Fun things to do in Napa

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    MAKE HIM AN OFFER HE CAN'T REFUSE. SOMEONE DID.

    by travelgourmet Updated Feb 1, 2015

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    UPDATE AS OF 2011
    INGLENOOK is back and the ever changing wine scene at this property is reunited by Francis Ford Coppola once again. As of 2011, the name Inglenook will be once again a proud winery in the Napa Valley. Rubicon will become the flagship wine. The main tasting tour costs $50.00 per person. It is called the Inglenook Experience and includes tastings and the history of the winery. The tour lasts 90 minutes.

    s4The following is a review was from my original visit to the Coppola winery.
    The Niebaum-Coppola Chateau Winery owned by the man who brought "The Godfather" movie to the silver screen, Francis Ford Coppola, is a beautiful example of mixing "Hollywood" with wine to come up with an interesting blend of spritz and glitz. Coppola, who had no real interest in wine but only the beauty and serenity of the Napa Valley settled in and began to enjoy the wine industry and created a reality of a dream.
    The name Coppola on a bottle of wine now rates right up there with the best of wines, as does the name Coppola rates high on the list of top directors of movies. It seems as though anything Coppola does, he tries to be the best at it. Movies and wine, make for a great time. See my travelogue on the house that "The Godfather" built. It is a must see in the Napa Valley and gets my thumbs up.

    UPDATE REPORT ON THE FOLLOWING: As of Feb. 1, 2006, the new name of this winery became "RUBICON ESTATE'". Rubicon Estate has a Twenty-Five Dollar guest fee, which includes entree, tasting of five estate wines, and a tour of the estate. Local residents and members of the RE wine club, enter without charge.
    Francis Coppola has opened another winery in Geyserville with the Coppola label. Many changes have taken place at the Rubicon Estate winery and some of the movie glitz is not a part of this new/old winery. Francis, per his Wine Club Manager, has upgraded the wines with the RUBICON name and concentrated on fine wine from the estate in the Napa Valley. I have tasted the Rubicon Estate, Captain's Reserve 2003 Cabernet Savignon and I must give it a thumbs up.

    FIRST WATER, THEN WINE WINE CAVES FOR THE INGLENOOK LABEL SENSORY TASTING TABLE IN THE CAVES
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    WINE, CHEESE, AND BREAD

    by travelgourmet Updated Mar 29, 2013

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    Napa Valley is large, not just Napa, but with Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, and Calistoga, all part of the Valley ,but Napa is the name known throughout the world. In the heart of this area is the V. Sattui Winery. Located in St. Helena, it is the only Winery to also have a gourmet Italian deli and also one of the few places in the Napa Valley to picnic. Open spaces with tables and benches to enjoy your wine, cheese, and bread. Maybe throw in some olives and salami and make a total picnic. The grounds of V. Sattui are set out so that the Winery and the Deli are both within a few steps of each other.

    The buildings are typical wine country decor with fountains in the courtyard and stone facades with wood timbers and archways. The view is pure magic. A bonus to all, is that Darryl Sattui, the present owner, may greet you from behind the wine tasting bar, and will chat up a storm with anyone willing to listen to his love of wine and of making the best wine possible. The tastings here are free of charge and Darryl or others will give you more tastes of different wines, till you find the one that charms you the most. Buy the bottle and go out to the picnic area and enjoy the taste with all in your party, except the person who has to drive.

    The reason that you may find a wine to your liking is because there are over 54 Gold Medals awarded to V. Sattui wines during 2004 alone, and was voted "Best Winery in California" out of 595 wineries. You cannot enjoy wines and not be tempted to drink more of V. Sattui wines at one sitting. Open every day 9 am to 6 pm (Nov.-Mar.,9-5) You can only purchase V. Sattui wines at the winery. Drive safely.

    THE CHARM OF V. SATTUI WINERY PICNIC ON THE GRASS AT V. SATTUI WINERY
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    A Castle in Calistoga, Napa Valley

    by travelgourmet Updated Feb 1, 2015

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    The Castello di Amorosa Castle and Winery sits high on a high in Calistoga. A thirteen year dream project of Dario Sattui and still building. This is a must see winery and a welcome sight for the wineries of old and the ones in the future throughout Napa Valley as it represents the premier wine region of the world topped by a castle, the Castello di Amorosa Castle and Winery. Admission to the castle and a tasting of 5 wines is $20.00.

    Huge isn't the word, massive might be better as the Castle is four stories high and four stories below ground. Made with stones imported from Italy and set in a beautiful 16th century motif, including a moat. The wine cellars are long, deep underground and beautiful to behold. A tour of the Castle is a must to fully appreciate what has transpired here in Calistoga. There are more photos in my Castle Travelogue

    A MOAT RUNS AROUND IT THE CASTLE DRAWBRIDGE DOOR WINE IS STILL THE GAME PROTECTOR OF THE CASTLELLO DI AMOROSA
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    Scenic bicycling

    by karenincalifornia Updated Sep 8, 2004

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    This picture shows the beautiful terrain we rode through during our bike ride on the Silverado Trail in Napa. Bicycling through Napa really is one of the best ways to enjoy the stunning countryside.

    We brought our own bicycles up from home. If you can't do that, try
    Napa Valley Cyclery (707-255-3377), which has rentals.

    Napa Valley, CA
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    DARIOUSH WINERY A MUST SEE, MUST TASTE

    by mesoblonda Written Nov 7, 2004

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    Open until 5:00p.m. which is an hour later than most wineries in wine country, Darioush Winery is a place to visit!

    The gorgeous pillars in front of the building welcome you, making it difficult to miss on Silverado Trail.

    At $10.00 per person, the price of the tasting is well worth it! The staff are low key and knowledgable...my experience there was great! Some of their wines cannot be purchased anywhere other than the winery.

    Even though I've noted they are open later than most, I recommend you visit earlier due to the crowd that appears after the 4:00p.m. hour.

    The wine country is full of little wineries whose wines will surprise your palate...ENJOY!

    MeSoBlonda enjoying Darioush with the Napa locals
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    Surprise! Napa & beyond has great wine tasting!

    by mesoblonda Updated May 9, 2004

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    A few recommendations:

    NAPA WINE COMPANY, OAKVILLE
    (http://www.napawineco.com/pavi.html)

    I haven't been to the Napa Wine Co for tasting, I've only purchased the Pavi Dolcetto, originally tasted while dining at Auberge du Soleil. The Pavi Dolcetto is AMAZING! And only about $20.00 per bottle. TRY IT, you'll LOVE it!

    V. SATTUI WINERY, ST. HELENA
    (www.vsattui.com )

    As mainstream and "touristy" as it is, I can't help but like it! The people who pour have always been very sociable and informative.

    In addition to wonderful wines, the grounds are a wonderful place to enjoy the wine, cheeses, crackers, gourmet foods and desserts offered for sale at the winery.

    You will not find their wines for sale other than at the winery but they will ship within the USA.

    Their madeira (a dessert wine) is one of the BEST I've found so make sure you try it.

    On Highway 29.

    PEJU WINERY, RUTHERFORD
    (www.peju.com)

    90% of their wines are sold at the winery.

    Try their wine named Carnival and see what you think! I'm into reds but this white tasted good enough to make me want to buy a bottle.

    Note: Peju charges $5.00 for their tasting sessions which nomally include 3-5 different wines.

    Joseph Phelps Winery
    200 Taplin Road
    St. Helena, CA
    (off the Silverado Trail)
    707-963-2745
    (http://www.jpvwines.com/)

    $20.00 per person for tasting AND an appointment is a MUST!

    So many wineries, so little time! Sigh...

    Sigh...

    V. Sattui Winery
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    Day spa here, day spa there, day spas everywhere!

    by mesoblonda Written Apr 12, 2004

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    There are so many places, you'll see them everywhere!

    From the small day spa tucked away in a quaint little converted house, to the posh spa at the well known hotels and golf resorts, you will find there is something for everyone.

    My favorites:

    KENWOOD INN & SPA, KENWOOD
    (www.kenwoodinn.com)

    This place is VERY expensive and not for everyone.

    MOUNT VIEW HOTEL AND SPA, CALISTOGA
    (www.mountviewhotel.com)

    Much more reasonably priced! A wonderful environment with great package treatments available. Oh, and the hydrotherapy baths comfortably accomodate two...

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    WINNER OF THE 1976 GRAND TASTING IN PARIS

    by travelgourmet Updated Feb 1, 2015

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    The little winemaker who could, did, and started the wine revolution in California beginning with the Chateau Montelena's 1973 Chardonnay which won the grand taste off with French white Burgundies vs the California Chardonnays and the story became a movie in 2008 called "Bottle Shock". Chateau Montelena has been around since 1896 and became wine world famous with that taste off in 1976 Paris, France.

    Today, Chateau Montelena has a wonderful tasting bar, tours, and a lake garden that adds to the beauty of the Napa Valley. Wine tastings start at $25.00. Make sure you walk around to see the stone castle from the front by the lake. The Tubbs started the vineyard in 1890's, The Frank family took over in 1958 and built "Jade Lake"but no major winemaking from the prohibition in the 1930's until 1972. Most of the credit for the wine and the win in Paris goes to Jim Barrett, Vitner, who took over the vineyard in 1972 and rebuilt the vineyard and the winery. Bo Barrett, eldest son of Jim, took over as Winemaker in 1982 and is still involved at Chateau Montelena. As stated by Jim Barrett; "I wanted to do something to make people happy." Well, I'm happy and I believe you will be too when you visit Jim Barrett's dream. Who says dreams don't come true.

    Allen Rickman as Steven Spurrier in Parking lot entrance to tasting room Chateau Montelena's tasting bar The Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Time Magazine article
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    1976 JUDGEMENT OF PARIS BEST CABERNET SAUVIGNON

    by travelgourmet Updated Jun 8, 2011

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    Get it right. The winner of the 1976 grand taste "Judgement of Paris" for red wines pitting French red Bordeauxs against California Cabernet Sauvignons was Stag's Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon. Along with the winning white wine by Chateau Montelena in Calistoga, California wine was in for an awakening throughout Europe

    Stag's Leap Wine Cellars is located on the Silverado Trail, the east side of Napa. Warren Winiarski founded the winery in 1969 and with his partners concentrated on the site nearest to Stag's Leap palisades and started out as Stag's Leap Vineyards (S.L.V.) but soon after a winery site was founded close to the vineyard and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars came into being. The ruling was that both wineries could use the Stags Leap in their name as the land was in the Stags Leap District. So, the winery that had the winner of the "Judgement of Paris" reds has an apostrophe after the word Stag and before the s, as Stag's Leap. The other winery has the apostrophe after the entire word Stags, as Stags'. I trust that clears up who is who. The 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon was the first wine produced at the new winery and it won the 1976 grand taste in Paris over the French red Bordeauxs. Today, Nicki Pruss is the winemaker forStag's Leap Wine Cellars and has given new meaning to the winery with her words; "Our goal is to create wines of classic beauty from our Napa Valley vineyards—wines with balance, complexity and harmony."

    STAG'S LEAP WINE CELLARS AMONGST THE TREES ENTRANCE TO TASTING ROOM A WARM SMILE WITH THE WINE WOOD CUTOUT OF THE STAG VINEYARDS BELOW THE STAG'S LEAP PALISADES
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    Bicycling in the wine country

    by karenincalifornia Updated Sep 8, 2004

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    Napa Valley has many roads that are perfect for bicycling. We took two three-hour trips, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday. We bicycled from east to west across the valley floor and then along the scenic Silverado Trail - north one day, and south the second day.

    The Silverado Trail is a two lane highway with wide shoulders making it a fairly safe road for bicycling. Traffic is somewhat heavy, but if you can ignore the car traffic, the bicycling is pleasant.

    As a warning - the traffic is too heavy and in places the shoulders are too narrow for children. These routes are for adults only!

    Stop at a few wineries along the way for wine tasting.

    Bicycling in Napa Valley
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    Wine Tasting

    by karenincalifornia Updated Sep 6, 2004

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    Of course, you cannot come to Napa without tasting some of the wines at the Napa wineries.

    Typically, I pack a lunch and visit no more than 5 wineries in one day. More than that, and I start to burn out on the wines.

    We visited Robert Sinskey winery on our bike ride on the Silverado Trail. This is the second time I have visited this tasting room, and my impression is the same as last time. Ok wines, but not great. We took a pass on taking home any bottles.

    Robert Sinskey Winery, Napa
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    Up, up and away

    by Herkbert Updated Mar 11, 2006

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    If you've ever seen a hot air balloon floating in the skies above and wondered if you would like it - trust me - you will! An early morning hot air balloon flight is an incredible experience. You watch as they inflate the colorful balloon, then hop in the basket and slowly begin to rise into the sky. A typical flight is about a hour to a hour and a half long. You can glide just above the treetops or climb high into the sky (2,500 ft).

    It is exhilarating to see the mountains, vineyards and sunrise from a bird's eye view.

    Inflating our balloon Just about ready Are we up high or is it just me?
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    Cline Cellars - Jacuzzi's to Mourvedre!

    by Herkbert Updated May 6, 2006

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    One of our favorite places to visit is Cline Cellars in Carneros. The property was originally owned by the Jacuzzi family of water and bubbles fame. These days, they make lots of very good wines, including many Rhone varietals. Lots of great different wines and blends that you won't find elsewhere.

    The winery itself is a pleasant place to visit and don't forget to snap a picture or two of their offical greeters!

    Just relaxing at Cline The guy on the right has too much stuffing! Roses at Cline Cellars
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    Enjoy the natural beauty.

    by Herkbert Written Apr 16, 2006

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    Napa Valley is in my opinion the best place to enjoy the 'wine experience'. There are so many different wineries there, all unique with friendly staffs manning the tasting rooms and nice people leading tours. In addition, you can just enjoy the beauty of nature - from the mountains that surround the valley or from the floor of the valley itself. Even when there are many other people tasting and touring, there is always someplace to enjoy the fresh air and scenery.

    Knight's Valley Across the vineyards Hazy mountains Lake Hennessy on a sunny afternoon.
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    Visit a winery or two or three...

    by Herkbert Written Apr 16, 2006

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    There are plenty of wineries throughout the Napa Valley. From the moment you reach the Carneros district all the way up to Calistoga you will see vineyards and wineries. Stop in and take a look around, taste some wine, learn about all the wine varietals that are available, but most of all - enjoy yourself.

    Peju Province Pine Ridge Winery Silver Oak Winery Opus Winery
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