Dreaming California

Last summer my mother came to visit from New York, and we had a girls’ weekend in Napa Valley. There are so many different wineries to see: small estates with private tours beside world-famous vineyard with daily on-going tours and samplings. We did absolutely no planning aside from booking our bed and breakfast, so we had a great adventure driving up and down St. Helena Highway and Silverado Trail, a smaller road that runs parallel to the highway, just to see what we would stumble upon.

One of my favorites was the V. Sattui Winery, which has an enormous tasting room and a deli with a selection of cheese and hors d’oeuvres to pair with wine. We bought olives, goat cheese and bread and then found a picnic table on the lawn.

We also stopped at Stag’s Leap, Beringer, and Sterling Vineyard (which has an aerial tram that takes you from the parking lot up to the winery - oo, la-la!), and a few other large estates. Since we were flying by the seat of our pants (with no reservations) it was more difficult to visit the smaller wineries.

On a separate trip to Napa Valley, I also visited Castello di Amorosa, which is worth the trip from Berkeley on its own (at least once). If you're planning a trip to Napa, I recommend booking some tours ahead of time. It takes only about 45 minutes to drive from one end of the valley to the other, and there is so much to see in such a small stretch of farmland.