Wine & Travel

Snooth User: Angelgirl1982

Napa Valley Wineries

Posted by Angelgirl1982, Jul 15, 2010.

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the site so I'm partially just checking out how the forums work around here.  I was wondering if anyone has much experience with Napa Valley wine tasting?  I'm thinking about going with my sister soon. 

Can anyone make recommendations for wineries, getting to and from the wine tasting without driving ourselves, or an inexpensive -but not dirty - hotel we can stay in?


Reply by outthere, Jul 15, 2010.

Best chance is to stay in the valley proper. St Helena is central to the Napa Valley. The El Bonita is a renovated art deco motel with rooms starting at $119 in the summer months or $79 in the off season (double occupancy). Probably the most reasonable rooms in the area.

There are a ton of wineries and tasting rooms within walking distance or even by bicycle. Depending on your budget you could rent a service to drive you around to various spots. Check out this site and then Yelp the businesses to get feedback.

Where to go depends on your tastes and your budget.

Reply by Angelgirl1982, Jul 15, 2010.

Thanks so much!  Very helpful.  You're so fancy with your built in links!  I'm impressed. Is there a wine that will make me smart enough to do that?!

Reply by dmcker, Jul 15, 2010.


Welcome to Snooth, Angelgirl, and have fun in Napa! There's plenty of opportunity to do that.

Here are a couple of recent Forum threads that you should find useful:

 Going to Napa

Napa Tips for a Rookie...

Reply by Piccolo503, Jul 15, 2010.


Reply by outthere, Jul 15, 2010.

"Thanks so much!  Very helpful.  You're so fancy with your built in links!  I'm impressed. Is there a wine that will make me smart enough to do that?!"

Just highlight the text you want to turn into a link, I highlighted "make me smart" then the chain link icon next to the underline text icon below the reply box will com to life. Click on it and then add the address of the link you want your text to relate to.

Try it without the wine, I haven't found one yet that makes me smart. Handsome yes, smart no. ;-)

Reply by Angelgirl1982, Jul 16, 2010.

Haha!  That's funny. 

Reply by StevenBabb, Jul 16, 2010.

welcome to snooth!

hey outthere, maybe we could try and market the new "smart wine".... i tend to feel rather philosophical after a bottle or two...  : )

@Angel.... what type of wine do you like or usually drink?

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jul 16, 2010.

Welcome to Snooth Angel!

Lot's of good tips here.

And coffee is not a vice, it's a necessity!



Reply by Angelgirl1982, Jul 16, 2010.


-For reds I like cab.  Some favorites are Conn Creek Limited Release 2005; J Lohr Paso Robles; Dancing Bull 2007.

-For whites, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Gwerts, occassionally chardonnay.  I like Alpha Omega Chardonnay; Fetzer Gwerts; Estancia Pinot Grigio.

I like to drink Cabs in the fall and winter and Whites in the spring and summer.  Or the occasional wheat beer...  Am I allowed to admit to that here?!

Which wines do you enjoy?

Reply by John Andrews, Jul 16, 2010.

@AngelGirl ... lots of experience within this forum in the Napa area.  Some of us are even local(ish).  

Beer consumption is throughly respected here ... some great microbrewies in California to help you too!

You'll definitely get your Cab fill in Napa but the whites you like are more likely to be found in Sonoma. 

I'm currently helping a couple of Snoothers out with visit ideas so feel free to ping me. 

Reply by admiral44, Jul 16, 2010.

There are a lot of wine tours that you can sign up for that will help with the driving but unfortunately I have found that if you want to go to some of the best ones driving is a neccesity.  Just spit?  Google wine etc...napa...and you will find maps and sites etc..Wine valley lodge $50 a night.  There is also a wine train but you dont get off you just go through Napa and drink.

Reply by madmanny, Jul 18, 2010.

Some of the B&Bs have free bikes for clientele.  You can cover quite a few vineyards by bike.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 19, 2010.

New rule: when someone asks about visiting Napa, we ask what wine they like first then we recommend places to go. And then I tell them to go to Sonoma County anyway! 

Second new rule:  When you come back from a trip to Northern California, tell all of us who live out here what worked and what didn't.  Not that any dispute in the wine world (like where to go your first time) can ever be resolved, but some of us actually haven't been back to places in a while.  (Like Mondavi--there, I think I am first this time to recommend the tour--where I admit I haven't been in a bunch of years.)  Also good to know if our faves are treating the non-regulars well.

That said, since you like Cab for red, I say Napa over Sonoma for a change.  The whites you like, probably not Napa or Sonoma, except Sonoma for some types of Chardonnay.  White's not my big area anyway.  I would try to get to the different wineries that bottle mountain Cabernet--a bit different from what you stated you liked, but truly Cab-alicious--and really get a sense of how those differ.  Stags Leap, Prtichard Hill, Howell Mountain, Diamond Mountain, really small but noticeable differences that will make you appreciate what Cab can do. To my way of thinking, those and a few Oakvilles are the age worthy California wines. 

@madmanny, glad to see someone is backing me up on the bike thing.  Again, don't try the climb up to Rombauer with panniers full of wine, and a few glasses in you.

But we all agree: Silverado Trail side of the valley, have a meal at Tra Vigne, don't try to pack too much in, and, if you are buying wine, protect it from the heat.

Enjoy the Valley.  Lots of naysayers these days, but it's still where the great wines of the New World are most heavily represented.

Reply by StevenBabb, Jul 19, 2010.

i enjoy all kinds of wine... it all depends on what/where/when....

i'm going to throw three wineries out there that i love to visit....

domaine carneros.... great sparkling wine, good pinot noir, and a perfect place to start you trip into napa valley....

robert sinskey... awsome terroir driven wines, and they have an on sight chef to pair small bites with your tastings...

silver oak.... you mentioned that you like cabernet, and cabernet is all they do... and in my opinion, they do it well.....

grgich hills estate.... mike grgich helped start it all in the valley... they have a great tasting room and their staff is awesome...

these are just a few.... there is great debate over visiting napa or sonoma, and personally.... and i know i'm going to get some "feedback" on this... but i prefer napa valley over sonoma county.... there... i said it.... i grew up there, and i prefer it......


Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 19, 2010.

@StevenBabb: No, Napa is great.  I am being half-serious about going to Sonoma.  I think Napa is great if she's a Cab person, and I said as much.  I think your choices were great.  Of course, Silver Oak figured out and set up camp Sonoma a while ago, too, for all of us who know Napa is done.  (kidding! kidding!)

I actually am kind of laughing that we now have a controversy over whether people who say they want to see Napa should be told to go to Sonoma.  An embarassment of riches.  Could you seriously have that conversation anywhere else?  Could someone say, I want to go to the Rhone, and we'd all say, no go to Burgundy.  Maybe CDP v. Hermitage?

I propose that we form an informal North Bay winery visit council, and we have representatives for each side of the debate.  HondaJohn and I will take RRV/DCV respectively, dmcker takes Sonoma proper, StevenBabb takes Napa, and anyone can join in--sorry, I can't remember everyone who contributed to the last thread.  Then partisans select wineries from their chosen areas, and we all go.  Afterwards, if we can keep it all straight, we debate and try to come to a consensus.  That will fail, a few people will change sides, and we will all have had a bellyful of great wine and food.  Then we go back to making recommendations like these, that sort of go, "On the one hand..."

Reply by outthere, Jul 19, 2010.

@StevenBabb: You forgot Quintessa, they have a great tour, a very interesting facility and a real cool winding cave. 26 various blocks of Cab, Cab Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Carmenère. they do Quintessa Estate and a touch of Illumination Sauv Blanc. It's out on Silverado Trail just north of Rutherford.

Need appointment for tour. I have one of those "If you ever need anything call me" business cards from one of the partners. PM me for direct contact info.

Now, back to Foxall and his wine wars. I'm in. I'll always prop my hood. RRV rocks.

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