One day in Napa Valley isn't enough time to enjoy everything this slice of heaven has to offer. From fairy tale estates to infinite rows of vines and a bright, warm sun, it's hard to believe Napa is real. It took less than an hour for me to fall in love. One day, one tour, four tastings and one meal. Three vineyards, four wineries, one old friend and many new friends. Maybe it was the people I shared this experience with or maybe Napa has a magical quality that draws you in making you want more. I can't say for certain but what I can definitely guarantee is that I will be returning and for much longer than a day. When I make it back, these are on the top of my list of things to do.
Visit St. Helena
Driving through the valley, we passed this romantic, quaint town that I instantly fell in love with. After doing a little research, I discovered that St. Helena is one of the more popular towns within the valley. Locally owned shops and restaurants dominate main street. Local wineries and vineyards provide the best of the best wine for tastings, pairings and simply just sipping. What's most intriguing are the gorgeous bed and breakfasts and boutique inns. Why stay in a hotel when you can stay in a mansion that feels like home but even better?
Attend A Wine Pairing Dinner
Tasting wine is fun on its own but dinners with specifically designed tastings are even better. The people who put these events together know what they are doing which makes the end result nothing short of spectacular. There are seasonal pairings, themed pairings, specialty pairings. It's the ultimate foodie and vino experience.
Visit Historical Wineries/Take A Historical Wine Tour
There are several wineries in Napa Valley that have a strong history. V. Sattui is one with a long, rich family history. One on my list is Chateau Montelena at a whopping 132 years old and known for winning the Judgement in Paris for its Chardonnay in 1976. Among many others, I'd also like to experience Schramsberg Vineyards. Over 150 years old, this winery is known for its sparkling wines and features a cave tour.
Take a Spa Day
Of all the things to do in Wine Country, USA, you wouldn't think a spa day would be one of them. I think this is an ideal place to relax and treat yourself to a little TLC, especially on your last day. Detox from all the wine and food tasting, relax those muscles from days of walking around and treat your body so that when you return home, you're feeling ten times better than when you left. Napa Valley's travel website has a guide to the best spas with local insider tips.
Take Part In Harvest Season
Harvest season is a special time of year anywhere that has vineyards. It's a time of prosperity and celebration. There are plenty of opportunities all over the world to experience the wonderful world of harvest season and Napa Valley is one. Some places allow you to volunteer your time, others will pay you and most offer celebrations for the locals and tourists to enjoy together. That's where you'll normally find grape-stomping activities.
Experience The Judgement Of Paris
The Judgement of Paris was a wine competition in Paris in 1976. French judges blind tasted wines from France and California and chose the best of Chardonnays and red wines. It was a big deal because France was believed to have the best of all the wines and California won many of the awards. Many of the wineries and vineyards that participated in this competition are still in business. I'd love to go on a tour of them and see what had the French all flustered.