Napa Valley is the kind of place that never goes stale, for you can visit every year and still discover new places to stay, taste, eat, and shop. From new urban wine tasting rooms you can walk between to a one-stop-shop for R&R and retail therapy, we’ve made planning your 2020 Napa Valley vacation easy on you. Here are the best new spots to add to your itinerary.
Bouchaine Vineyards, Photo Courtesy of Business Wire | Michael Hospelt
If you’re seeking a tranquil getaway nestled in the heart of Wine Country, The Setting Inn fits the bill. This renovated, 1901 white farmhouse is a quick drive — or ride on the property’s complimentary electric bicycles — from the towns of Napa and Yountville. During the rainy winter months, the cozy, oversized rooms with soaking tubs, heated floors, and fireplaces deliver all the warmth you’ll need. But when the sun is out, you’ll likely want to spend your downtime sipping wine from one of The Setting Inn’s many outdoor seating areas, enveloped by vineyards: on your private patio, the communal deck, the grand lawn, or within the chic, indoor/outdoor red barn. Bonus: all guests receive a sit-down tasting of The Setting Wines, which famously sold one of its bottles for $350,000 at a charity auction in 2017.
After years of construction, the new Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley on the edge of downtown Calistoga is finally set to open in 2020, with reservations being accepted as early as July. Expect a pool, spa, multiple dining options, and even a winery, run by top Napa Valley winemaker Thomas River Brown, who’s been awarded 23 100-point scores from wine critic Robert Parker throughout his career. Many rooms boast vineyard views and look out at the Palisades Mountains.
Tasting Rooms Renewed
Two of Napa Valley’s longtime wineries opened stunning new visitor centers at the end of 2019. The iconic Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford has set itself apart from every other Napa Valley winery, for its new hospitality center features nine uniquely-designed tasting rooms, each assigned a different tasting experience. For example, you can opt for a red or white wine-specific tasting within the fermentation hall, surrounded by Cakebread’s gorgeous concrete eggs, or a food and wine pairing set in a glass-walled room with a view.
In Carneros, the new 5,000-square-foot visitor center at Bouchaine Vineyards rises majestically out of the gorgeous, rolling landscape. Designed like a semi-circle with a wall of windows and an expansive patio (complete with fire pits), the views here give the winery’s beloved pinot noirs a run for their money — and on a cold or rainy day, the interior is incredibly cozy.
Napa’s New Urban Wineries
The buzzing downtown Napa welcomed several new tasting rooms recently. St. Helena‘s Alpha Omega Winery opened a second outpost downtown, the Alpha Omega Collective, which also pours wines from its sister brands, Tolosa on the Central Coast and Perinet in Spain. This gives visitors a chance to taste Bordeaux, Burgundian, and Spanish wines all in one place (and even pair them with tasty treats like Spanish fried chicken).
Just across the way from the new collective, Napa Valley visitors can finally gain access to the venerable wines from Mayacamas Vineyards. The historic Mt. Veeder winery established in 1889 has always been pretty exclusive and off-the-beaten-path, but the new Mayacamas Downtown tasting room can welcome more people than ever before, both conveniently and at a fraction of the price.
Sonoma’s WALT Wines has crossed over the border. In 2019, WALT opened a new wine tasting room right across from the Oxbow Public Market, bringing a unique Burgundian tasting experience to Napa. Book the Root 101 tasting to sample 1,000 miles of pinot noir via single-vineyard bottlings sourced up the West Coast — from Santa Barbara to Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Coming soon to downtown Napa is the new Roots Run Deep tasting room, opening in a historic craftsman built in 1901. Here, visitors will be able to sample the winery’s affordable Napa Valley wines, including their uber-popular Educated Guess Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon, which retails for about $25.
Art & Wine in Napa Valley
Farther Upvalley and located next door to the legendary Oakville Grocery, 1881 Napa opened inside a beautiful white Victorian built in — you guessed it — 1881. A tasting room and museum in one, visitors can taste an array of wines from Napa Valley’s distinct viticulture appellations (spanning Carneros to Calistoga) while learning all about wine history and how it has evolved in Napa Valley. The museum is free admission, where you can check out wine relics, antiques, and artifacts from Europe and California.
In Yountville, the brand new Heron House is a multi-winery tasting room across from the Hotel Villagio. Featuring eight winery partners, including Bench Vineyards, Eponymous Wines, Hobel Wines, Lindstrom Wines, Myriad Cellars, Steltzner Vineyards, Switchback Ridge, and Zeitgeist Cellars, this tasting destination offers much more than just wine, thanks to a curated collection of art, crafts, and gourmet goodies.
Other Napa Valley wineries recently launched original, appointment-only tasting packages, incentivizing visitors to revisit old favorites. Trefethen Family Vineyards now has two food and wine experiences on deck: Taste the Estate and Legacy Tasting. The latter is actually hosted by a third-generation family member, but both incorporate ingredients from the winery’s impressive culinary gardens. The tastings pay homage to the Napa Valley Cooking Club, which the Trefethens started in the ’70s, welcoming top chefs from all over the world.
In celebration of its 80th anniversary, Beaulieu Vineyard has created the Georges de Latour Experience, which honors the winery’s most prized reserve wine and Napa Valley’s first cult cabernet sauvignon. Taste five different vintages of the Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon spanning several decades and even a barrel sample of a future release.
Yountville is known for its international fine dining, but a new steakhouse from The Estate Yountville and celebrity grill master chef Adam Perry Lang has arrived to shake things up. Housed in a two-story mansion built in 1870, Perry Lang’s dining room is masculine, yet luxurious, and the restaurant menu showcases the chef’s dry-aged beef program, which goes up to 400+ days for the Reserve Cut.
No time for brunch? If you need a great cup of coffee and grab-n-go breakfast before you head out for a day of wine tasting, make a stop at Station in St. Helena. The latest project from Joel Gott of the famed Gott’s Roadside lives in a vintage gas station off Main Street.