Napa and Napa Valley have many wineries for you to sample their different varietals of premium estate grown grapes that become the nectar of the gods. One winery not only has the many varietals to sample and purchase, but has one of the most pleasing to the eye construction. Artesa Vineyards & Winery is blended into the natural hills, the winery becomes one with the earth and the feeling of belonging starts with the exterior of the property filled with water fountains with the green grass of Napa and continues to the interior with modern art and spectaular views of the fields of grape vines and beyond.
Tasting wine at Artesa can be done on the outside patio with a view or the inside tasting room filled with art. The staff behind the sampling bar are pure delight with knowledge and friendliness to help you enjoy the tastings. Engage them in conversation and the pours get larger. They have several sampling menus to choose the types of wine you wish to taste. The tour offered is very informative as well as entertaining with actual singing monks chanting at the end of the tour. The wines developing at Artesa must react to the chanting, as the varietals I sampled were pure heaven. This is a must stop to see the beauty of Napa along with the taste of Napa
Artesa Winery have their annual HARVEST GRAPE STOMP in the month of October and I have a travelogue with photos of this fun day in Napa at Artesa Winery.
The CIA, Culinary Institute of America, is of course a class act professional cooking school for chefs (what CIA were you thinking of?) with a California branch located in the beautiful Napa Valley at St. Helena, since 1995. Before it became a cooking college, the massive stone building that is the center piece of the campus was the Christian Brothers Winery at Greystone Cellars from 1950 till 1989.
Now, instead of wine production, the 22 inch thick tufu stone building houses the production of top chefs. Visitors are welcome to look over the relics of the past while able to purchase the modern kitchen tools of the trade at the campus store, The Spice Islands Marketplace. Demonstration cooking sites are available to watch dishes being prepared by students and teachers, alike.
A wonderful restaurant, Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, is also at the CIA. This is a must visit location to see the past wine making of the Christian Brothers and Brother Timothy's (the wine master) unique corkscrew collection (1800 pieces) that is on display. Outside of a few large old barrels, the buildings main interest is in the preparation of food and of course , sampling the finished products.
While in Napa Valley, California's most popular wine destination, visitors should try the local wines. Try it, taste it, enjoy it, and try again. This is Napa. Wine is the only one reason we come her for :)
Feature on this picture are two of business partners with myself. We have started Esprit du Monde, a wine importing company whose office is located in Napa Valley, California. Please check out our website: www.edmwines.com.
There is something for everyone - a three hour dinner ... whether you want a romantic evening, family time, special occastion with friends or something for the true"Gourmands".
All meals are freshly prepared onboard during the three hour exucursion as ordered ... or ' a la minute' .
Luncheons: Be Comfortable
Lunch is casual. However, NO OLD OR FADED JEANS.
Dinners: Be as formal as you like
During dinner, jackets are suggested but not required. Ladies should dress as they would for dining in any fine restaurant.
Undoubtedly a touristy thing to do, the Napa Valley Wine Train is expensive, but nonetheless a "must do" attraction (even just once) when traveling to Napa. Priced at $50 per person (excluding meals), the wine train is a three-hour experience that offers a tour of the Napa Valley area passing a plethora of wineries and vinyards along the way, paralleling the route of Hwy. 29.
The train starts off in downtown Napa and works its way slowly up north to the town of St. Helena, just short of the Culinary Institute of Arts. For a full Wine Train experience, purchase the Gourmet Express or Vista Dome ticket (for approx. $100), which offers passengers a fine-dining and more luxurious experience. We took the Silverado car, which was coach class, but still had an enjoyable time partly due to the waiter who served us. I think his name is Robert. Anyway, Robert was sweet and entertaining and offered us complimentary chocolates for being social workers. None of the other coach riders got them. =)
During the train ride I decided to separate from the gals for a little bit and ride in between the cars. If you don't mind standing up while the train moves, then this is the way to go because you get to breathe in the fresh air of the Bay area and have unobstructed views of Napa.
This is the place to spend a day relaxing. Alone or with a partner, it couldn't be more perfect.
Health Spa Napa Valley provides a variety of spa services but in addition, you can spend the portion of time you're not being treated to spa services swimming in the outdoor pool, heated to 80 degrees (farenheit) year round. Or enjoy the spa, or the fitness center, or the steam room scented in eucalyptus. If you are not relaxed when you leave, there is no hope for you (kidding of course)!
Massage for two in the same treatment room is available. I enjoyed a stone massage and facial, enjoying them both immensely.
Take some time for yourself...ENJOY!
The vineyards of the Carneros region are excellent producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Being very near to the San Francisco Bay (technically the San Pablo Bay), these vineyards experience a very moderate climate which rarely freezes hard in winter nor overheats during day in summer. During the spring, a morning and evening marine layer keeps the region shrouded in fog, while fall harvest is predictably sunny and unencumbered by problems of moisture. Thus, the season for growing is a long one here, in terms of the spread of daylight over the growing season, an important factor toward development of complexity in the fruit flavors. The Carneros Chardonnay grapes are famous for producing a finely structured full bodied wine with tropical-like flavors. These wines can have considerable aging potential, depending upon the methods used by the winemaker. Similarly, the Pinot Noir, a finicky grape to grow elsewhere in the valley, thrives in the Carneros region. Styles vary, but I have found that the Carneros Pinot wines are capable of that "smokey" quality that distinguishes the fruit, without any loss of the richer raspberry-like fruit flavors. I find that these wines are less age worthy, and believe that the better Carneros Pinot Noir wines suitable for a restaurant drinkable now style. Since both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are chief components in good Method Champagnoise sparkling wine, it's not surprising that producers of bubbly have located here. Pictured here are Saintsbury (http://www.saintsbury.com/) and Acacia (http://www.acaciawinery.com/), both excellent still wine producers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. See the next tip on Carneros for more wineries and discussion.
I absolutely love this spa. The treatments sound like yummy flavored desserts...stay tuned, I'll be back real soon and this time with pics and more info.