I just had the most amazing trip to Napa. And now I’m going to brag about it! Below are a few of the places we enjoyed visiting on our 15th wedding anniversary trip. Some aren’t as well-known, and some are hugely popular. We decided to take our time on this trip instead of racing from winery to winery like someone yelled “Closing time!” Here were our faves.
We loved walking around downtown Napa in the morning. There’s a great local coffee shop there called Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company which I highly recommend. Sure you can go to the Starbucks across the street but why would you when you can support a locally owned business? Plus their coffee was bomb.
2. Patz & Hall
Go to Patz & Hall. It’s a beautiful, out-of-the-way winery with delicious wines. The tasting space used to be the owners’ home and it definitely still has a homey feel. Plus the wines are delicious and you can’t really buy them in the stores. They are on some wine lists at fancy restaurants menus but otherwise you have to join the mailing club or buy at the estate. Word of advice, make reservations before you go. Otherwise they won’t let you in and you will look awkward standing there as other people drink fabulous wine and you don’t. Say hi to Courtney the Hospitality Manager and tell her Motherhood in Hollywood sent you. It won’t get you anything free, but she might give you a high-five!
From Patz & Hall head straight to Pangloss in Sonoma. It’s the most magical tasting room I’ve ever been in. It felt like we had stepped out of wine country and into a cool NY bar, or Colorado Ski lodge, or Renaissance castle. Yes it’s an unusual combo but trust me you will love it. If you’re celebrating anything special make sure you call ahead and let them know. They made a beautiful welcome sign for us thanks to a kind call from the Patz & Hall manager and we had our own special spot ready to go when we arrived. Get the white wine and caviar pairing and you will never want to leave. Susie the manager here was so lovely and took the time to sit down and get to know us. She didn’t have to do that and it made our visit even more special.
4. Swiss Hotel
This hotel in the Sonoma square is also an Italian restaurant. It’s a favorite with the locals and welcoming to tourist. Most of the pastas are big enough for sharing. Susie from Pangloss suggested we try their signature drink, The Glariffee, and she did not steer us wrong. It was sweet, and powerful. And the mysterious ingredients make it even more special. Only one person in the whole place knows how to make it!
This is without a doubt the Disneyland of wineries in Napa Valley. That being said, who doesn’t love to go to Disneyland? The place was packed with tourist when we were there. But we didn’t care because the castle was beautiful and the wine was delicious. It’s expensive at $25/pp for a tasting and $50/pp for a tour of the castle. We didn’t take the tour but we did take our time walking through all the nooks and crannies inside the castle. Beautiful spot and worth the drive.
We couldn’t wait to go back to Auberge Du Soleil. It was a special place we stumbled up on our last trip to Napa 11 years ago. It was seared in our memories for its breathtaking views of the Silverado Trail and Napa Valley. If you can’t afford to stay at the hotel, make this a stop for a late afternoon lunch and watch the sunset. Or breakfast with some mimosas. Either way it’s definitely a memorable place.
On the actual night of our anniversary we treated ourselves (read: saved up) for a dining experience. Not just a meal, but an actual experience. And that’s exactly what we got at Solbar in Calistoga. From the minute we pulled into the parking lot we knew this was a special place. We tried the Solage house wine because we thought, hey we’re in their restaurant so I bet their wine is great. And it was! This is also a Michelin-rated restaurant that features food from Executive Chef Brandon Sharp. Everything is farm-fresh with seasonal ingredients. The food was wonderful and ambiance were wonderful. Don’t go here in you’re in a rush. It took almost 3 hours to have dinner. Go if you want to indulge yourself in an actual fine dining experience and feel super fancy for a minute like we did.
8. Mumm Napa
Mumm may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of wine tasting. But this charming champagne winery should be on your list. We decided to end our day here with a champagne toast and it was a glorious decision. We were a little burned out on wine, after all they can start to taste the same after a dozen or so. That’s why the Mumm champagne was a perfect way to end our anniversary trip. We chased our champ with chocolate and looked out over the vineyard feeling very grateful to celebrate our time in Napa, and our lives together. Cheers to another 15 years!