Wine and cheese is one of the greatest pairings in history. Although we’re not too keen on the high cheese factor that can accompany romantic gestures. Rose petals, soft lighting and Kenneth G(Kenny if you’re feeling sexy) are the typical building blocks of a romantic getaway, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s your only option for spicing things up. While you may be a fool in love, we’ll help you not be a fool when it comes to romance in the Napa Valley.
Check out 4 itineraries for romance that’ll be more than just wine and roses.
OUTDOOR ADVENTURE SEEKERS
Image Source: Silverado Resort
If the idea of holing up in a hotel room for a week gives you a serious case of FOMO, the valley is a perfect place to let your spirit of adventure take the wheel. Check out this itinerary to get outside, get tasting and have some new experiences along the way.
1600 Atlas Peak Road
Napa Valley, CA 94558
4 Stars, 2,650 Reviews
Silverado Resort might be relaxing but it’s far from slow and sleepy. Aside from the usual golf and tennis activities, they encourage guests to get out and have an adventure. With miles of hiking and jogging trails on property, as well as a spa, bocce ball court and lush vineyards, Silverado has something for everyone.
Insider Tip: Enlist one of Silverado’s Destination Coordinators to set up a personalized experience for you and your sweetie. From wine tasting to cheese making, canvas painting and horseback riding, get creative, they can make it happen.
Castello di Amorosa
4045 Saint Helena Hwy
4.5 Stars, 3,646 Reviews
Decompress as you head south to Calistoga and over the Castello di Amorosa Winery. Eye catching and unique, it’s the only winery in the valley modeled after a 13th century Tuscan castle. Their internationally acclaimed wines are primarily Italian varieties that pair well with foods from around the world. Since the Castello’s wines are sold only at the winery, pick up a bottle of the 2012 Barone Reserve; a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon with earthy, vibrant notes of blackberry, cinnamon cloves.
Insider Tip: If tasting in a castle isn’t exciting enough, book a spot on one of the tours to explore the venues secret passages, dungeon and gulp – torture chamber. Luckily for us, the only thing going into a press at this winery are the grapes.
– Napa Historic Vineyard and Caves
1445 Saint Helena Hwy
St Helena, CA
4.5 Stars, 234 Reviews
If bold, vibrant reds get you going, Del Dotto is the perfect place to conclude. One of the most opulent stops in the Valley, Del Dotto is known for their small production, premium wines and reservation only tasting room. More than 350 feet long, Del Dotto’s impressive wine cave was hand dug in 1885 using only picks and shovels. In 1997 when renovation of the winery began, the cave was restored back to its original glory and is currently used to age wine today. CellarPass also voted it one of the valley’s most romantic destinations. Book a tasting or a food pairing and prepare to unwind in style.
If this is your last stop of the day, it’s also a perfect place to grab dinner. With Delicacies by Dotto, guests are treated to a five course dinner in the caves prepared by Executive Chef, Joshua Schwartz, along with a barrel tasting of four exclusive wines.
FOOD AND DRINK AFICIONADOS
Image Source: TripAdvisor
If you knew about Cronuts before they were cool, consider brussels sprouts the vegetable of 2016 or feel like Rosé was so last year – this is the list for you. Food aficionados rejoice because Napa Valley has some of the best farm to table, organic, local, sustainable, you-name-it, food and drink options around.
The Carneros Resort and Spa
4048 Sonoma Hwy
4.5 Stars, 1,276 Reviews
For the guest who has everything else, book a room at the Carneros resort and spa. Oh, did we say room – we meant cottage! All the cottages have private gardens, patios and decks with gas heaters and romantic outdoor showers. And for a taste of farm to table, dine at their onsite restaurant FARM
. The menu changes weekly, depending on the best local seasonal produce, as well as what is harvested from their culinary garden.
Insider Tip: Feel like taking some food to go? Let the Carneros concierge know and the hotel chef will prepare a picnic basket for you to take wherever you like.
Oxbow Public Market
610 1st Street
4.5 Stars, 761 Reviews
Start the day off right with a trip to the Oxbow Public Market. With a diverse mix of local food vendors, artisan cafes and an organic produce outlet for local farms, Oxbow Public Market and its artisans and purveyors passionately support the concept of sustainable agriculture and local harvest. The 40,000 square foot marketplace has become the local gathering place for great food and wine in downtown Napa. So whether you’re looking for the perfect cup of coffee, bottle of wine, or that local olive oil you just can’t find anywhere else, this is the place.
Aphrodisiacs anyone? For the ultimate meal, check out the Hogs Island Oyster Bar for the fresh shellfish direct from their farm on Tomales Bay. Order a platter, grab a seat and slurp down these little gems all while taking in the view of the Napa River.
2800 Main St
St. Helena, CA
4.5 Stars, 95 Reviews
With breakfast firmly out of the way, take the scenic route north and stop at Charles Krug. As one of the oldest wineries in the Valley – founded in 1861 – it has come a long way since its humble beginnings more than a century ago. Krug is one of the few wineries the valley that runs on solar (more than 4,000 panels!) and looking at their past innovations, it’s no surprise they’re leading in the technology game. But what good is all this technology when it comes to wine? Taste their award winning Generations Bordeaux-style blend and Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and see for yourself.
For an intimate experience, book a Family Reserve and Limited Release Tasting. Here you can sample their most-limited wines, including their prized Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc, and experience the taste of years of innovative wine-making first hand.
The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone – Wine Studies
2555 Main Street
St. Helena, CA
4 Stars, 281 Reviews
A quick trip across the main road will land you directly at the CIA. Not that C.I.A., but rather the Culinary Institute of America. Here instead of government secrets they’ll let you on the magic of what happens behind closed doors in the kitchen. In addition to their culinary creations, the CIA also has an award winning wine studies program
, where they host certifications, weekend classes and tasting events like Wine 101
, a program that will teach you how to taste and pair wines like a pro. Everyone knows that smart is sexy, so take that romance up a notch with some new knowledge.
Insider Tip: If you’re lucky enough to be there on a weekend, join the CIA on Saturdays and Sundays for an hour-long cooking demo paired with a tasting of Greystone Cellar’s own wine.
Image Source: TripAdvisor
If your idea of a romantic getaway isn’t complete without a trip to the spa, this is the itinerary for you. Go ahead and book a massage, unplug and let the expansive views of miles of open vineyard take away your troubles.
Calistoga Spa Hot Springs
1006 Washington St.
4 Stars, 494 Reviews
Why stay at a regular hotel, when staying at a spa hotel is an option? At Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, visitors can choose to stay in one of their 56 renovated guest rooms that offer access to on site mud baths and minerals pools. So whether you’re looking to explore the best in mud bathing tradition, or enjoy the amenities of a full service spa, this is the place for you.
For a real treat, experience a combination massage and bath treatment they call “The Works,” a true indulgence lasting over two hours.
Napa Valley Aloft Balloons
V Marketplace, 6525 Washington St,
Yountville, CA 94599
5 Stars, 233 Reviews
There are few things more soothing than floating hundreds of meters in the air with not a sound to be heard. Motors? They don’t need them. With Napa Valley Aloft guests can explore Napa’s picturesque mountains and wineries, from a gondola high in the air! They offer flights seven days a week, weather permitting and are always flown by FAA certified pilots.
Insider Tip: Book early because they will up fast! As one of the few companies in the valley that fly small gondolas, with an either person max rather than 20, this is the place to get your romance on. Bonus – they end each trip with a complimentary bottle of champagne.
1240 Duhig Rd
4.5 Stars, 1,023 Reviews
Ever wanted to visit France without the stress of travel? Then Domaine Carneros is the perfect escape. Inspired by the classic 18th century Château de la Marquetterie in Champagne, France – home of Champagne Taittinger – the Domaine Carneros château is a taste of Europe in the heart of the valley. They specialize in methóde traditionnelle sparkling wine along with award winning Pinot Noir.
You’ll need to make a reservation for the visit, but when you do check out The Sparkling Suite. It includes a private tasting for two of Domaine Carneros sparkling wines and Pinot Noirs, paired perfectly with caviar, charcuterie and all the necessary accoutrements. As a keepsake, you’ll be gifted with your most memorable wine of the day
Long Meadow Ranch
1796 St. Helena Hwy S
St. Helena, CA
84 Reviews, 4.5 Stars
Long Meadow Ranch is a one of a kind estate run by proprietors Ted, Laddie and Chris Hall, who set out to produce world-class wine using sustainable, organic farming practices. While their original Mayacamas Vineyard is located high up in the Napa Hills – open to visitors by appointment
only – the Long Meadow Ranch General store in St. Helena proper is just an impressive. Housed in a fully restored 1874 farmhouse, LMR doles out generous flights of estate-grown wines, food-centric varietals, and cellared specialties.
Book a table at Long Meadow’s own restaurant, Farmstead, and check out the work of Executive Chef Stephen Barber. A Kentucky-native, Stephen brings an influence of Southern cooking styles employing our wood-burning oven, plancha, a cast-iron grill, and the biggest smoker in St. Helena.
SIMPLE LIFE FOR CITY SLICKERS
Image Source: SENZA Hotel
Sometimes you just need to turn the phone off and unplug. With this itinerary, get away from the tourist hype, enjoy some local tunes and sample some of the finest pours just outside of the big city.
4066 Howard Ln,
Napa, CA 94558
5 Stars, 616 Reviews
Their elegant and modern hotel caters to the sophisticated traveler, offering luxury in a relaxed atmosphere enabling a one of a kind wine country experience, with 41 guest rooms and suites, an outdoor pool with cabanas and spectacular vineyard views. Guests at SENZA start the day off with an impeccably catered breakfast featuring items from the famous Bouchon Bakery. They also feature their very own blend of premium coffee, freshly baked pastries and much more to get their guests day started the right way.
Guests who stay at the Napa River Inn receive complimentary nightly show tickets.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
5766 Silverado Trail
4.5 Stars, 221 Reviews
Anyone who has a soft spot for modern architecture will love Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Nestled in the heart of the silverado trail and notably known for being the winery that won the Cabernet Sauvignon competition in the 1976 Judgment of Paris
, the estate is breathtaking. From the visitor center to the caves, vineyards to the cellar, it is a literal feast for the eyes and palate. Beautiful design combined with award winning wine make this a must see stop.
Insider Tip: While you’re there, don’t miss out on the cave tour! At the center of the cave network is the Round Room, where a Foucault pendulum, one of only about fifty in the world, is suspended from the ceiling and marks the passing of time, and the aging of wine.
Napa Valley Bike Tours
6500 Washington St.
4.5 Stars, 253 Reviews
For a slow taste of the outdoors, Napa Valley Bike Tours offers private and group cycling excursions around the valley. With two awesome Napa Valley locations
(Napa and Yountville) and three levels of intensity to choose from, Napa Valley Bike Tours offers an array of experiences to suit every visitor and every budget. Join a Guided Bike Tour
hosted by a knowledgeable Tour Guides, or go Self-Guided
or Rent Bikes
with the aid of our custom route maps and expert local advice.
Insider Tip: Take things up a notch and leave the pavement behind with one of their specialized vineyard tours. Get some dirt in the tires as you bike through the fields before grabbing some refreshment at three tasting room stops along the way.
Nicole McLaughlin is a food and lifestyle writer from California. When she’s not in the kitchen testing her latest recipes, you can find her out exploring the wonders of fermentation happening in San Diego’s vibrant craft beer scene.