Known around the world for their sublime new world wines, Napa Valley and the surrounding regions boast some of the best bottles this side of the Atlantic. With a dizzying amount of wineries to visit, and hundreds of scenic miles to cover, it’s definitely not easy to choose where to begin. I was lucky enough to see the sights using my own two legs, but that’s a whole other post…And while exploring on foot is great exercise, it is California, so snag a convertible and take the top down. Here’s my top picks for Napa Valley.Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford is a destination and well worth the trip. Located just a stretch north of Napa, Cakebread carries some stellar bottles, with a few chards and a sauv blanc for their whites, but the real deal is the reds, like the cabernet sauvignon or their fleet of Pinot Noirs. Make sure you book ahead, you’ll need a reservation at this winery for a tasting. Make sure you leave time to check out the gardens and grounds. Half the fun of visiting wineries is checking out the vines and gardens, home to colour explosions of flowers used as bait to keep pests from the grapes.
Nearby Oakville is home to Groth, and if you’re like me and love your reds big and bold, then don’t miss Groth. This family run winery makes some of the best cabernet sauvignons out there, and tastings are intimate and engaging.
The grounds here are pastel and pink, with onsite bee hives keeping flowers blooming and vines thriving. Groth has occupied this 12 acre site since the early 80’s and continues to crank out award wining wines, all of which are made following sustainable farming practices, including important water conservation methods, a practice that is vital in parched California.
B&B’s dot the St Helena Hwy that leads you to both of these estates, so consider popping into a few and riding bikes in between. Most wineries are happy to ship your wine to your hotel free of charge.
We stayed at the Lodge at Sonoma, which had a pool (yes!) and free onsite daily wine tastings (yes!).
I was not compensated at all for this post- these are just my opinions on one of my favourite places on earth!