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  • Writer's pictureShayna Gaman-Bean

NorCal Ventures, Part 2: Napa Wine Country

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

"Making good wine is a skill. Fine wine is an art." ~ Robert Mondavi

Napa is just a short 1.5 hour drive from where we live, yet we rarely make it out for visits. Well, it's about time that changed!! So for the celebration of our 15th Wedding Anniversary (and 20 total years together), we decided it was time for a fun-filled weekend getaway.

Here's how we spent our time in Napa Valley, CA:

1. Napa Premium Outlets: We started out doing a little shopping at the outlets and I found some great deals on purses! I'm not even a shopper, I actually dislike it. However, it sure was fun spending a little money on deals for myself.

2. Our first winery stop was at Grgich Hills Estate. It was such a beautiful day and the outdoor patio was just perfect to enjoy some wine and cheese. One thing I did notice was that when you compare to other wineries the pours here are smaller and the cheese platter is also smaller and is an additional charge. At the other wineries, the cheese platter is included in the cost of wine tasting and the platter itself and the pours are larger. However, we still really enjoyed our time there and the wines were phenomenal. I'm not much of a Chardonnay person, but we loved the ones we tried. We also loved the Cabs, but the Zinfandel was a favorite. It was $125/bottle, but we had to take some home. Actually we had the whole bottle with dinner that night and it was just perfect!

3. Afterwards we headed to the hotel to check in and do a quick change and head to dinner at Angele. Dinner was delicious! We enjoyed the French Onion Soup, Foie Gras, duck, and lamb, but the dessert (some sort of butterscotch bread pudding) was one of the best desserts I've ever had!

We went to bed relatively early this night because we had a very early morning reservation...

4. 0430 wake up call for Hot Air Ballooning at 0615. We flew with Napa Valley Balloons and I would highly recommend this company. Staff were super fun and knowledgeable, the location was very convenient, pilot was incredibly experienced and had so many interesting stories. The flight itself was about 1 hour long and it was so much fun! The sunrise was spectacular and the views were stunning. I thought it would be cool, but between the fact you're moving with the wind and you feel the heat of the flame, it was actually quite cozy. The landing was super smooth and I felt very comfortable and safe the entire time. Afterwords they surprised us with some Mumms Champagne back at the golf course we met at!

5. We then headed to brunch at Southside Cafe which I would also highly recommend! The food and coffee were delicious!! And service and venue was great too!

6. Then off to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park for a late morning hike. We wandered around for a little over an hour. The park was absolutely beautiful and the lighting was stunning. I would love to camp here sometime.

7. On to our next wine tasting adventure at Mumm. This was definitely my favorite wine tasting experience. Mostly because I'm a champagne fan, but also because the sparkling wine was delicious, the venue was beautiful, and the cheese platter was equally delicious!! Would highly recommend! Our favorite there was the DVX.

After another quick change at the hotel, we headed out for dinner.

8. This night we had dinner at Celadon which was another delicious meal. Mike got the steak and I got the salmon. The bourbon drinks were so yummy and a nice little break from all the wine.

9. We ended the night with a Jake Shimabukuro concert at the Uptown Theatre. Another highly recommended event. Jake is a wonderful ukulele artist and entertainer! If you have a chance to see him, do it!!

10. Brunch this morning was at another favorite of ours, Jax White Mule. So delicious!!

11. Up next was horseback riding and wine tasting at Shadybrook Estate Winery. The horseback ride was just about 30mins, but the horses were phenomenal and the views of the winery were so beautiful.

After riding we headed over the the patio with a wonderful view of the vineyard for some wine tasting.

Sadly, it was now time to head home. :(. We had the most amazing 48hrs in Napa!! We can't wait to do it again and we would highly recommend everything we did during this trip.



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