Napa Valley – Northern California

“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.”
– Plautus

Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley is undeniably one of the most naturally beautiful destinations in the world. Located approximately one hour north of San Francisco, the world-renowned wine and tourist destination is visited by millions of people every year. It’s an ideal place to get away from it all, relax, and have fun. Visit the charming towns of Napa Valley – Yountville (one of our favorites), St. Helena, Oakville, Rutherford, Napa and Calistoga. 

Fun Napa Valley Attractions

With over 500 wineries and tasting rooms, gourmet restaurants, hot-air ballooning, fine art galleries, boutique shopping, and luxurious spas, it’s no wonder that Napa Valley has become a magnet for tourists and locals alike. Fun attractions include: Napa Valley Wine Train, Calistoga’s “Old Faithful” Geyser, Hot Springs and Mud Baths, Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, de Rosa Preserve, Napa’s Riverfront and downtown area, Napa Valley Museum, Oxbow Public Market, Napa Premium Outlets, and V Marketplace in Yountville. Scroll down to see a list of our favorite Napa Valley wineries.

Yountville and Calistoga

Yountville – “Culinary Capital of the Valley”

Yountville is conveniently located just one hour northeast of San Francisco (off Hwy 29). The historic town was founded in 1855 by George C. Yount. Today, it is one of Napa Valley’s most popular destinations. For its size, there’s no other place in the world that competes with its fabulous gourmet restaurants and premium wineries. Yountville is the epicenter of fine dining in Napa Valley. In fact, it has become known as the “Culinary Capital of the Valley.” Foodies won’t want to miss a meal at any of Yountville’s incredible restaurants. Many are Michelin-rated, including the world-famous French Laundry. Built in the 1890’s as a French steam laundry, today the French Laundry is considered one of the nation’s most highly-acclaimed restaurants. It was twice named “the best restaurant in the world.” Dining there is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will remember forever. We’ve had the pleasure of dining there twice over the years and each time has been a truly memorable occasion. 

One of the things that we love most about Yountville is that everything is within easy walking distance, so you don’t need to drive anywhere. It’s home to quaint B&Bs, fabulous inns and resorts, relaxing spas, tasting rooms, specialty shops and fine galleries. Enjoy wine-tasting during the day and a nice bottle of wine with dinner. And don’t worry about driving; just leave your car at your hotel.

Calistoga – Hot Springs, Spas and Mud Baths

Calistoga is located at the far north of Napa Valley. It’s about a 90-minute drive from San Francisco and Sacramento. And about a 45-minute drive from Napa’s Silverado Trail, or Highway 29. Calistoga is a renowned tourist destination. It’s famous for its soothing and rejuvenating Hot Springs, Spas and Mud Baths.

Must-See Napa Valley Wineries

Here are a few of our favorite Napa Valley Wineries:

  • Castello Di Amorosa
    This stunning medieval Tuscan castle is perched on a hillside in the heart of wine country, offering breathtaking views of Napa Valley. On September 28, 2020, the winery’s Farmhouse building containing 120,000 bottles of wine was completely destroyed in Napa Valley’s Glass Fire. Thankfully, the castle and underground cellars were spared and the winery is open for business as usual.
  • Chateau Montelena Winery
    Reminiscent of a French chateau, the winery overlooks a Chinese garden and serene Jade Lake. The winery is famous for their 1973 Chardonnay that won top prize in the 1976 Paris Tasting, as depicted in the movie “Bottle Shock.”
  • Silver Oak
    We love their world-class Cabernet and it’s one of the few wineries where you can “taste as you tour” the vineyards.
  • Sterling Vineyards
    An aerial gondola (the only one of its kind in Napa Valley) carries visitors up the hill  to the winery. Enjoy scenic views along the way.
  • V. Sattui Winery 
    Allow yourself plenty of time to take a self-guided tour, enjoy wine-tasting, shop for souvenirs, and pick up some delicious cheeses and food at their Artisan Deli & Marketplace for an impromptu lunch in their shaded picnic grounds.

Other popular Napa Valley wineries include:

  • Beaulieu Vineyards
  • Bennett Lane Winery
  • Benziger Family Winery
  • Castello Di Amorosa
  • Charles Krug Winery
  • Chateau Montelena Winery
  • Clos Pegase
  • Cuvaison Winery
  • Domaine Carneros
  • Domaine Chandon
  • Envy Wines
  • Far Niente
  • Franciscan Vineyards
  • Francis Ford Coppola Winery
  • Girard
  • Goosecross Cellars
  • Groth Vineyards
  • Hess Collection
  • Jacuzzi Winery
  • Joseph Phelps
  • Markham Vineyards
  • Merryvale Vineyards
  • Opus One

  • Peju
  • Pride Mountain Vineyards
  • Robert Mondavi Winery
  • Schramsberg Vineyards
  • Silverado Vineyards
  • Sterling Vineyards
  • Sutter Home
  • Trefethen Vineyards
  • Twomey Cellars
  • V. Sattui Winery
  • Vincent Arroyo Winery

Book Napa Valley Sightseeing Tours, Day Trips and Fun Things To Do

Hop aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train and enjoy a fabulous 3-hour gourmet lunch or dinner excursion along Napa Valley’s scenic vineyards. Take a thrilling Wine Country Hot-Air Balloon Ride over Napa Valley. This is a fun adventure that you will remember forever. Take in the sights of Napa Valley on an open-air Guided Wine Trolly Tour. Book a Full-Day Bike Tour and visit three Napa Valley wineries. Learn about the wine-making process and enjoy tastings (at your own expense). Enjoy a Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour through Napa Valley. Tour includes a complimentary picnic lunch.  Cheers!

Find Napa Valley Sightseeing Tours, Day Trips and Fun Things To Do

Grapes on the vine, Napa Valley, CA

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The Best Time To Visit Napa Valley

Harvest or “Crush” Season

The best time to visit Napa Valley is during Harvest or “Crush” Season, when the grapes are picked. Harvest Season can vary, depending on the weather, from late August/mid-September to mid-October. It’s also peak tourist season so expect crowds.

Yountville Festival of Lights

Our two favorite times to visit Napa Valley are during the Harvest Season and over the Holidays (during Yountville’s Festival of Lights).

Update: 2020 Fire 

During harvest season in late September 2020, Napa Valley experienced the most destructive fire to ever hit California. Napa’s Glass Fire damaged or destroyed over 30 wineries, nearly 800 homes and numerous commercial buildings, including the famed 3-Michelin-star Restaurant at Meadowood resort. 

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