Thursday, August 16, 2012

Napa Vacation. Part 1.

The long awaited Napa post!! I've been so excited to write about Napa for two reasons: 1) to re-live the INCREDIBLE experience all over again, and 2) to share this amazing vacation with you guys! Let me just say that going to Napa has been the #1 thing on my list of places to travel for a while. My husband had All-Star break for 3 days at the beginning of July, and I figured this would be the perfect time to go since we were so close to Napa anyways. I talked my parents and brother into going, as well, to make it a family trip! Long story short, my husband got traded to another baseball team one day into our vacation, and he had to leave early. I was bummed about that, but I know it comes with the he promised me that we would come back together! I am holding him to that.....

Here are my recommendations and pictures from our trip of a lifetime! Please let me know if there are any places in/around Napa that I need to add to my list. Enjoy! xx

Wednesday: Chris and I met my parents in San Francisco for the day, before heading to Napa. We shopped and had dinner at one of my fave SF places, Balboa Cafe.  For a review of Balboa Cafe and a list of my San Fran picks, click here.

Thursday: We headed to Napa via The Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito. On our way to Napa, we got word Chris was traded to another team, all the way across the country! I knew he would be leaving the next day, so we made sure to get in at Duckhorn Vineyards, which has our favorite wine ever! (Their 2005 and 2006 Cab) Then we had dinner at the amazing Brassica, which is one of Cindy Pawlcyn's restaurants. I highly recommend going to eat here and having the bacon wrapped figs & eggplant fries for appetizer!

At Duckhorn Vineyards...

Such beautiful grounds! Wine tasting on a wrap-around outdoor porch was heaven!

How tasting was set up. As you finished one wine, they came around to pour and tell about the next.

With my parents in the vineyards of Duckhorn.

The things you MUST try at Brassica: Bacon wrapped figs & eggplant fries...with this amazing sauce!

Friday: We had breakfast at the adorable Boon Fly Cafe before starting the day off with great wine tastings. The Boon Fly Cafe serves Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner so be sure and check it out while you're in the Napa area. It's at the southernmost end of the Napa Valley, in the Carneros region, so we took advantage of being down that way to go visit a winery that a local recommended, off the beaten path. (I love that kind of thing, and so does my fam!) It was called Ram's Gate. (pictures below) Then we went to Del Dotto, which was one of our top 3 wineries/wines on the whole trip! 

Some of the views from Ram's Gate... their outdoor tasting patio overlooked the Carneros Valley.

The beautiful inside!

One of the smaller rooms. We loved the decor and architecture! 

One last family pic before Chris leaves for the East Coast!

How cute is my little mama???

Entrance to Del Dotto

Del Dotto is one of the few wineries with a cave tour, which was so cool! If I am not mistaken, it's the only one where you can taste their wines straight out of the barrel. Very fun and unique experience!
The caves were dug by hand in 1885.

Mom, dad, and I inside the caves.

Here is our FABULOUS guide, Tim, pouring wines from the barrel into our glasses. We got to do a couple of side-by-side comparisons of wine aged in American oak barrels vs French oak barrels, which was a great learning experience! This was one of our favorite tours! You also got a great cheese & meat plate afterwards, with a little chocolate and port tasting as well. (if you go, Ask for Tim or Adam to give your tour)

Wines aging in barrels line every inch of the caves at Del Dotto.

Saturday: My brother finally arrives to San Fran, so we head back into the city to pick him up and take the Alcatraz tour! I tried to take the tour last time I was in town, but it was sold out. If you want to do this, which I highly recommend, definitely book as soon as you know you'll be in town. It sells out quickly! For dinner that night, we all met up with some SF friends at Garibaldi's - which was SO fun! They brought a couple bottles of great wine, and we enjoyed amazing food & conversation. If you go, get the lamb entrĂ©e!! We had dessert at American Cupcake, which is my version of heaven...

Cupcakes AND wine pairings?!? SOLD!

My happy place. You must go here!

I am doing our whole vacation in 2 posts, so stay tuned for the other half...I will tell you guys about our FAVORITE winery with an incredible view of the whole Napa valley! I also plan to give you guys a great guide to Napa, divided up into region. It helped me a lot, so I wanted to share it with you guys!


  1. so jealous! love wine tasting and napa is amazing! We went a couple years ago but don't know how i missed a cupcake tasting!! Def on my list for next time!!!

  2. i love napa and always want to go back so thank you for this! my friend and i love ram's gate wine, plus it's such a beautiful vineyard. glad you had fun and hope the trade went well!

  3. wonderful blog with good source of information regarding wine tours and i am damn sure that this vital stuffs will help the visitors to decide their tours.If any body want to know more about then they can visit napa wine tours from san francisco