How to Spend 36 Hours in Calistoga This Winter

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Courtesy of Visit Calistoga
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Winter has arrived in Napa Valley. The grapes have been picked, the throngs of tourists have dissipated, and everyone is feeling a little more jovial and relaxed. That’s why now is one of the best times to visit Calistoga and experience its world-class wineries, restaurants, hot springs, spas, and shopping.

Best of all, if you visit between December 7, 2019 and February 9, 2020, you can purchase the Calistoga Winter in the Wineries Passport and receive complimentary tastings at 16 of Calistoga’s finest wineries, complimentary corkage at participating restaurants, and discounts at Calistoga lodging, spas, and shops. The Passport is only $60 per person and is valued at over $400 in wine tastings alone. What are you waiting for? Pack your bags for a winter weekend getaway that will have you exploring the best of this Wine Country wonderland.

Day One – Afternoon

Sterling Vineyards

Courtesy of Sterling Vineyards

Located 300 feet above the town of Calistoga, Sterling Vineyards is the perfect way to take in the lay of the land as you start your trip. Hop aboard the aerial tram to reach the Mykonos-inspired winery perched high above. Take a self-guided tour to enjoy sweeping views of Napa Valley and Mount Saint Helena before tasting a selection of current release wines. Eight bells from London’s Church of St. Dunstan’s-in-the-East ring on the quarter hour reminding you to enjoy your visit, but not to linger too long as there’s so much more to see and taste.

1111 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga, CA 94515, (800) 726-6136

Tank Garage Winery

Courtesy of Tank Garage Winery

Before you check into your hotel, make a pit stop at Tank Garage Winery, a winery and tasting room inside of a preserved 1930s service station with an unpretentious, welcoming vibe and a focus on quirky “one off” wines. Enjoy a flight of four wines at the Lubrication Bar, located inside the old repair garage, which has a 40-foot roll-up glass door and a vintage pinball machine. You don’t need a reservation, but this place is popular, so it can’t hurt.

1020 Foothill Boulevard, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 942-8265

Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Courtesy of Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

The only problem with staying at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs is that even though it’s conveniently located in downtown Calistoga, it’s hard to make yourself leave the property. After you check in, get into vacation mode with a spa treatment, like a mud bath or a massage, followed by a dip in the healing waters of the four geothermal outdoor mineral pools. (Discounts available on lodging and spa treatments for Passport holders.)

1006 Washington Street, Calistoga, CA 94515, (866) 822-5772

Evangeline

Courtesy of Evangeline

End your first day with dinner at Evangeline, a popular French bistro “with a Creole soul” located within walking distance of the hotel. On chillier nights, a booth inside of the dining room is cozy and intimate, but the garden patio (that is covered and heated during the winter) is also delightful. Everything on the menu of bistro classics is delicious, but the steak frites and gumbo never disappoint. Be sure to save room for the warm apple tarte tatin with vanilla bean ice cream. As with all of the participating restaurants, a Passport gets you complimentary corkage on a bottle of wine from any of the participating wineries.

1226 Washington Street, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 341-3131

Day Two

Cafe Sarafornia 

Courtesy of Cafe Sarafornia

This old school diner is very popular and considered by many to be the best breakfast in town. The line can be long, but it’s worth the wait for a hearty and comforting meal that will set you up for a successful day of wine tasting and exploring.

1413 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 942-0555

Castello di Amorosa

Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa is inside of an impressive medieval-inspired Tuscan castle. Explore at your leisure via a self-guided tour that includes a tasting of five wines, plus access to the ground level of the Castello, the main tasting bar, and Knight’s Hall below ground. This Napa winery gets very busy on Saturday afternoons, so if visiting on a weekend, you’ll want to make this your first winery stop of the day.

4045 St. Helena Highway, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 967-6272

Cal Mart

Courtesy of Facebook: Cal Mart Napa Valley

After Castello di Amorosa, make a quick stop into Cal Mart, a specialty grocery and deli in Calistoga, to pick up a sandwich, wrap, or salad for a picnic at your next tasting.

1491 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 942-6271

Fairwinds Estate Winery

Courtesy of Facebook: Fairwinds Estate Winery

Stop into Fairwinds Estate Winery for the opportunity to taste wines from four of the finest wineries in Calistoga: Fairwinds Estate Winery, Valley Floor Vineyard, Kenefick Ranch, and Canard Vineyard. The idyllic estate setting also has beautiful picnic grounds where you can enjoy your picnic lunch. After all, the key to a successful day of wine tasting is sustenance.

4550 Silverado Trail N, Calistoga, CA 94515, United States, (707) 341-5302

Chateau Montelena Winery

Courtesy of Chateau Montelena

Why only visit one castle in a day when you can visit two? This serene estate features a stone castle built into the hillside, as well as a Chinese garden with crooked bridges, a peaceful pavilion, and swans and ducks swimming in the lake. Enjoy complimentary tastings of four wines with your Passport, or, if you purchase the Passport at the winery, you’ll receive a free tasting of the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. After sampling wine, be sure to leave time to explore the grounds.

1429 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 942-5105

Shopping in Downtown Calistoga

Courtesy of Facebook: Calistoga Pottery

Take a break from eating and drinking by doing a little shopping in downtown Calistoga during the afternoon. Stop by Blackbird for lifestyle products, like jewelry, artwork, home goods, and cool gifts for kids. The Vintage Treehouse offers well-curated vintage items, including rustic furniture, home décor, and homemade jewelry. At Calistoga Pottery, you can buy pottery from Jeff and Sally Manfredi who have been making pottery together for almost 40 years (and who are usually happy to take a break and chat). All of these stores, and more, are offering 10% off of regularly priced items to Passport holders.

Sam’s Social Club

Courtesy of Indian Springs Resort

This restaurant at the Indian Springs Resort is inside a welcoming Mission Revival dining room (with outdoor seating and fire pits on the patio as well). The farm-to-table menu is thoughtful and seasonal, but also very approachable, with twists on comforting California cuisine like a cheeseburger with house-ground prime beef, a pan roasted rack of lamb, grilled octopus, and candy cap churros that are not to be missed.

1712 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 942-4969

Day Three

Lovina

Courtesy of Lovina

It’s almost time to head home, but before you leave, enjoy brunch on the heated patio at Lovina, a charming restaurant in a cottage-like setting with friendly service and an indulgent menu. Choose from “A breakfast kind of brunch” with dishes like cinnamon raisin walnut bread french toast, or “A lunch kind of brunch” with options such as chicken and dumplings. There’s also an irresistible selection of sweets, like a lemon poppy seed olive oil cake, and best of all: even if you sleep in, you won’t miss the meal, since brunch is served every day until 4pm.

1107 Cedar Street, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 942-6500


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Author

Daisy Barringer

Daisy Barringer is a freelance writer who grew up in San Francisco and now lives there with her 150-pound Saint Bernard, Monkey. When she’s not writing about food and drink, travel, and other ways to have the most fun, she’s out and about actually having the most fun (otherwise known as “research”). Follow her adventures on Instagram @daisysf.

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