired with their wine so we picked up a bottle or four and had the best picnic. When in Napa… right?
Last but not least Castello di Amorosa. This winery is a new Tuscan castle built with old material flown in from Europe. Gargoyles, drawbridge, moat and all! As soon as you drive through the gates to this winery you are transported into the 13th century. The light fixtures and plumbing fixtures are all antiques. The designer in me was in heaven. We took the tour of the castle and chose the wine tasting paired with chocolate. This winery produces high quality delicious wine in the most impressive barely rooms I’ve ever seen. I became a huge fan of their rose wines. La Fantasia is one of them, sparkling wine with aromas of cherry, exotic flowers and wild berries. Is your mouth watering yet? I can’t even tell you how many bottles we brought home from this winery but we are still opening a bottle every year on our anniversary. Also, if you sign up for their wine club you get special invitations to lavish events they hold inside the castle. At the end of July they are hosting Hot Havana Nights, a Cuban themed event with dancing, music and Cuban cigars. In September they have a harvest celebration that includes a grape stomping competition. This place is an absolute must if you are in Napa.
I arrived in Napa a wine lover but I left with a true appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into making it. Every winery is equally devoted to making the best quality wine. If you’re lucky enough to visit during harvest season you get to experience the entire process from beginning to end.