Okay, so let's just be honest- I know how daunting it can feel when planning your very first trip to Napa Valley. Maybe you have even been there a couple times and are still stuck going to the same places... Well I have a perfect Napa Valley guide for you that is guaranteed to make your time in Napa the best yet!
This July, I took two groups of my amazing wine club members with me to hit all the best wineries across Napa Valley. Here is a break down of the wineries we visited, where we stayed, what we ate, and how much we enjoyed the overall experience! Each one of these wineries would make a fantastic stop on your next visit to Napa Valley!
BUT--before I dive into the wineries, here are three big tips you will want to remember when planning your Napa trip!!
Tip # 1 Group Size
This year we split up the week and had two different groups! This was super important as Napa is packed with a ton of wineries but not all of them have the space to host over 8 people. So tip #1: keep your group small! 6-8 people is perfect! This will allow for a more intimate experience and you'll be able to ask more questions & cover more ground!
Tip #2 Where Should You Stay
You have a few great options for lodging in Napa Valley & the surrounding areas, so definitely take a look around at those hotels! We stayed at two different hotels that I highly recommend.
The first was: The Victorian House at Dr. Wilkinson's Resort! We stayed in bunk beds making it super intimate and unique!
The second was one of the NICEST Best Westerns I have ever seen, the Best Western Plus Stevenson Manor located conveniently in downtown Calistoga.
Either of these places would be perfect for your Napa Valley Wine Tasting!
Tip #3 Hire a Car Service!
We all know why you are in Napa, so bottoms up & don't drink & drive! We booked a driver for both trips and it was 100% worth it! No one wants to be the DD and no one should have to be 🤪! We booked ours through Ram Country Wine Tours, & they were truly amazing! Super friendly, punctual and the Mercedes Sprinter van was Comfortable & clean with great AC!
If you are traveling with less than 4 people, I highly recommend hitting up my friends with North Bay Wine Tours! You will feel so classy riding around Napa Valley in their Tesla!
Okay so now for the super fun part! The WINERIES! They are in alphabetical order not order of preference (Cause we LOVE them ALL!!)
1. Brasswood Cellars
Location: 3111 St. Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574
Hours: Open Daily from 11:30-9PM
Reservation required?: Yes
To Visit & Make a Reservation: Brasswood Experiences
My Wine Rec: Their Sauvignon Blanc
Brasswood Cellars Winery has a ton of great varietals, and I would honestly recommend any one of their wines to you, but on a nice California sunny day who doesn't want a wine with the aromas of mandarin & honeysuckle, beautifully followed up with a citrusy and bright taste?! Give me all the Brasswood Sauvvy B!!!
More: On top of all the epic wine we had, they also have an incredible mozzarella dish that they are known for! A perfect pairing with their wines.
You will need to make a reservation before hand and can do so online. Tastings start at $65 and they ask that you allow 90 minutes to fully experience the beauty of Brasswood Cellars!
Location: 8300 St Helena Hwy, Rutherford, CA 94573
Reservation required?: Yes
To Visit & Make a Reservation: Cakebread Experiences
My Wine Rec: Their Chardonnay
We LOVE Cakebread!! Their Chardonnay was definitely a crowd pleaser and I couldn't recommend it more. It is packed with floral aromas, fresh citrus, orange blossom and white peach. It is a weighted wine but also super balanced and leaved a clean, mineral finish!
More: We had such a great time visiting Cakebread Cellars while in Napa! We got the full tour at Cakebread, it was breathtaking and left with an even greater appreciation for this iconic brand!
You definitely want to make a reservation beforehand and can book a walking tour of the property starting at $50 per person. They also offer seated tours & pairings as well!
3. Frank Family
Location: 1091 Larkmead Lane Calistoga, CA 94515
Reservation required?: Yes
To Visit & Make a Reservation: Frank Family Website
My Wine Rec: Brut Rosé
When I had this Brut Rose in Napa it seriously impressed me. Frank Family makes a fantastic variety of wines but this one truly stood out. Here are some notes from the winery themselves;
"Frank Family’s 2015 Brut Rosé proves that fruitiness and sophistication are in no way mutually exclusive. It is impeccably balanced with a creamy, mouth filling mousse and a lengthy, layered finish, and, even though it is drinking beautifully at the moment, it is so alive and energetic that it is a sure bet to provide lovely drinking for years yet to come."
I strongly recommend porch pounding this one slowly & enjoy it with your favorite cheese & cracker pairing.
More: Frank Family Vineyards was founded in 1992 by former Disney Studios President, Rich Frank. Frank Family Vineyards has built a reputation as a world-class producer of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. I love Frank's wine but what I love more is their dedication to giving back to their community and people (AND puppies) who are in need every year. They have yearly autism give-back campaign as well as the humane society. Truly an amazing winery to visit & support!! Let me know what you think when you visit them for yourselves!
4. Hoopes & Oasis Sanctuary
Location: 6204 Washington St. Napa, CA 94558
Shop Hours: 10am-4:00pm Tuesday-Sunday
Reservation Required: Yes
To Visit & Make a Reservation: Visit Oasis by Hoopes Cellars
My Wine Rec: 2021 Hoopes Rosé
The 2021 Hoopes Rosé is truly a 10/10 Rosé and I promise I would drink it every day if I could! It has a fruit forward scent of juicy ripe peaches, plump red cherries, and plums. And on the palette; strawberries, cherries and tart raspberries. This is a rosé that you can truly drink year round and makes for a fantastic gift to friends and family.
I would strongly suggest pairing this with your favorite brunch foods and sharing it with a loved one!
More: Hoopes is a unique winery for many reasons but especially because of their animal sanctuary Oasis that you can visit. It was so great to share this special place with my wine club members. So many wineries out there are "Family Owned" but this one truly feels that way.
I spent almost my entire visit playing/petting fluffy chickens, horses, donkeys, and goats. I was in heaven! You will 100% want to spend hours here sipping wine, playing with animals, and enjoying the beautiful garden. I can't say enough great things about this winery, and my dear friend Lindsay Hoopes!
If you choose to become a member, $200 of your membership dues are donated to the rescue sanctuary and the remainder is
reserved for you to spend on all things Hoopes throughout the year. "This club is for the free-spirited, animal-loving, social butterfly who enjoys our Hoopes wine and needs an Oasis of their own in the heart of Napa Valley!"
Location: 1329 Lincoln Ave suite b, Calistoga, CA 94515
Shop Hours: 11-6PM Monday-Thursday, 11-7:30 Fridays, & 10-6 Saturday & Sunday
Reservation Required: Suggested
To Visit & Make a Reservation: Picayune Tasting Experiences
My Wine Rec: 2021 Albariño
This Albariño is to die for! Truly, so yummy. I love this wine specifically as a Porch Pounder because it's smooth, juicy flavors and overall approachability. Truly drinkable with anything, I would suggest spicy foods or ceviche, but truly you could enjoy this Napa favorite all by itself!
More: While visiting Picayune, I was impressed overall by the whole vibe & atmosphere of it. Not only is it a winery producing fantastic wines, but it is also a perfectly curated shopping experience with an eclectic selection of amazing artisans including French Master Knife makers, Native American ledger artists, a local silk scarf maker, and more.
Picayune is Women-owned and maker Claire Ducrocq Weinkauf is a rockstar and a true inspiration! I absolutely cannot wait to visit them again, and have them as a featured guest on my upcoming SSWC member's tasting!
I hope that this helps you plan for your next or even first trip up to Napa Valley! Each one of these Napa wineries was to die for and incredible and you will have a fantastic time even if you just make it to half of them!
If you end up visiting any one of these 5 amazing wineries, or using this blog as your guide to Napa please be sure to let me know about your experiences & connect with me on IG!!
Your Go To No-Snob Somm<3
A trip to remember, Truly!!!