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  • Napa's BEST Wineries! Where to Visit on Your Next Trip To Napa!

    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 Cost: $65+ 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! 2. Cakebread Location: 8300 St Helena Hwy, Rutherford, CA 94573 Cost: $50+ Hours: 10am-4:30pm 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 Cost: $60+ Hours: 10am-5:00pm 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 Cost: $100+ 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!" 5. Picayune Location: 1329 Lincoln Ave suite b, Calistoga, CA 94515 Cost: $25+ 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!! Cheers, Samantha Sommelier Your Go To No-Snob Somm<3 A trip to remember, Truly!!!

  • Summer Wines Of Trader Joe's Hosted by Samantha Sommelier LLC

    Let's be real, we all love ourselves some TJ's wines! It may be one of my favorite grocery stores to pop in and see what I can find in any price range & I love that! Trader Joe's has been killing the grocery store competition in wine selections, & why do I think so? Because they bring inexpensive, unique wines of all regions and varietals to YOUR neighborhood. They understand what it's like to make wine fun & approachable & I know we all love that! Anyway, here are my Current 5 FAVORITE Trader Joe's wines of the Summer that you NEED to grab next time you are there! Save this list so that next time you can be in & out of Traders with a bundle of wines you will LOVE & still not break your wine budget (; # 1 & 1.5 French Fizz; Le Blanc & Le Rosé for $7 This sparkling wine & it's pink counterpart are f*cking awesome, especially considering they are around the $7 price range. I HIGHLY recommend grabbing one of each and popping it open as soon as it is ice cold. A true porch pounder/party wine! Super approachable, drinkable and sunshine friendly! P.S. This is a reusable bottle, so if you don't finish it, snap the lid back on & enjoy a little later, I was shocked at how long these bubbles lasted! #2 McGregor South Africa "The Delicious Monster", for $5.99 This is one of the best buys you can get at TJ's for under $10! Such a crisp and refreshing wine to have in your fridge ready to be devoured on your porch! You definitely don't need to have food with this one, but if you are looking for a fun pairing, i'd suggest a cheese board, because we all know once you start drinking this one you won't want to stop! #3 Bread and Butter Chardonnay, for $13 I know so many of you aren't the biggest fans of Chardonnay but this one is a WINNER! It can be really hard (at least for me) to find a chardonnay that I like that is less than $25 so I was super pumped when I tried this one. On a hot day, I suggest trying this one ice cold with frozen green grapes, yes, grapes on grapes (; #4 Pasqua – Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore for $10 This is an earthy, dry wine with great old world characteristics. Fantastic for a Summer BBQ. Honestly most meals and foods will go great with this red. It is not sweet and doesn't linger much, making it super easy to drink! This is a great wine to bring with you to a friends house for dinner as it's old world vibes won't giveaway that you only spent $10 on it (; #5 Grifone Primitivo for just $5, yes $5! The Primitivo grape makes wines that are big, jammy, and rustic, with high-ish alcohol percentages, (this one is 13%). Historically they have chewy tannins, and a sweet finish! If you don't think you have ever had one of these, be sure to grab one next time you are at Trader Joes. This is an awesome summer wine because it is super easy to drink, yet still packs a punch! Be sure to have a snack with this one. My suggestion? Walk to the next isle & grab one of the best items at Trader Joes... Their BBQ Chicken Pizza. Boom. That's all for now! Thank you so much Sam Somm Community. I am super happy & excited to share some of my favorites with you on here, I know it has been a while! If you have enjoyed this Wine Guide, be sure to check out my Sam Somm Wine Club membership for consistent guides, wine recommendations, monthly tastings and more! Click HERE! Plus, keep an eye out for a Fall Guide coming soon 🍂 Cheers, Samantha Sommelier XOXO Check out my shop page HERE to join us at our next virtual public tasting!

  • Trader Joe's Wine Guide #3

    Third times a charm? Maybe so! Trader Joe's never ceases to amaze me with their amazing wine selection, and prices! Honestly, if your state doesn't sell wine at your local Traders, it may be time to consider relocating (; Enjoy this guide & as always let me know if you try any & what you think about them! Please keep in mind every Trader Joes Location is different so availability & prices may vary! Happy drinking! <3 La Granja Cava Brut $6.99 Don't let the price fool you, this ruffled feathered bird does not disappoint. If you are on a budget, or honestly just want massive value for your money this Cava is a great option. The La Granja Brut is flavorful and refreshing and has a slight punch of ginger. This one is super fun with anything fried or spicy! Their Butter Chicken with Basmati rice is splendid with this one! Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Rosé $9.99 A Trader Joes Classic! Cecilia Beretta Prosecco is already so delicious, but when they chose to add in pinot noir grapes, violá a star was born! This bubbly is light and refreshing with fruity undertones! It's a must for any bridal shower, baby shower, or girls weekend! Pair this one with brie and a french baguette, *finger kisses* Piper Sonoma Brut Chardonnay Blend $13.99 Okay, now this wine is an epic deal at Trader Joe's! $14 is unbeatable, you would probably spend $20ish dollars to find it elsewhere. Being composed of mostly Chardonnay grapes and a dash of Pinot Noir grapes this brut is so light, crisp, and refreshing. It has some citrus undertones making it a great base for a little mimosa Sunday-- but honestly, this wine can hold its own on its own! If your Trader Joe's has this Brut, grab as many as you can!! Almond Creek Almond sparkling wine $6.49 Okay, what a funky mix-up to the normal flavors of sparkling wine-- and you know what, I don't hate it! If you are a big fan of almond flavoring, a baker, or just someone with a desire to try something different this sparkling wine is a great go-to! You can absolutely taste the almond, but it is not overbearing like other wines I have tried before. Pair this one with a cheese and nut board for sure-- or even a bowl of ice cream... what?! Yum! Black Girl Magic Rose $17.99 Okay now you know I am a big fan of the McBride Sisters, I think that all of their wines are delicious but this Rosé is seriously so delicious! It is light and does not give you an overly sweet taste at all. This is a great Porch Pounder option or pairs well with all types of light summer meals-- try a lemon chicken recipe of your choice! Summer Water Rosé $13.99 Okay talk about a label that could not be more accurate! This Rosé is truly so yummy! It is dry & refreshing & served best super super cold! Especially on those hot Arizona days! This one would be super yummy with those frozen watermelon ice balls in it! -- check out a Pinterest recipe for those! Trader Joes Petit Reserve Rosé $6.99 Okay now I know you may be turned off by Trader Joe's incredibly simple and straightforward labeling on their wines, but I promise they truly don't disappoint, especially this Rosé. t has all the characteristics of a $15 bottle & is half the price-- if you don't want your party guests to know you paid $6.00 (which is nothing to be ashamed of) pour it into a pretty summer decanter and keep it in the fridge until its time to DRINK (; Tuatea Sauvignon Blanc $5.99 Oh me oh my! Okay so this Sauvignon Blanc seems to come and go seasonally at trader joes, so if you see it you should probably grab a bottle! Not to be confused with the Matua SB, though they are very similar. This is a total PORCH POUNDER! Easy to drink, refreshing, not super high in ABV-- but if you want to eat with it, a penne & vodka sauce pasta is 10/10! Lovely You Vegan Chardonnay 6.99 Okay, I almost passed this one up, & I am honestly glad I tried it and that it made the list. It is light and buttery and lovely indeed... lol. If you are curious about the whole Vegan wine thing, basically when you see a vegan label on the wine it is just confirming that they aren't using anything extra in their fermentation process-- yes some wineries use egg whites sometimes... you can usually find out on the wineries website or contact them directly if you aren't sure. Stag's Leap Chardonnay $24.99 Okay, now if you want to take a big step and get something a little nicer-- This chardonnay is delightful! This Chardonnay has Oak, Vanilla, and Apple undertones and though it is a very bold wine it is also incredibly easy to drink. It is worth the little splurge in my opinion! Plus at Trader's you know you're getting a really good deal for this one! Drink it with a toasted ham & cheese sandwich and a pickle... YUM. Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc & Viognier This medium body white wine is such a huge win when I'm able to buy it from Trader Joe's! It has flavors of pear, apple & honey and is so smooth & easy to drink. Definitely recommend pairing this wine with pork chops & a hearty salad! Espiral Vinho Verde $4.49 If you were in my first big group tasting in July then you know how good this wine is. It has a light carbonation a little bit of a kick & is freaking amazing! it's 9% ABV so don't worry about just sitting by the pool, on the beach, or on the porch and drinking your heart out. I love drinking this wine with spicy foods, salads, and brunch?! Yes, I did just say brunch-- it's a great day drinking wine!! Porta 6 Red Wine $4.99 I have to say, open this one up, let it breath for about 30 minutes and it's really good for a $5 bottle of wine. It's fun and spunky and really quite refreshing. so it's easy to drink A LOT of and not feel too guilty lol pairs great wth a hearty pasta! CocoBon Red Blend/Roast Oak Red Blend (YUM) $6.99 One of my FAVORITES! Honestly, either the Roasted Oak or the Red Blend.. or anything by CocoBon are major go-to's! Both have very interesting similarities & differences with flavors of Oak and Coffee to dark berries & cinnamon. The Roasted Oak is made up of petite Sirah, Shiraz/Syrah, and Merlot grapes whereas the Red blend is composed of mainly Merlot grapes-- so I suggest you buy both & then decide which one you like more! Pure Bred old vine zinfandel $6.99 Okay, a GREAT value for a California zin! From Lodi California, this wine is bold & full-bodied but is still so easy to drink. Along with flavors of boysenberry, plum, and chocolate, it has so many of the qualities a more expensive zinfandel has-- without the extra dollar! Open this guy up, throw it in your chiller (call me crazy but if it's 100 degrees outside you can't blame me!) for about 30 minutes & it will absolutely surprise you! Saldo 2016 Zinfandel $25.99 From the Prisoner Co. Wine company this Zinfandel is truly a treat. Priced about 5 dollars under market value this is a great opportunity to try this beautiful wine! This wine is bold & full-bodied with acidity. It is on the higher end of ABV at 15.9% so make sure you are drinking this wine with something hearty in your stomach... unless you are looking to get drunk LOL (; Trader Joes Anderson Valley Reserve Pinot Noir $9.99 Okay, now this Pinot Noir is so good! It has aromas of cherry, licorice, mint, earth & cola, an interesting combination but the taste does not disappoint-- with a long dry finish this wine is a win! Do a blind taste test with this and a $30 pinot noir-- I dare you! Truly I think it would hold its own & may trick you! Pairs well are snacks for sure cause this Pinot is 14.5% making it a tad heavy for a California Pinot Noir! Liberté Pinot Noir $9.99 Hailing from one of the coolest places in California, San Luis Obispo-- this California Pinot Noir is always a fun party wine or house warming gift! Not only is the bottle funky and beautiful but the taste is the same! It's light & acidic and would go great with a charcuterie board, salty chips with a sour cream & onion dip! Party Wine for sure!! Aiolas Red Blend $4.99 This red blend is from Portugal & compared to other northern Portuguese reds this was a steal! Personally, I went for this wine because of the price & the bottle & it truly surprise me. It is light, smooth, and super easy to drink! The dark berry flavors make this wine especially great when making a red wine sangria-- go easy on the other ingredients & let this wine shine!! Yum! Puerta Plata Reserva $7.99 What a delicious Spanish red! You definitely want to do two things with this wine 1. open it about 30 or so minutes prior to drinking & 2. eat something! A great meal with this one is Filet Mignon roasted potatoes & asparagus. Also amazing with anything PASTA! Satis Dei vino de la tierra del Castilla $8.99 Another yummy Spanish red wine! Again, make sure to let this one breathe a little bit in order to experience all the flavors this wine has to offer. Found exclusively at Trader Joe's in the United States this Syrah-Garnacha has flavors of blackberry, plum & lavender. Honestly, it has a little bit of sweetness to it as well, but it's not overpowering & is still very smooth and easy to drink. Pairs well with a Chicago-style deep dish pizza! Love this wine guide?! Good news, I have two more dedicated to Trader Joe's, Costco, Total Wine, and more on the way! Don't miss out and be sure you're subscribed to my mailing list!

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  • EXPERIENCES | Samantha Sommelier

    EXPERIENCES VIRTUAL TASTING WINE FROM HOME My virtual wine tastings are held through Zoom, which is easily accessible online or via your phone with their app! Once everyone is signed up, I'll provide a link to everyone who will be on the call - so no matter where you and your friends are, everyone's tasting! You're in charge of acquiring your wine, but I'll take care of everything else! Don't worry though, I'll help your entire group find wines they can buy locally or online that fit the tasting theme. ​ Before the tasting, I will send everyone professionally designed wine tasting grids, wine tasting mats, a custom wine and food pairing guide, and a wine 101 guide. You will have lifetime access to all of these materials! Cost: $75/Person (1 p er son) $50/Person (3 people or less) $40/Person (4 people or more) Discounted g ro up rates fo r 15+ Peop le (Fill out the form and mention it in the comments for more info!) Time: 1 hour BOOK NOW IN-PERSON TASTING ANYWHERE, ANYTIME An in-person, in-home (or anywhere) wine tasting is an amazing experience for any occasion. My in-person tastings are the most full-service experience I offer and they include my sommelier services, tasting materials and mats, and glassware (just add wine!) I truly love being able to come into any space or event and work with new people to introduce and share my love of wine! I strive to make my in-person tastings truly unforgettable and an experience that you and your friends and/or family won't be able to stop talking about. Just like all my tastings, these are a fun and approachable way to enjoy, drink, and learn about wine, from anywhere! Taught and trained by some of the top Master Sommeliers in the world, I am able to bring all the wine knowledge you are eager to learn but in a laid back and comfortable setting. My tastings are the perfect addition to any special occasion or if you are just wanting to do something out of the ordinary with your friends. ​ Cost: starting at $350/hour (cost varies BASED ON LOCATION & NO. OF GUESTS) (Please note the cost of wine is not included) TIME: 1.5 hour minimum BOOK NOW SAM SOMM'S WINE CLUB A WINE CLUB FOR EVERYONE Want to taste with me on the regular? Get the best deal by joining my wine club! Bonus, you'll also get to become a part of the best community of wine lovers out there. Head over to my wine club page to learn more! LEARN MORE WINE LIST CURATION FOR EVENTS LET ME BE YOUR POCKET SOMM Are you having an event and need help creating a wine list? Let me help you pair wines with your menu for your wedding, dinner party, bachelorette party, corporate event, etc... ​ For a custom quote, reach out using the form below with more information about your event. CONTACT WINE COUNTRY ITINERARY PLANNING DON'T SWEAT IT I GOT YOU! Are you heading to wine country and need custom recommendations of where to drink, eat, and stay? Look no further! Let me help you plan an unforgettable vacation that your group won't be able to stop talking about. ​ For a custom quote, reach out using the form below with more information about your trip. CONTACT FROM MY EXPERIENCE WITH SAMANTHA, I'VE FOUND HER TO BE ONE OF THE NEW BREEDS OF SOMMELIERS. SHE BRINGS A FRESH EXCITING VIEW ABOUT WINE AND EVERYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH WINE. SHE MAKES LEARNING ABOUT WINE FUN! - Ron DiLauro

  • BOOK ADD ON SERVICES | Samantha Sommelier

    BOOK NOW Thank you so much for your interest in working with me! I'd love to hear from you and work with you! So please complete the form below or feel free to email me directly at: ​ Which Service(s) Are You Interested In?: Wine List Curation Wine Country Itinerary Planning SUBMIT

  • BOOK ADD ON SERVICES | Samantha Sommelier

    BOOK NOW Thank you so much for your interest in working with me! I'd love to hear from you and work with you! So please complete the form below or feel free to email me directly at : ​ Which Service(s) Are You Interested In?: Single Session Zoom Branding Session Single Session Zoom Wine Consult Instagram App Training Highlight Icon Cover Images On Camera Training SUBMIT

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