We are so lucky to have a world renowned wine region right in our backyard. Napa Valley is 30 miles long, by 5 miles across (at the widest point). The valley is comprised of a variety of soil types and climates, which make it ideal for winemaking. Napa is the valley’s largest city, but along the 30 miles are plenty of smaller towns, each with their own unique characteristics and charm.
On our most recent trip we didn’t go too far up valley, staying mostly in Napa and Yountville. We hope to take more trips to Napa Valley so we can add to this list. Check out our Saint Helena City guide for more information as well!
Newton Vineyard is nestled in the hills of St. Helena, Napa Valley. For those lucky enough to visit, you’ll enjoy amazingly beautiful vineyard views and whimsical, stunning French and English gardens. It is Napa’s very own “secret garden” because not even many locals know it’s up there. Visits are by reservation only and the space is limited (make sure to call ahead of time!), so it’s always intimate and special.
The wines themselves are also just as impressive as the views. The Puzzle has been our favorite Bordeaux blend for years. Newton pioneered the use of Burgundian-style unfiltered winemaking in Napa Valley and was first to put “unfiltered” on the label. The ethos is very terroir-driven and they use only ambient yeast. Newton’s vineyards have been farmed organically and sustainability since 1977.
Bennett Lane Winery is located at the North end of the Napa Valley, where the valley floor meets the edge of the Mayacamas Mountains. The quaint town of Calistoga is nearby, framed by the rugged Palisades and capped by Mount St. Helena. Bennett Lane wines are crafted to be approachable, yet complex—or what founder Randy Lynch calls “the best of both worlds, meaning you can drink them today, but they are structured enough to cellar for several years. Don’t miss out next time you are in Napa Valley!
Rutherford Hill Winery was one of the first wineries to be founded in Rutherford. While most of the wineries at that time were on the valley floor, Rutherford Hill Winery took advantage of growing on a hill. The winery was founded and has established itself through the years as a staple winery of this region. They have a natural wine cave and hold many events throughout the year, check out their calendar or consider their spaces for private events.
Kieu Hoang Winery is Napa Valley’s first Vietnamese owned winery. They broke out in the wine business by exporting wines to China and just last year they opened their public tasting room here in Napa. They have some great tasting wines and an amazing patio where you can soak in the views and sip the afternoon away. Although they do not serve food, you are free to bring your own picnic foods to enjoy on the patio. Tastings are by appointment, so make sure to schedule one before you go.
Etude is a quick drive from the heart of the Napa Valley area. Etude has refined their practices to selecting the best grape vines and producing selected wines to perfection. We love their Cabernet Sauvignon and they are known for their elegant Pinot Noir. Many of their wines are great for aging and to save for that special occasion!
Villa Ragazzi is a small family owned winery, run by a the Rodeno’s – a husband and wife team. They specialize in Sangiovese, something very unique for a Napa Valley winery! In addition to farming grapes to sell to other wineries, including Robert Mondavi Winery, they also produce limited cases of their own wine. The tasting takes place at the Rodeno home in their family kitchen. It’s down to earth, no frills, just great tasting wine. The Rodeno’s were very welcoming and are a wealth of Napa Valley Wine knowledge!
Oasis by Hoopes was created as a place to step away from the chaos and recharge one’s batteries. It is a haven created for people as well as rescue farm animals such as pigs, chickens, goats, and a donkey. Wine is served among their organic gardens along their vineyards. Relax and take in the amazing atmosphere that encompasses all things wine country.
Protea was the perfect stop for an afternoon lunch. The casual restaurant is located in downtown Yountville and is small, but colorful and inviting. Chef Anita serves up some delicious Latin food that’s sure to satisfy your hunger at a price point that can’t be beat in this neck of the vines. We loved how flavorful all the dishes were and how they didn’t leave us feeling overly full (need to save room for more wine tasting!). Their rooftop will be opening once the weather warms up and their menu changes every day. Our favorite dishes were the bison chili and the pulled pork pasta.
Squeeze Inn is a Napa local’s favorite. Their famous “cheese skirts” are ahhh-mazing. Who doesn’t love crispy, melted cheddar?! This is a great place to stop by after a long day of wine tasting. Squeeze Inn will definitely satisfy your burger craving and won’t break the bank.
Heritage Eats is a fast casual restaurant packed with modern, worldly flavors. It’s the perfect place to grab a quick bite, or gather a large group of friends for a spontaneous meal. You’ll enjoy their flavorful creations and everything from their Bánh Mì Dutch Crunch to Jamaican Baos are delicious. Choose to enjoy your meal as a salad, bowl, wrap, taco, or homemade bao. They also serve many house made drinks, available with pearls. It’s the only place in Napa we know of that serves boba!
Haven Napa serves up some amazing chicken wings for online ordering for home delivery or pick up in Napa. They use Mary’s Free Range Chicken, where every piece is “NAE” (No Antibiotics Ever), and fry them up with both one-of-a-kind tastes and classic flavors created uniquely for Napa.
Gott’s Roadside is one of our favorite burger joints. They have it all with their amazing burgers, milkshakes, fries, and sides. Now you can buy a whole jar of any of their house-made dressings and sauces to enjoy at home! Curbside pickup and delivery available at all locations.
Ca’ Momi Osteria gave us an authentic taste of the delicious Italian cuisine that we’ve been craving. Their menu includes traditional pasta dishes and wood fire pizza made from their in house pizza oven. Make sure to finish your meal with a tiramisu- one of the best we’ve had!
Tarla is located in downtown Napa and is a wonderful option for a nice sit down meal. Their menu is full of flavorful Mediterranean options made with locally sourced, quality ingredients. We enjoyed their Meze plate for a taste of a little of everything and the Musakka (layered eggplant dish) for something heartier.
The Preserve Spa at Marriott Napa is just the place we needed to visit after a day of eating and drinking. Choose from a variety of treatments and massage types and end your relaxing spa experience in their steam room or whirlpool. No visit to Napa Valley would be complete without a trip to the spa!
Aloft Napa Valley is the place to go if you want to experience a hot air balloon ride. They are one of the original hot air ballooning companies in the valley and have some of the most experienced pilots in the world. We arrived early in the morning and took off from Yountville. After floating up and over the vineyards we landed in the middle of a winery! Afterwards we enjoyed a champagne brunch. We can’t think of a better way to kick off a weekend in Napa Valley!
We loved learning the history of all the beautiful animals at Charlie’s Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary. They are dedicated to the care and rescued of farm animals. They serve as a sanctuary where their animals can live out their natural lives in peace, and as a venue for showing the general public that these intelligent beings deserve our compassion.