St. Helena is often referred to as the heart of Napa Valley. It offers the best of everything: wine, food, accommodations, and fantastic views! Only a short jog from San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area, it’s the perfect Napa Valley wine country weekend getaway. We have rounded up some of our favorite places to stay, eat, drink, and see in and around the quaint town of St. Helena. Let us know your St. Helena and Napa Valley favorites by leaving us a comment below.
Wydown Hotel: The Wydown Hotel is right at the end of Main Street in St. Helena. It’s a boutique 12-room hotel that offers sophisticated, casual, modern decor along with comfort and relaxation. They have some of the softest blankets we have ever felt! The Wydown is a perfect place to call home for the weekend and relax after a day of wine tasting. All of the downtown spots are within a 5 minute walk. You can’t ask for more!
Southbridge: Southbridge Napa Valley hotel is located right at the entrance to downtown St. Helena. It has spacious rooms with classic wine country style. Each room is outfitted with a fireplace, perfect for a cozy evening in! Their health spa offers an array of spa treatments and if you stay here you’ll get access to their heated lap pool, steam rooms and fitness center. Breakfast is included, so you’ll have a full belly before going wine tasting.
The Model Bakery: The Model Bakery is an essential St. Helena stop. It’s been a part of the Napa Valley for nearly 90 years and it’s still going strong! Grab a coffee and croissant or breakfast sandwich to get your morning going. Order a sandwich to-go for a nice picnic lunch. We got to try out a new menu item: toast with house made ricotta, honey, and macerated berries…it’s to-die for! We wish we could eat it every morning!
Cook Tavern: Cook Tavern is the perfect place for a casual meal while in St. Helena. It’s unpretentious and offers some great brews and cocktails, should you need a break from all the wine you’ve been sipping. Their small plates are great for sharing. Try a “not so small” dish if you are on the hungrier side. We enjoyed their duck tacos, mini corn dogs, fish and chips, and tomato soup. Cook Tavern is also a great place to catch the game – the TV’s are always on!
Goose and Gander: Located off of the Main Street in St. Helena, Goose and Gander was definitely a food highlight of our trip. Their dishes are mouthwatering and beautifully presented. The atmosphere is warm and cozy whether you choose to sit in their main dining room, basement bar, or patio. Try the cocktails here, too. We recommend the Cucumber Collins…you won’t regret it. All of the dishes here were delicious! Our favorites include the beet salad, grilled octopus, and short rib pasta.
Round Pond: Have you ever had an olive oil tasting, complete with food pairings? Neither had we until Round Pond. Round Pond is located in Rutherford, a very short drive from St. Helena. Their olive oil tour & tasting is definitely a memorable experience for any foodie and makes for a great stop between winery tastings. All of the garden inspired bites were delicious, as were their oils, vinegars, and syrups. You’ll walk out knowledgeable about oils and vinegars and the production process. If you’re like us, you may even be inspired to try out some new things in the kitchen when you get home!
All Seasons Bistro: Calistoga is one town over from St. Helena, and it’s worth the short drive to visit. Right in the middle of Calistoga’s downtown, you’ll find All Seasons Bistro. It’s charming, inviting, and serves seasonally fresh food! Their flavors are clean, bright, and reflect what is in season, so the menu is constantly changing. The ahi tuna tartare, gnocchi, and seafood risotto were all memorable.
Newton Vineyard: Nestled high in the St. Helena hills, Newton Vineyard is worth the windy drive up. It has gorgeous views and their wines are delectable. Try “The Puzzle” if you like heavy reds and you’ll be hooked! Like the name of the wine, their vineyards looks like puzzle pieces. Instead of clearing the land to plant vines, they planted only where there were already natural clearings. Newton Vineyard’s tours include a visit to their Chardonnay cellars as well as their English gardens. If you go during the summer you will also be able to tour their vineyards and see amazing panoramic views of the Napa Valley. Call ahead to make an appointment. Due to road restrictions, visits are by appointment only.
VGS Chateau Potelle Winery: VGS stands for “Very Good Shit”, and they aren’t joking…the wine is some good shit! The VGS Winery wines were some of our favorites, we walked out with a 12 bottle case! The VSG tasting room is located inside a beautifully decorated cottage on Highway 29. It’s whimsical, modern, and unpretentious. The owner/winemaker is from France and many of the wines are either French style, or poke fun at French Wines. They pair their wines with exquisite bites from the famed Michelin Star restaurant, La Toque. For $45 you will enjoy a seated tasting and paired bites. Call and make a reservation for your next trip! By appointment only.
Charles Krug Winery: Charles Krug is a winery that is rich in history as well as Cabernet! It was founded in 1861. In 1943 the winery was sold to the infamous Mondavi family. It was first run by Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, and today it is run by Peter Mondavi. The Mondavi family is still very much a part of day to day wine business. They have a gorgeous tasting bar and lounge with food pairings available. We loved the redwood barrel room, which you will get access to if you choose to do a barrel tasting.
Prager Portworks: Have a sweet tooth? Stop by Prager Portworks on Highway 29! It’s been family owned and operated since 1979. The winery is tucked away behind Sutter Home, so keep an eye out for the entrance or you just might miss it. Their tasting room is like no other – it’s rustic and the walls are covered with bills from all over the world. $20 will get you a tasting of their ports and you keep the glass!
Hall Napa Valley: Have you seen the giant Bunny Foo Foo statue on Highway 29? It’s home to none other than Hall Napa Valley! Hall has an impressive wine campus with outdoor and indoor artwork, multiple seating areas, tasting areas, and gardens. They have everything from a casual bar tasting, to private tasting rooms with food pairings so you can choose which tasting experience best fits your group’s needs. Allow yourself some time to stroll around and enjoy the artwork, gardens, and vineyard views.
Clif Family Winery: You have probably all had a Clif Bar before, but have you tried their wines?! Stop by the Clif Family Winery Velo Vino tasting room where the family’s passions for cycling, food and wine collide. If you’re feeling a little hungry, no worries, their Brushetteria Food Truck is right outside to satisfy your need for farm fresh and seasonal food. This is a great lunch/tasting stop. With the food coma that may ensue, you might be here for awhile… Some of our favorite wines here were the Sparkling Brut and 2013 Bici. Stop by next time you are in St. Helena and let us know what you think!
New West Knifeworks: We’re always up for a little shopping! New West Knifeworks is located in downtown St. Helena and is the place to go if you love spending time in the kitchen. Fair warning, you’ll want to buy everything! New West Knifeworks makes the most beautiful knives we’ve seen! These American made knives slice like a dream and we love the unique handle and color options available. They are truly an art piece for your kitchen. Our new Superbread knife is perfect for all of the sourdough we’ve been baking!
Bale Grist Mill Historic Park: If the weather is nice and you’d like to get outdoors, visit the Bale Grist Mill. The 36-foot water powered mill was built in 1846 and was the site where farmers would have their corn ground into meal or flower. If you visit on a weekend you can catch a milling demonstration and historic tour.
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park: If hiking and camping are your jam, check out the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. There are over 10 miles of beautiful trails, some that even run along the creek. Or stop by and find a nice place to enjoy a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful day.
Napa Valley Soap Company: Purchase some handmade soap to take home at the Napa Valley Soap Company. Their storefront and factory are located on Highway 29 in St. Helena. You can get a look at their production facility and may even get to see some soap making in action!