Wine Enthusiast

ARTICLE | October 5, 2017

10 Places to Visit in Napa Valley

Napa Valley is defined by its two mountain ranges, the Mayacamas to the west and Vacas to the east. It offers a varied topography, from the valley floor along the namesake Napa River to sloping alluvial fans and steep mountain ridges that reach up to 2,600 feet. The region’s 16 appellations include a multitude of microclimates, from Carneros in the cooler south to warmer Calistoga at the northernmost point.

5 Calistoga Destinations

Whether looking for a day to pamper yourself at a spa or to hike a mountain in a state park, Calistoga offers the utmost in luxury and outdoor adventure. Home to hot springs and a geyser, Calistoga offers resorts, spas and its famous mud baths as well as gourmet food and wine. Many tasting rooms cluster in the town, which is filled with early-20th-century buildings. The appellation is known for Cabernet, old-vine Zinfandel and Charbono.

  1. Robert Louis Stevenson State Park

    Named for the Treasure Island author who spent time locally, this is a serious place for hiking. It’s worth the effort to enjoy views from the summit of 4,343-foot Mount Saint Helena.

  2. Solbar

    On the grounds of the sprawling Solage spa and resort, this comfortable, Michelin-rated restaurant/bar is the best way to relax poolside or fireside without an overnight stay.

  3. T-Vine Winery

    Quiet T-Vine does things differently, offering Charbono, Grenache, Carignane and Zinfandel from hallowed vineyards spread across the Napa Valley and beyond. Do the Sense of Place tasting highlighting six single-vineyard reds.

  4. Schramsberg Vineyards

    Set at an historic 19th-century estate, Schramsberg ranks among California’s finest producers of Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine. Vintner Hugh Davies honors the trail paved by his parents, Jack and Jamie, who aimed for the stars when they restored this property in 1965.

  5. Brasswood Bar + Bakery + Kitchen

    Gourmet comfort food comes with an Italian accent with dishes like papardelle with short-rib sugo and herb-crusted lamb chops. It also offers complimentary corkage, which is a good excuse to stop by the Bottle Shop first.

    5 Carneros Destinations

    The Napa side of Carneros remains rugged, but is home to a vibrant wine scene embracing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along with a bustling culinary scene.  Fog-cooled and refreshingly undeveloped, these windswept, rolling hills once grew grapes almost exclusively for sparkling wine. The Napa side of Carneros is changing, as many famous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growers build wineries of their own. Meanwhile, the riverfront city of Napa has a booming restaurant scene.

    1. Hyde de Villaine

      A partnership between grower Larry Hyde and Aubert de Villaine of Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the winery makes elegantly nuanced Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, all from Hyde Vineyards.

    2. Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia

      Next door to Oxbow, this new restaurant helmed by Culinary Institute chefs spotlights global flavors and fresh ingredients.

    3. Oxbow Public Market

      This is a wonderful place to wander, eat, drink and shop. It offers everything from cheese, wine and cupcakes to sushi and beef. It’s also home to a Gott’s Roadside outpost.

    4. Boon Fly Café

      A favorite place of locals, especially winemakers, this cozy spot is a draw in  the morning for its donuts, eggs Benedict and spicy bacon Bloody Marys. Lunch leans toward flatbreads and heartier options.

    5. Domaine Carneros

      A French-style chateau perched on a hill surrounded by vines, this is a peaceful, pretty oasis. Enjoy sparkling wines served tableside and paired with caviar, charcuterie and select cheeses.

      *Photos by Meg Baggott

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