Early last month, we had the honor of attending the wine country wedding of our NYC friends, Tricia & Steven. Their Napa nuptials were very much looked forward to by yours truly…I mean, if your guests are going to be getting on a plane to fly to your big event, why not have them jet-set to Napa Valley during harvest season?!? –Perfection!
As I recently shared, we were in San Fran for a few days before our weekend in the wine country. I had done it before, but the drive from the city into the wine region was just as beautiful as the first time: you get to see the landscape change, the ocean mist settle way into the valley, and begin to notice row after row of vineyards.
Our first stop was the home of my favorite cabernet: Trefethen Family Vineyards.
We were so happy to arrive that we immediately signed up for their wine club as soon as we walked through the door. If you are planning a trip to Napa and want to hit up a lot of vineyards like you’re bar-hopping, I would not advise doing the same. It is, relatively, a big financial commitment and you usually want to at least TRY THEIR WINES before signing-up for home delivery service. –We were sooooo eager! 🙂 But, as I said, I haven’t ever had a cab I’ve liked better in my life, so we just dove right in. They totally took care of us while we were there, though: giving us a taste of everything on the menu, great service, and tons of advice/info on things from wine tasting in general to a history of the vineyard itself. And, of course the wine was exceptional, like really REALLY good. Actually, it was one of the best afternoons I’ve ever shared with my husband.
We spent waaaaay more time at Trefethen than we thought we would –a testament to how well they’ll take care of wine club members– so we decided to just head downtown to check in our hotel. Just a note on hotels in Napa: they are crazy expensive and not very nice (like, you’re not going to get even 3-star accommodations at ~$200/night). Me personally, I felt like we were in a Motel 6 or Best Western that was charging us $225 a night. But, no worries, you’re not really spending much time luxuriating in your lodging during a visit to the wine country, now are ya? That, or you’ll be too wine-drunk to notice the crusty cheap duvet or the old school wall-mounted blowdryer. Rather, I hear booking accommodations at a bed & breakfast is the way to go.
Our first night ended after a unique, refreshingly different “rehearsal dinner” held in the backyard of a local bed & breakfast. It was a relaxed yet upscale event and all guests mixed & mingled in the garden at their leisure over wine & passed hors d’oeuvres.
Our agenda for the next morning was all about visiting as many vineyards as we could fit in before the wedding. We were joined by my husband’s great friend/fraternity brother and he was an excellent addition to the party. At the recommendation of a family friend, we went straight to Provenance Vineyards. OMG — what a great start to the day! The tasting room manager graciously allowed us to sample EVERY varietal they produce (even the crazy expensive ones!) and then we got our very own background tour. On your next trip to Napa/Sonoma, if you can arrange a private tour for your group at a vineyard, lemme tell ya: it’ll be the best part of your trip!
During our private tour, we were treated to a behind-the-scenes insight into wine harvesting & storage. For example, we got to taste their Merlot grapes harvested that very morning, as well as sample young wine straight from the barrel.
After a stop at Plumpjack, we ended our wine tasting tour at Redd for lunch. –What amazing food! I’m still daydreaming about it. We sat at the bar and the bartenders hooked us up with a generous taste of a local white to “wet our whistle” followed by chef’s tasting appetizers. Such a wonderful lunch stop — I’m still daydreaming about it. Next time I’m in Napa, I’m going to put just as much effort into securing reservations at restaurants as I would put into planning our winery visits. I guess all the highly ranked wine being produced in the region has subsequently drawn world-class chefs? Gotta have food worthy of pairing with all that fine wine, I suppose. Seriously, wine takes center stage in Napa, but it is definitely a top-notch foodie destination as well. Standout entrees from our lunch order were the steamed pork buns and caramelized diver scallops.
Next up, our main event: the wedding! Our friends held their outdoor ceremony and reception under the stars on the grounds of Landmark Vineyards in Sonoma. What a beautiful venue for a wedding! So very picturesque…