The best part about Napa Valley is that even if you’ve visited several times before, it’s impossible to get bored. There are always new wineries to discover, hotels and resorts to bliss out at, and world-class restaurants to indulge your inner foodie. If a trip to Napa Valley is on your 2019 travel bucket list – and if not, it probably should be – here are all the new ways to experience this world-famous, California Wine Country destination.
The newest luxury addition to Napa Valley hotels is Hotel Villagio. Formerly Villagio Inn & Spa, this property in the heart of Yountville has undergone a major renovation. The Villagio 2.0 boasts a ton of amenities: a new spa (one of the largest in Napa Valley), a social-focused lobby with craft cocktails, pool table, and classy board games, a heated pool, outside fire pits, and an epic, European-style continental breakfast served until 11 every morning. Hotel Villagio rooms are spacious, warm, and cozy (perfect for a winter getaway) with thoughtful details, like a champagne bucket set next to the soaking tub.
Completed this past summer, the Tuscan-inspired Vista Collina resort in Napa is a Wine Country destination in itself. Just steps away from your room (book one with vineyard views) is The Village, a pedestrian district with eight wine tasting rooms, a brewery, upscale grocery, Food & Wine Center (where you can take cooking classes), and an event lawn that hosts artisan markets, live music, and more. The Village is open later than most tasting rooms, so feel free to schedule a few hours in one of the resort’s luxury poolside cabanas or a facial at Spa Terra, housed inside a 22,000-square-foot cave.
In Calistoga, a boutique inn has opened in a gorgeous stone building that formerly housed the Calistoga Hospital. The historic 1886 building sat vacant for 50 years before the new owners stepped in to restore it and give it new life as The Francis House. Five cozy and uniquely different rooms feature stone walls, antique furnishings, and marbled bathrooms, and your stay boasts other amenities such as a pool, patio garden, and fully-equipped kitchen. The hotel is also right downtown and within walking distance to Calistoga restaurants, shops, and wine tasting rooms.
Two of Napa Valley’s most historic wineries got huge makeovers recently. ZD Wines, which celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2018 and is still family owned today, updated their tasting room with floor-to-ceiling indoor/outdoor glass walls and a second-story deck that looks out at the Mayacamas Mountains. Phase II of their renovations, which includes additional private tasting areas, will finish up early this year. Clos du Val, founded in 1972, also incorporated glass walls in their gorgeous new visitor center, which offers killer views of their estate vineyards and the chance to sip wine outside on a nice day. Local designer Erin Martin repurposed staves from the winery’s old casks to cloak the walls and ceiling.
In March, the iconic Louis M. Martini Winery will join ZD and Clos to Val with the opening of their new winery following a major restoration. Established in 1933, Martini was one of the first wineries to open in Napa Valley following the repeal of Prohibition and their new, contemporary facility in St. Helena looks absolutely stunning with posh, indoor and outdoor spaces offering curated wine and food experiences.
Several other Napa Valley wineries recently launched elevated tasting packages, incentivizing visitors to revisit old favorites. Sparkling wine lovers will want to check out Domaine Carneros‘ Asian-themed bites and bubbles experience, offered in Jardin d’Hiver, their brand new, all-glass garden conservatory, Domaine Chandon’s Brunch in Bloom, a delicious bubbly and breakfast endeavor in Yountville, or the uber-fancy Bubbles & Caviar tasting at Davies Vineyards (you’ll get a whole ounce of caviar).
Looking for something unique? One of only two Napa Valley wineries with its very own olive oil mill, Round Pond Estate’s new Vino and Olio offering is a two-hour, deep dive into how olive oil is harvested and made, culminating in a wine and olive oil tasting paired with small bites.
Chimney Rock, located in the renowned Stags Leap wine region, has three new experiences to try, but we’re most excited about the Vineyards Odyssey Tour & Tasting, an adventurous, 90-minute vineyard exploration.
By far the most controversial and talked about addition to Napa Valley is The Prisoner Wine Company tasting room, located in St. Helena. The antithesis to the typical Napa Valley vibe, The Prisoner – made famous for their namesake cult red blend – is dark, moody, and unlike any other tasting room in Wine Country. You’ll have to see for yourself, but one of the most interesting pieces of this new winery is The Makery, a multi-purpose space that supports local artisans in their craft, like pottery, jewelry, and even wine-infused jelly. As for the wine, you’ll get to taste a lot more than the typical Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon.
After four years of construction and anticipation, Restoration Hardware has finally arrived in downtown Yountville with the brand’s first-ever standalone restaurant and wine tasting room. RH Yountville serves up California-inspired comfort cuisine, like truffle grilled cheese and burrata with tomatoes on garlic bread, in a truly magical setting. The dining room features 100-year-old oak trees, antique fountains, and sparkling chandeliers. Moreover, the RH campus has design galleries, a wine and coffee bar, and the Wine Vault, a tasting room and outdoor courtyard that offers three flights of small-lot wines.
A big part of downtown Napa’s recent revitalization is First Street Napa, home to the Archer Hotel, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, and a high-end shopping district. Recently joining the likes of LUSH Cosmetics, Tommy Bahama, and others is Lululemon Athletica, MacBella (featuring European fashion brands), and Makers Market, where you can pick up locally-made artisan goods.