For some, a trip to California’s Wine Country is something of a pilgrimage – the chance to meet the people who care for their favorite drinks. For others, it’s a way to learn about different varietals and wineries. Regardless of your interest in wine, a day (or two, three, or four…) in wine country can become the highlight of your West Coast trip. Here are a few of our tips to maximize your time fully.
Go for the VIP Experience
While most wineries are open to the public and encourage walk-in tastings, to get the most out of your time, a private tour and tasting is the way to go. You will be able to learn more about where they grow the grapes, how long they age, and how to distinguish the different flavor notes of each vintage. Already an expert? Then you will enjoy being able to have a personalized experience tailored to your interests…and I guarantee you’ll learn something you didn’t already know!
Enjoy the ride
Hiring a driver is the best course of action for many, many reasons. The most important is, of course, safety. While tastings usually are small pours that equal about one glass, some sommeliers can be very generous. Those sips can add up, and you don’t want to be stranded at Silver Oak with no way back to your hotel (then again, there could be worse things!). Handing the keys over to someone also gives you the freedom to sit back, relax, and survey the incredible scenery all around. From the rolling hills to the charming towns, there’s not a moment you don’t want to miss a moment outside that window. And if you get really lucky, your driver can also be your guide, providing insight into the area you might otherwise miss.
Pack a lunch
Or plan a stop. Most car companies allow you to bring your meal with you, thereby maximizing your touring time. If a picnic lunch isn’t your thing, we have a host of other suggestions up our sleeve, such as swinging by Gott’s Roadside for a pick-me-up burger and fries (in case you were wondering, yes – this pairs nicely with a bold Cabernet Savignon).
From wine tour reservations to dinner, the earlier you book, the better the availability. Do this, and if you’re lucky – really lucky – you just might be able to snag that coveted table at French Laundry. We can give you tips on how to snag this coveted table …or where to go if the prix fixe menu is out of budget or not your style, yet you still want out of this world cuisine.
Slumber in style
There is no lack of beautiful hotels to choose from, and we can assist not only with which one is the best match for your needs, but also provide amenities such as a food & beverage or spa credit at many of them. For the popular group/friends’ Wine Country trip, the Hillside Lodge at Meadowood is the way to go. Here, each couple can have their own luxury room – complete with a fireplace, balcony, and bathroom to die for – while the group can relax together in the shared living areas. Here you can cozy up by the large fireplace, order in dinner to be placed on your large dining room table, or you can even cook yourself well equipped kitchen. With rooms this nice, you might not want to leave!
When you book your stay at Meadowood Lodge with me, I can provide:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- A $50.00 credit towards daily breakfast in The Grill or via room service for up to 2 in-room guests
- $100 USD Equivalent Spa Services credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
- Welcome amenity of a box of handcrafted Napa Valley Chocolates
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
California’s Wine Country can be overwhelming to plan on your own, but proper, advance planning can bring a trip from good to great. If you need assistance, contact us to plan your next excursion!