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There are many great places across the U.S. to visit wineries or wine countries but none are quite as popular as Napa Valley. The area attracts many visitors each year so be sure to plan your trip ahead of time if you’d like to set up specific tours or activities. Keep in mind that the summer time is the most popular time to visit the area but spring and fall are equally beautiful and often less crowded.
The first activity that comes to mind when thinking of Napa is wine tasting. There are thousands of wineries to choose from so if you have some favorites, be sure to set up tastings at those wineries or if you’d prefer to take a more relaxed approach, you can plan a drive through wine country and stop at wineries as you choose. If you know that you want to stop at a specific winery, it’s best to set up an appointment, especially if you’d like a food and wine pairing. Some of the most popular Napa wineries that you may have heard of are: Domaine Chandon, Robert Mondavi, Beringer Vineyards, Inglenook Winery, Cakebread, and Frog’s Leap.
Another popular activity in the area is eating at one of the great local restaurants. In the area, you’ll find some famous fine dining restaurants in addition to some great foods at local cafes. If you’d like to eat at one of the popular restaurants, be sure to book a reservation in advance. Some of the popular restaurants are The French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, Mustards Grill, Go Fish, Rutherford Grill, Celedon, Bistro Jeanty, or R&D Kitchen. Finally, if you are a foodie, make a stop at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus in St. Helena. Here, you can enjoy tastings, public restaurants, and a retail store.
A popular attraction is the Napa Valley Wine Train, which is a three-hour train ride throughout the valley that offers gourmet lunches or dinners while catching glimpses of Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, and St. Helena. If you’re interested, there’s a tasting car that offers 30-4o wines to sample. For a great view of the valley, enjoy a glass of wine or a bite to eat on the terrace at Auberge du Soleil, which is a resort and restaurant. If you are fan of the outdoors, the area offers thousands of acres of hills and fields to walk, run, hike, or bike on but if you’d prefer a different mode of transportation through the trails, look into a Segway tour.
Another attraction, the Castello di Amorosa, will make you feel as if you are in Europe. The general admission to this castle allows you to tour two levels of the castle in addition to enjoying a tasting of five wines. As mentioned above when talking about the Wine Train, there are many cute towns in the area. One of which is St. Helena, which has boutiques, restaurants, shops, and galleries to peruse. Finally, if you’re bringing the whole family, consider Safari West, which allows you to take jeep tours through a 400-acre wildlife sanctuary.