When my best friend and former college roommate told us she was getting married, there was no question that Napa Valley would be the perfect destination for her bachelorette party. After all, wine country encompasses more than 400 wineries, breathing-taking views, delicious farm to table food options, and perfect weather all year-round. What’s not to love? Naturally, ten of us packed our bags, cameras, sunglasses and prepared our palates to experience some of the most delightful wine we had yet to encounter.
Our journey through the fertile soils of Napa Valley began at Castello di Amorosa, appropriately named as we immediately fell in love with the beautiful medieval inspired Tuscan castle built by winemaker Dario Sattui. Spanning over 171 acres, the Castle sits amongst luscious green forest and hills, a delicate stream and shimmering lake. Our first (of many) tastings was a careful selection of hand-crafted wines sourced from their top vineyards paired with a self-guided tour of the main tasting bar and Knight’s Hall below ground.
Next, we made the short drive over to Sterling Vineyards. A quick aerial tram overseeing panoramic views of California led us to this hilltop winery, where we took another self-guided tour that led us through the winemaking facilities.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the tour was to see the massive barrels and witness a sample of the wine-making process. After our excursion through Sterling, we fueled our appetites over sandwiches and omelets at Gillwoods Café, a dainty American restaurant in the heart of St. Helena. Our afternoon commenced with visits to Beringer Vineyards and V. Sattui Winery, elaborate photoshoots, and a pleasant buzz to carry us through dinner.
Our second day commenced with a sampling at Robert Mondavi, located in Oakville, California and home to over a dozen acres of vineyard, elaborate sculptures and intricate artwork. The grounds were clean and the staff were especially educational in offering us an eclectic mix of red and white wines. What I especially loved about this winery was the expansive knowledge the sommelier had and the consistently delicious wine that was enjoyed by other bachelorette parties around us too! After over two hours of roaming Mondavi, we made our way to the quaint village of Yountville where Jessup Cellars resides, perhaps my favorite part of the entire trip.
Located inside an art gallery (which is a unique and intimate setting compared to some of our other tastings), this experience was unmatched! The tasting room consisted of an elaborate table set-up, and a guided wine, artisan cheese and chocolate paring inside the tasteful gallery. We had what felt like a private wine event where we were able to openly laugh, chat, and play some games all while enjoying each other’s company. Jessup Cellars has a charming environment filled with enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable servers who made our experience worthwhile.
Needless to say, there are copious wineries and restaurants to pick from when attending Napa, but some of our favorite restaurants included Bottega (high-end Italian cuisine and the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever tasted), massive burritos and Mexican cuisine at Ana’s Cantina (also in St. Helena), and delicious cocktails at Archer Hotel which remain among my favorite. To live vicariously and to get a glimpse of this trip, check out the pictures below and be sure to visit on your next trip to Napa Valley!