Travel Thursday: Wineries in Napa, California

I shared a recap of my trip to Napa but by far my favorite part of the trip was visiting different wineries. I mentioned in the recap that the husband and I decided that Napa would be a regular trip for us. We absolutely loved the beautiful wine country. Plus, with the large amount of wineries, we could visit new ones each time and make it a unique trip each visit. Today I am sharing my rating and review of the wineries we went to in Napa. I understand that someone may read my review and not agree but this is a blog which means it is simply my opinion and experience of the wineries we visited. There are some people who love the wineries I didn’t and others who might not agree with my favorites. Almost every wine tasting I made sure to have a mix of red and white to have a fair comparison across the board.

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Robert Mondavi Winery

Ambiance/ Estate: B
Wine: B

We did the wine tasting at Mondavi which was great but nothing spectacular. The grounds were simple and well kept. While it was a nice stop to enjoy on their open patio,  I wouldn’t need to visit again.



Grgich Hills Estate

Ambiance/ Estate: C
Wine: C-

Surprisingly when I got back to work, 2 of my co-workers talked about how this was one of their favorite wines! All four of us were very unimpressed with the wines and estate in general. We split a tasting and moved on fairly quickly from the estate.

Consentino Winery

Ambiance/ Estate: B
Wine: A

This winery was a stop we pulled into as we were planning to make our way back. The wine tasting room was small but the wine was spectacular. This was the first place we bought a bottle of wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)  and spent a decent amount of time talking to the sommelier about restaurants to try in the area.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Ambiance/ Estate: A+
Wine: A

Stag’s Leap was easily one of mine and the husband’s favorite spots of the weekend. While we were treated to an amazing fire and water tour on behalf of our friends, the estate was beautiful and the wine delicious. While we got an extra tour of the cellars and grounds, the grounds would still get an A in my book.

Domain Chandon

Ambiance/ Estate: A
Champagne: C+

Domain Chandon was a great start for the morning with champagne instead of wine. We did the tasting which had a few champagnes I really liked and others not at all. The grounds however were filled with greenery, a pond and beautiful flowers. We enjoyed some walking around to enjoy the well kept landscape.

Castello di Amorosa

Ambiance/ Estate: A-
Wine: A-

We were a little hesitant about the wine from other people’s reviews but we had to visit the castle at least once! Our trip ended up being very enjoyable. While the castle was crowded and a little overpriced just to visit, we loved the wine tasting. We got the wine tasting and even got two free tastings which resulted in us purchasing two bottles of a white and sparkling red.

Hall Winery

Ambiance/ Estate: A+
Wine: A+

The best of the best. My absolute favorite of the trip. There was unique art throughout the grounds and tasting room. The wine was spectacular with every tasting. We enjoyed a fun game of corn hole outside on the beautiful grounds. This is a winery you must visit!

V Sattui Winery

Ambiance/ Estate: B
Wine: B

We stopped at V Sattui for a picnic lunch. Although the grounds were fairly crowded, we made our way to the market to get a spread of bread, dips, cheeses and of course a bottle of wine. It is the more popular picnic spot with tables under shade next to the vineyards. If you are looking for a lunch spot, this is a great stop.

Check out my Napa Valley recap or past Travel Thursday recaps on the Travel page. 

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Weekend Trip to Napa Valley & San Francisco, California

Lesson learned from this trip – don’t forget to check in when flying Southwest. Getting out of San Fran into Oakland this evening was a nightmare which resulted in being one of the last to board and sitting solo. Thank goodness the flight back home is less an hour and they serve alcohol on the plane. This was also the only hiccup of the entire trip so this was one of the best weekend trips we have had. Our trip started on an early (too early for this lover of sleep) flight to Oakland. With no checked bags and the early hours, within an hour we left our place, passed security and were up in the air.

We landed in Oakland before 8am, got our  rental car and were on our way to Napa. The drive was just a bit over an hour and gorgeous when you start getting closer to the vineyards. We met up with our friends who got to Napa the day before for a brunch at Oxbow! The husband and I absolutely loved it because it reminded us of one of our favorites – The Gansevoort Market in New York. After a delicious mix of donuts and breakfast tacos, we made our first to our first winery stop – Stag’s Leap.


I will be doing a review of all the wineries we visited in a seperate post because some of them were worth going on a second trip to (and yes we have already decided Napa might be a regular trip for us). Our day started with a Fire and Water tour at Stag’s Leap (thanks to our friends John and Eryka who were members). We then stopped at the Mondavi, Grgich Estate and Consentino wineries. For dinner we headed back down to Downtown Napa for a highly recommend restaurant – Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & BBQ. The food was to die for and the atmosphere was even better! We checked into our hotel after dinner and were pleasantly surprised at the unique hotel / bed and breakfast. It was a large house with 2 connecting houses that offered common areas, homemade breakfasts, libraries and DVD rentals and bonfires out back. While it was different from the chain hotel, it was a welcome change.


Our second day started with champagne tasting at Domain Chandon then wine tasting at Castello di Amorosa, Hall and V Sattui wineries. For dinner the husband and I enjoyed italian food (and more wine for me) in Downtown Napa. Throughout the entire weekend the weather was perfection and most of the wineries were not crowded. The husband and I both left wanting to stay longer and with the plan to return again.


On Sunday morning, we checked out of Napa and drove down to San Francisco for the day since our flight was out of Oakland. We started by driving across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Golden Gate Park which reminded me of a smaller version of Prospect Park. We enjoyed the Dutch windmills and the beach before driving to the Coit Tower for views of the bridge and bay. There was a heavy fog over the bay but the views of the ocean and port were still spectacular. We could even see Lombard Street in the distance. Our next stop was to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf for seafood. We walked around the pier enjoying the street performers, the ocean views and people watching of course. My food highlight was the Baked Bear custom ice cream sandwich! We made sure to walk off the calories by walking to Lombard Street (hello uphill) before heading back to the airport. Traffic getting to the airport was rough but we eventually made it before walking fairly easily through security and onto the plane.


Happy Travels & Cheers!