Last week I was able to check wine tasting in Napa Valley off my bucket list! It was something I had been dying to do since my 21st birthday and who better to do it with than the Weiners? (pun intended). Thanks to my best friend and second family, I now have a serious appreciation for wine that doesn’t come in a box.
There are a few hotels in the area but we stayed in a charming cottage in St Helena. It was absolutely perfect and only a 2 minute drive to the main street that houses fun shops and great restaurants. For dinner, I highly recommend eating at Market. It had a great atmosphere and a dessert I’m still dreaming about. (A plate of marshmallows, peanut butter, chocolate, gingerbread cookies, and rice crispy treats with your own flame to make s’mores…I’m drooling just thinking about it). Okay back to the real reason you’re reading this post: wine!
Out of the 6 girls Casey brought on her birthday trip, none of us had been to Napa before. We were all pretty new to wine tasting and understanding everything that goes into making really spectacular wine, which was perfect because none of us were worried about asking questions or sounding silly during our trip.
The first winery we went to was the Fontanella Family Winery. It’s located on Mt. Veeder and is run by Jeff and Karen Fontanella. We were lucky enough not only to get to meet Karen, but also have her take us to their cellar and try some wines straight out of the barrel. Their unique blends and use of different soil makes their wine truly exceptional. My favorite out of the wines we tasted was the Cabernet Sauvignon 🙂
We carried on to the Minor Family Winery and were blown away. They took us underground to a cave where they had a beautiful candlelit tasting set up. Halfway through the tasting we got to go deeper into the cave and see where they stored all of their wine barrels. I liked how this tasting had wine glasses in all different shapes and sizes to maximize the smell and flavor.
Our third winery of the day was Duckhorn Vineyards. The beautiful rows of vines surrounding the establishment was an ideal background for some great instagrams. It was a really fun atmosphere and their Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon might have been my favorite of the day!
The final stop for our first day in Napa was Kelham Vineyards. What made this vineyard so special was their unique background story. It began when their sons were stealing grapes from their father’s crops and using them to make their own wine. When the parents figured out what they were doing they were angry, but also curious how the wine tasted. They realized that their sons created pretty incredible wine and well, the rest was history. The mother, Susanna Kelham, was the one who gave us the tasting which made it much more personal.
Day two began at Rombauer Winery in St Helena who is famous for their delicious Chardonnay. It sat on top of a hill with an incredible garden that guests can stroll through. It was a very educational tasting with a fun and casual vibe.
The final tasting we attended was at Silver Oak. This is a wine that I’ve known about and have been drinking for awhile now…okay maybe only for special occasions, but it still counts! Silver Oak definitely lived up to my expectations, with a beautiful property and wonderful atmosphere (and lets be real, any place that double pours is a place I want to be 😉 ). It was the perfect way to end our fist trip to Napa Valley.
One week later and I am already planning my next trip back to Napa Valley! In case you didn’t get enough of my trip (or are just trying to kill time at work) you can watch the YouTube video I made from our weekend below 🙂
Little Brantley Abroad