St. Helena is a world treasure for wine and food lovers
Traffic going down the mainstreet moves at a snail's pace during the summer weekends
A good place to spend a few hours.
The V. Sattui Winery, just beside the Saint Helena Highway is a destination by itself. This wine store, Italian market place and mini foot stall cum wine tasting and souvernir store plus picnic garden and wedding destination, is a brainchild of the 5th generation vitner Dario Sattui (he also owns the bigger Castello Di Amorosa in Calistoga, a few...more
This is the home of the Budding Chef's who want to be the next Mario Battali or Wolfgang Puck or Kat Cora or Bobbie Flay. This area of Napa is one of the of the four Locations of the World Famous Culinary Institute of America. The sprawling complex houses their culinary school, A Spice Islands Market, Vitners Hall of Fame and their showpiece...more
There are a few shops in Saint Helena worht checking out. One in particular is Oliver Napa Valley. A very unique store that is larger than you would expect. Specializing in a wide variety of Olive oil, mustards and vinegars. They also have some household goods and pottery. The Olive oil and mustards are very good. A nice store to check out.more
With all apologies to my friend, Roz, who really liked this place in all honesty this was the least appealing winery my wife and I visited in our 2 days in Napa Valley. Here are my reasons:1) Very crowded - Yes, we were there right after noon on a Tuesday afternoon, so we ran into the lunch crowd, so that was my fault2) Too commercialized - I...more
Of the dozen or so wineries located on Hwy 29 in this area, newcomers can be easily persuaded to visit the wrong ones, or the newbies that really have no track record of success. The largest winery by far in this area would be Louis Martini which produces great wine for the price. The hospitality tour and tasting provided by the staff is very...more
These two wineries are not far from each other in the south of St. Helena benchland area where so many European financed wineries are cropping up. Heitz Cellars is an original California boutique winery started in 1961 when there were only twenty in the valley. Today, Joe and Alice are replaced by his son and daughter. The tasting room is easy to...more
Many boutique wineries started a trend in the early 1980's of making wine fun and silly. Folie-a-Deux name is not traditional nor reverent, and in fact are irreverent to the customarily snotty wine snob attitude, an attitude that scares away a lot of American consumers. Despite this, Folie-a-Deux wine quality is no joke, and so larger wineries...more
Half way up the Deer Park Road hill toward Angwin, Burgess Cellars and Vineyards hangs onto a great steep hillside with an excellent view. This family owned winery has been a favorite of mine over the years. The steep slope of Howell Mountain on the eastern side of the Napa Valley tends to stress the vines by lack of water and an intense afternoon...more
Whereas the vineyards of Mayacamas mountains west of St. Helena have gravely volcanic soils, a thick arbor of Redwood and Manzanita forests, a relative abundance of rain, and mostly morning sun, the vineyards in the Vaca mountain range east of St. Helena have thin rocky volcanic soils, a thin arbor of an occasional oak tree, minimal rain, and a...more
1152 Lodi Lane, St. Helena, California, 94574, United States
Good for: Business
1 Main St
Good for: Business
US$360 There are 85 cottages, suites, and lodges; play croquet, golf, tennis, or cycle, swim, and...more
This place is somewhere between Napa and St. Helena, probably close to Yountville and right on Highway 29. Mustards Grill has been serving excellent food in the Napa Valley for years. We had a wonderful dinner there, myself enjoying one of my old favorites... barbecued pork ribs. It was sticky but delicious! We also had the most delicious broccoli...more
Taylor's Refresher is an institution in St. Helena, and has been ever since 1949. It LOOKS like some run of the mill roadside hamburger drive-in, but take another look, and you'll see the long line in front of the order window at any time of day. This is the type of burger drive-in you can find only in the wine country. In addition to burgers, you...more
This place has been around since 1949, slinging burger and fries, and serving up shakes. It's still standing, like a relic from the American Graffiti days, and there's always a queue outside (indeed, they serve to all kinds: Robert Redford and Lyle Lovett have been known to get in line). The staff are all friendly, and the ingredients extremely...more
St. Helena main street is the infamous Hwy 29 through the Napa Vally, so...this is the slow part of the trip to the wineries for some and a fun place to stop for others.The Wine Valley Restaurant is next to a Mexican restaurant and a motorcycle rental site (for tourists) so you get the abiance of the street. Once inside, you are in Italy.... The...more
The Greystone building on Hwy 29 just north of St. Helena was converted several years ago, at great expense given the seismic flaws found during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, into the California Campus of the Culinary Institute of America. The institute is open to visitors, and there's the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant which serves lunch...more
There's not much nightlife to speak of in St. Helena if you are planning on staying overnight. Most activities take place at the wineries or resorts. Ana's, however, has live music on the weekends from 9:30pm-1:30am. If you want to escape any sort of pretenciousness, this is it. There's a bar, where locals like to hang out, as well as a restaurant serving Mexican and Spanish food.
Dress Code: No need to dress up. You should be dressed down.
The easiest way to get to St. Helena is by car. From downtown San Francisco, get onto the Bay Bridge, then take Hwy 80 north to Hwy 37. Go west on 37, then turn north on Hwy 29. You must pay a $2 toll after crossing the Carquinez Bridge.
From Sacramento, take Hwy 80 south to Hwy 12. Take Hwy 12 west to Hwy 29, then north to St. Helena.
If you are coming from the north along I 5, you can exit at Hwy 20, then travel west to Clearlake where you will take Hwy 53 through the town to connect with Hwy 29. Take Hwy 29 south to St. Helena.
Most people travel along Hwy 29 where the majority of wineries and businesses are clustered. However, you can avoid the crush by taking the Silverado Trail instead. This backroad is much more picturesque with no traffic lights to slow you down, although the scenery probably will.
Alternatively you could take public transit. The Baylink Ferry (Tel: +1 877-643-3779 or 643-3779, http://www.baylinkferry.com) runs between San Francisco (Embarcadero & Market St) and Vallejo. From the ferry terminal in Vallejo, catch a route 10 Napa Valley Transit bus (% 800-696-6443, www.transitinfo.org/NVT) to St. Helena. The ferry costs $8, half price for youth and seniors, and the bus is $2.50, half price for seniors and $1.80 for students.
Greyhound does not serve St. Helena. It only goes to Napa City.
The best way is by car, although you could rent a bike from St. Helena Cyclery (Tel: +1 (707) 963-7736, 1156 Main Street); rates are $7 per hour or $25 per day.
If you do drive by car and intend on doing some wine tasting at the wineries, be sure to have a designated driver. Impaired driving is not only dangerous, it is a criminal offense.
Spirits in Stone was a wonderful find and not what is normally expected in an "outlet" shopping mall. They carry top end jewely that is very unique and all hand made. It is more like art than "normal" jewelry. Incredible collection of African stone carvings; gold and silver crafted necklaces, earings, rings. $$$$$ you get what you pay formore
Head to the center of town for some great shopping. Many turn of the century boutique stores and cafes line the main drag. You can buy wines, chocolates, pottery, antiques, clothing, linens, books, gifts, just about everything from chocolate covered pecans and roses to iPods. Most of the stores have very unique items. I may come back here to do my...more
489 Reviews and Opinions
It gets really busy from summer to fall. If you plan to visit on a weekend at this time, be sure to make reservations for accommodations well ahead of time. Even the campsite at Bothe-Napa State Park gets booked up.
You should also be aware that many accommodations do not take children or pets.
Since V. Sattui is one of the few wineries on Hwy 29 to provide both free tasting and free picnic space, one might wonder why I consider this a "tourist trap". I worked part of a summer at V. Sattui and like and admire Darrell Sattui, the primary owner, very much. Early on, Darrell recognized the value of producing what the not-so-sophisticated...more
Don't expect to see much of interest at the Hurd Beeswax Candle Factory. Most of the premises is dedicated to selling candles and other gifts. They do make candles by hand during the week, but not on the weekend when many people visit. They also have a small display of 'bees at work'--a glass pane behind two cupboard doors--but it isn't anything...more
In 1990, a friend invited me to fly with him over the Napa Valley area, which provided me an excellent opportunity to add to my collection of slides used in the California Wine Appreciation course I taught at the time. Note in the sparse vegetation along the Silverado Trail and around Conn Dam Reservoir, which are on the east side of the Napa...more
Since I live less than 30 minutes away from the wine country, and love going up there, you would think maybe I've seen them all. Not so. Yes, I am a frequent visitor, but each time I go up, I discover a new winery, a new canyon, a new ridge, a new mountain, a new vineyard, a new terroir.On our last trip to Napa in September 2005, we decided to try...more
For admirers of Robert Louis Stevenson, the Silverado Museum (Tel: 963-3757, 1490 Library Lane) contains over 8,000 items, including original letters, manuscripts, and memorabilia. Stevenson lived in Napa for a time and wrote about his experiences in 'Silverado Squatters'. The museum is free and open 12pm to 4pm every day except Mondays and...more
No, the wine country is not a center for terror. At least not yet. When I mention terroir in these tips, it's not that I forgot to use my spellchecker. That's TERROIR, with an "I". "Terroir" means the unique combination of soil and climate in specific area that grows grapes for wine. In France, a particular terroir also includes specific grapes and...more
Wine is, of course, at the heart of the Wine Country, and some visitors seem to think that they're in some kind of competitive exercise to visit as many as humanly possible each day.We - and many of the winery people we spoke to - found that a little silly. After a few wineries, the palate, and the head, are dulled, and you just start drinking the...more
take the time to sample a variety of wineries and dine at the best restaurants. Visiting St. Helena is an epicurean experience above all else and those from the Bay Area that go to Napa for a weekend getaway largely do so for that reason. If you expect to visit only once, though, be sure to consider the broader activities and attractions. A good...more