This past August we flew out to Wine Country so I could take my WSET level 3 exam and of course squeeze in some wine tasting! It just so happened that the exact time of my test was during the Lightening Complex fires in Northern California. Due to the poor air quality we had to change a lot of our plans, but my exam was still scheduled so we continued with our trip and made the most of it! Check out our itinerary below to see where we stayed, ate, and tasted!
Whenever we go to Napa, we typically always fly into Sacramento. The flights are a lot cheaper and it’s only an hour drive to Napa from there! We also always rent a car, and Mo is nice enough to drive us most of the time 🙂
Our first night we stayed in Yountville. I had my exam the following morning so we wanted to be close to Downtown Napa. We stayed at the Vintage House and loved it! It’s a beautiful hotel right in the heart of Yountville with the cutest little cottages you stay in. A major plus was the prime location and the pool is open 24 hours a day!
That night we were supposed to eat at Compline Wine Bar downtown but our reservation was cancelled due to the air quality. Luckily we were able to get in at RH Yountville and it was an amazing experience! Of course those restaurants are gorgeous, but the service and food was great as well. We paired our meal with a Pinot Noir with silky mouthful and ripe red fruits.
I took my WSET Level 3 Exam at Napa Valley Wine Academy. I know some of you guys are curious about the exam, so I will definitely be sharing my experience with you very soon! Overall the exam went well, but now I play the waiting game (about 8 weeks) for my results to get back!
After my exam Mo greeted me with a bottle of Champagne and we went to Gott’s Roadside for lunch. I have heard so many good things about that restaurant so we had to go. The most important thing to know about Gott’s: It was the best burger I have ever had. No joke.
After lunch we were supposed to go to Far Niente for a wine tasting, but surprise!! They cancelled. We ended up just heading over to Sonoma and checking in at our next hotel.
I picked out Kenwood Inn & Spa for the mediterranean vibes, and I am so glad I did! You walk into a beautiful courtyard and immediately feel like you are somewhere near the Mediterranean. Each morning breakfast is complimentary and we had it delivered to our room. We also received a cheese and wine picnic every afternoon at 4pm!
That night we ate at PRESS steakhouse in Napa. We had great service and I enjoyed the patio outside, but it wasn’t the most impressive steakhouse I’ve been to! I would recommend it, but I feel like there are probably better steakhouses in the area (just my opinion).
This was supposed to be our big wine tasting day with tastings at Jordan Winery, J Vineyards, and Hamel Family wines, however we weren’t able to go to any of those because of the air quality. We were grateful to make it to a few others though!
Repris Winery was a beautiful hidden gem that I am so glad we didn’t miss. It is tucked back on the western side of the Mayacamas Mountain Range with 300 acres of vines and hidden caves. Our tasting included a tour of the property and multiple sips of their various wines. A majority of their wines are Rhône and Bordeaux varietals, so needless to say I was in my happy place! We loved our experience so much, we ended up becoming members and taking home an entire case of wine. It was awesome.
Three Sticks was our next tasting, located in Downtown Sonoma. The Adobe tasting room is a beautiful space that makes you forget you are in downtown. We tasted a Pinot Blanc, two Chardonnays and two Pinot Noirs from different vineyard sites. We loved comparing the wines and learning about the history of this place!
That night we had appetizers at the Girl and the Fig which was AMAZING. I had been wanting to try their food forever, and even just the appetizers were the bomb. After that we had dinner at El Dorado kitchen in their courtyard patio.
We headed back to Napa and started our day at Corison in the heart of St. Helena wine country. Cathy Corison, winemaker and owner, creates beautiful and elegant Cabernet Sauvignons with a focus on showcasing individual vineyard sites through each bottle. The Kronos vineyard in the picture is planted with vines that are 50 years old! Although many people tear up vines and replant them once they get to be a certain age, at Corison, Cathy enjoys working with these old vines because they have small yields but create concentrated and complex wines.
We had the pleasure of trying 2019 Cabernet Rosé, 2017 Syrah, two 2016 Cabernets, and a 2000 Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon that was still powerful and elegant at 20 years old! ??
After Corison, we then went to Gloria Ferrer, known for their sparkling wines in Carneros wine country. The drive up is spectacular and we had a gorgeous view of the vines at our table. The Cuvee was my favorite but to be honest they were all good! I can’t say it is my favorite place we’ve been, but it was fun trying somewhere new.
We then headed back up to Napa and stopped by Hall for a quick tasting. Mo was definitely in his happy place, as we tasted through various Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. The quality here is great and if you are in the mood for a big, bold cab this is your place! They also have the most gorgeous Napa Wine Country views!
We ended at Charles Krug, Napa Valley’s first winery. I enjoyed their Sauvignon blanc as well as their Cabernet and Merlot blends. By this point I couldn’t believe we had made it to four wineries in one day!
Our last meal was right next to where we started our trip, in Yountville at Bottega. It was the perfect place to end our long weekend. We filled up on some much needed (or maybe not so needed) carbs and MORE wine.
Overall we had a great trip despite the smokiness and COVID restrictions. We were as safe as we could be and hope everyone continues to stay safe from the fires and socially distant.
Looking for something unique and special to do in Napa? We loved our experience on the Napa Valley Wine Train! Read more about it here.
Thanks for checking out our itinerary! Let me know below if you have been to any of these places! As always feel free to leave comments or questions.