3 Things to Expect in Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley…not for the budget friendly. However, absolutely perfect for a Valentine’s Day splurge. After 24 years of living in the Bay Area, I finally made it out to the famous wine country destination. Coming from wine tasting in Livermore (practically my backyard), I was pleasantly surprised with my adventure to Napa. Hopefully this post helps you plan your next wine tasting itinerary from the eyes of a 24 year old.

 1. Atmosphere

Napa was hands down absolutely gorgeous. Hills and vineyards went on for miles. Brett and I took the advice of my Aunt and Uncle and stayed at the Wine County Inn. It was their favorite spot and I can see why. The property is small, quaint, and perfect for a romantic getaway. Rooms are upscale and you can enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine on your balcony. Coffee and tea were served 24 hours and they also provided a complimentary breakfast array of vegetable frittata, sausages, pastries, and a platter of the sweetest fruit daily!

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You can find wineries that look like castles out of a movie or small mom and pop ones that give you a bit more sip for your buck. As I was searching for recommendations, many mentioned V. Sattui. They have a great tasting room with a full deli to purchase food, wine, and crafty gifts. Outside was filled with picnic benches and stringed lights with large trees shading the area. It is big enough for large groups and dog-friendly.

Part of the champagne campaign? Go to Mumm! Take a picture at their famous sign overlooking the vineyard (pictured above). I won’t over exaggerate how great their champagne is but the view makes up for it.

2. Wines

I wish I could review every wine in Napa but I’ll just add that to my endless bucket list. V. Sattui had great wine (with one exception). I was obsessed with their chardonnay. It was buttery and smooth. If you are a red wine connoisseur, their Pinot is for you. You choose from 5 wines on a big list to try. They were raving about their Rosè as it was their top seller. Rosè all dayno way- was that a joke? I guess if you’re 12 and like grape juice! It was WAY too sweet and that’s coming from the ultimate poolside strawberry daiquiri drinker. Stay clear of that one and you will love the rest! Tip – you and your wine tasting partner should each get different wines to try so you can share and try a total of 10!

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Mumm! As I mentioned earlier, it was not outstanding champagne but if you’re not picky like me you will love it for the atmosphere. I guess by now you can tell Brett and I care a bit more about finding the perfect vibe than being a wine connoisseur. There are a bunch of upscale wineries in Napa (some with bottles starting at $200) but that’s a plane ticket somewhere so I will be holding off on those ones.

3. Price

Back to my first sentence – not for the budget-friendly. Be prepared to splurge a bit (but that’s okay who doesn’t like a treat once in a while). Tasting fees start at $25 a person. V. Sattui and Mumm were on the lower side compared to most but maybe that’s just me coming from Livermore where most tasting fees are around $10. Between two wineries and a bottle of wine, it was around $150 for two people. Add dinner at Farmstead (YUM! awesome and modern vibe for dinner in a barn) and your room you are spending upwards of $800. Tip – do your research and plan it out ahead of time. This will keep you on a budget and know whats coming. Know the wineries you are planning to go to and be sure to make reservations! Napa fills up – even on a weekday!

Napa is a must-see destination for anyone who loves great wine, food, and countryside views. Grab your girlfriends or your loved one and get to tasting!

Xo, Nicole

P.S. for those who are asking my jacket is from Anthropologie and shoes are from Nordstrom! It is the softest jacket you can style with almost anything!

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