Field trips with zero Internet service make a person go incognito and that’s just what happened to me last week, but sometimes decompressing from the Internet is a good thing. My field trip to the Napa Valley was for my daughter’s birthday, and I have to say…she knows how to plan a spectacular birthday. If you like beautiful places and good wine…this post is for you. And if you ever plan to go to Napa and do some wine tasting, feel free to borrow our itinerary, because it’s a good one.
The Napa Valley is really one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. It seems that all areas that grow wine share this commonality. Returning to California is always emotional for me, but this time it was Napa, so you know sun, good food and velvety wine is going to be a daily occurrence.
We’ll begin at Joseph Phelps Winery, which is simply one of the most serene settings I’ve ever experienced. It’s positively peaceful and the wine is award winning. Treat yourself to this tasting. I was happy here.
This is the one and only pic I’ll share from this trip.
The reason for my trip…my girl. The view at Joseph Phelps Winery.
From here we sprinted off to grab a quick bite to eat at Dean & Deluca – possibly the best gourmet food store – EVER! Then we headed to Failla for our afternoon tasting. Lovely small winery with delectable wines. Kaitlyn and I had a barrel tour. We rounded out the day at Bistro Jeanty…one of my very favorite French bistro restaurants in the USA! I’m going quickly through our trip but will let the photos tell the bigger story.
K’s friends arrived and Saturday we headed out for a picnic at Rutherford Hill Winery. My husband and I had been there before and this setting offers a stunning view of the Valley. Again…picnic food from Dean & Deluca and wine, of course.
Spectacular view from Rutherford Hill Winery picnic area.
Our afternoon consisted of a private tour of Chappellet Winery where we had the good fortune of touring the actual vineyards and sipping on their award-winning wines. This totally sustainable winery is off the beaten path on Pritchard Hill, but is so worth the visit.
On the grounds of Chappellet.
Next on the wine tasting extravaganza tour was Del Dotto Estate Winery, which is, again, not on the main drag. (Personally I think staying off the main street in Napa leads to more satisfying experience.)
Del Dotto offers cave barrel tastings and is absolutely fascinating! At Chappellet you learn about how the grapes are grown and the wine is produced and at Del Dotto, you learn the intricate details about how the barrels shape the wine. Wines taste totally different when aged in French Oak vs. American Oak and the way I know is because you experience a side-by-side tasting of the exact same wine aged in two separate barrels. Fascinating.
If you get claustrophobic, this might not be the tour for you. Caves the whole way.
We rounded out the afternoon with a little cabana relaxation and a leisurely tasting at Clos du Val with a couple of games of bocce ball.
Our final tasting on Kaitlyn’s birthday was at Cliff Lede Vineyards where we sat on a patio which felt more like the south of France than Napa. Lovely little vineyard offering tasty wines.
Of course we ate – a lot and not necessarily what is on my normal diet. Food is an integral part of the Napa Valley experience and you’ll have no problem finding outstanding food whether gourmet cuisine is your desire or just a simple burger made from grass fed beef. Everything is elevated just a couple of notches in Napa, which is one of the reasons it is now the #1 destination spot in the United States.
My girl on her birthday…so happy. She has a way of lighting up a room or a vineyard!
As always…saying good-bye to K is the most difficult. In fact I hate it, but as you’ll read very soon…Franklin now feels like home and I love returning to the peacefulness that is Franklin.
If you want info on restaurants leave a comment and I promise to share with you.