Where to Eat and Drink in the Napa Valley
Just over an hour outside of San Francisco lies one of the country’s most-visited wine regions: the Napa Valley.
Photo By: Bob McClenahan ©2014 Bob McClenahan
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Photo By: Steve Kepple ©Steve Kepple
Where to Eat and Drink in the Napa Valley
Where to Stay
Where to Eat Dinner
Where to Eat Lunch or Brunch
Snacks and Provisions
For Farm Lovers
738 Main St, St. Helena, CA 94574
Focused on Bordelaise-style wines, Long Meadow Ranch Winery crafts elegant, food-friendly wine with an organic, integrated farming system. At their 650-acre Mayacamas Estate winery and caves, they produce wine and premium olive oils, as well as raise grass-fed Highland cattle. At the Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, their estate-grown wines are paired with organic produce for ingredient-driven American farmhouse cooking. The onsite General Store is a place to taste and shop for artisanal goods, provisions and produce.
For Something Unique
The Barrel Blending Experience at Conn Creek ($95) is a unique way to experience the terroir of the Napa Valley. Guests will learn about, taste and blend wines from the many distinctive regions of the area before blending their own bottle of wine to take home, complete with a customizable label.
For the History
1100 Larkmead Ln., Calistoga, CA 94515
The Firebelle Merlot blend at Larkmead Vineyards isn’t just an incendiary name — it’s a tribute to the winery’s founder, Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a pioneering 19th-century tomboy who earned the nickname Firebelle Lil as an honorary San Francisco firefighter before moving to Napa to start her winery. Now set on 150 acres just outside Calistoga, Larkmead offers by appointment daily tastings of the current and limited-release wines, including earthy Cabs and a summery Tocai Friulano. (Image courtesy of Larkmead)
For the Views
200 Taplin Rd., St. Helena, CA 94574
Joseph Phelps Vineyards recently completed a major renovation at its winery in St. Helena, enhancing the tasting room but still maintaining the building’s existing redwood exterior design. Newly created private tasting areas, a library and barrel room, plus even more vineyard views will allow you to sip in style.
For Something Bubbly
To Keep It Old School
4045 St. Helena Hwy., Calistoga, CA 94515
Situated in the hills above Calistoga, family-owned Castello di Amorosa truly is a castle, made with brick, wood and iron imported from Europe and combined with more than 8,000 tons of local Napa Valley stone. The estate produces red and white varieties that are sold only at the winery; a tasting is also on offer, as well as a Royal Food and Wine Pairing Tour ($80 per person) and a Cheese and Wine Pairing tour ($60 per person), each including a tour of Dario Sattui’s authentically built 13th-century Tuscan-style castle.
For Something Modern
4240 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558
The Darioush Estate was founded in 1997 by Iranian-born Darioush Khaledi and now comprises 120 acres in the southern Napa Valley. The tasting room and main building are new construction but reminiscent of ancient Persia, complete with columns and water fixtures. Their Fine Wines, Artisan Cheeses tasting is in partnership with Cowgirl Creamery in Marin County and includes a 90-minute shared tasting experience featuring a tour of the winery followed by a seated tasting in their Barrel Chai room with limited-release wines like Signature Viognier and Shiraz ($75 per person).
For the Gardens
8300 St. Helena Hwy., Napa, CA 94558
Cakebread Cellars was founded in 1973 and it’s worth a visit to taste some of their wines that might otherwise be out of budget. A reserve tasting ($40) features their Chardonnay Reserve and a selection of other reserve or library labels. Or stick to their flagship wines and pair them with food ($45) from culinary director Brian Streeter. Streeter uses Northern Californian ingredients (many from the onsite garden) and draws on the cuisines of the Mediterranean.
For Wine Geeks
1080 Fulton Ln., St. Helena, CA 94574
Acme Fine Wines in St. Helena is a wine shop run by wine-passionate locals who seem to know everyone in the valley. They have access to small-scale labels that are impossible to find elsewhere; they are often the sole retailers for passion projects of winemakers and for labels that might otherwise go unnoticed. Schedule a curated tasting, or shop new labels with a little assistance (the wine club membership makes a great gift for friends).
1 Executive Way, Napa, CA 94558
Need a break from all of those Chardonnays and Zinfandels? Napa Smith Brewery now has an onsite taproom open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. They offer 10 beers on tap, including classics and only-on-tap, limited-release beers. Take a daily tour, or just stop in for beer flights or a pint.
For Something Intimate
915 Oakville Cross Rd., Oakville, CA 94562
Book one of the wine-and-food pairing experiences at Silver Oak and you'll be treated to Chef Dominic's seasonal and often local bites. The menu pairs Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir with herbs and vegetables from the onsite garden, and the whole experience is limited to eight people. Rebuilt after an unfortunate fire, the new winery opened in 2008 and showcases everything the estate has to offer.
For Something Sustainable
850 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, CA 94573
Honig winery and vineyard is focused on sustainability and maintaining a socially responsible business. Book an Eco-Tour and Tasting ($45) for a glimpse of the sustainably farmed vineyard, followed by a Classic Tasting of Winemaker Kristin Belair's Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.