Paper, Planes & Pinot

In Other Words… Stationery, Travel, and All Else that Matters

Travel Thursday – Napa

During our 2013 escapade up the West Coast the beau and I were able to spend 2 full days in Napa.  During those 2 days, I concluded that Napa is my ‘happy place.’  Napa has great food, beautiful weather (we were there late September), and tons of wine… DUH.

Because of my love for Napa it has been tough for me to decide how to write about this AMAZING place in my blog.  I really do not think that I could give the Napa’s stunning-ness justice with my gibberish.  I mean, let’s be honest, after my first couple wineries of each day the rest were always a blur.  A blur of ridiculously fun times, but a blur nonetheless.

So I decided that for this Travel Thursday post, I want to explain 2 GREAT ways to see Napa.

DISCLAIMER:  You will not be getting information about specific wineries in this blog.  The reasons why are listed below:

  • As stated in previous posts, you and I may like different wines, therefore I may have not gone to wineries of interest to you
  • Unfortunately, I did not spend enough time in Napa to explore more, so I do not want to discard any of the great wineries that I did not get to experience in the valley

On DAY 1 of our Napa stay we rented bikes from Napa Valley Bike Tours to get us from one winery to another.

Our experience with Napa Valley Bike Tours was great!  We opted to do a self-guided tour but Napa Valley Bike Tours does offer group tours.

For our self-guided tour we reserved our bike ahead of time.  Now I had not biked in YEARS so I was a bit nervous.  There was an area for me to ‘test drive’ the bike right outside the shop prior to taking off.  Although we had a list of wineries and route in mind, we still asked the employees working at Napa Valley Bike Tours for suggestions.  They helped us finalize our route and gave us a great tip on where to pick up a picnic lunch.

The place the suggested for lunch was Yountville Deli, conveniently located down the street from Napa Valley Bike Tours.  The deli itself is connected to a convenience store so you are able to pick up water and whatever else you may need for the ride.  The sandwiches from Yountville Deli were amazing and perfect for our picnic stop at winery #3.  Our bikes had a little pouch up front so all of our food was safe in there during the day.

We went to 4 wineries that day.  All were great.  We could have probably squeezed in one more winery, but the fact that I was so inebriated during stop #4 that I skipped the wine tasting and let myself through the winery was a good sign that it was time to call it quits.  Here is me at stop #4 posing with all the friends I met that day (zero human friends – tons of wine).

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If you do want to bike ride through Napa, you could ask your hotel if they have bikes to borrow.  You may be able to save some money.  Also, you probably want to do a little research on your route prior.  Wineries close at different times and some of the larger ones will require a reservation for their winery tour (if you want to do something other than guzzle taste wine all day).

Although it seems like a peaceful ride, I am not ashamed that I did have a bit of a catastrophe running over some rocks and shattering a champagne glass.  No worries though, we still had 1 glass that was safe!

Riding bikes around Napa was great – we did a 10 mile route.  Napa Valley Bike Tours will pick you up for a fee should you be too weak to make it back (I contemplated doing this, no shame).  Now for all of the great bike photo ops:

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On DAY 2 in Napa we took a winery tour with Platypus Wine Tours.  When booking, I was a little apprehensive about spending $99 per person.  The Platypus tour was WELL WORTH the money.

Before the wine tour even started, we were able contact Platypus and let them know what wines we preferred.  Although you do not know what wineries your tour is going to when you sign up (I believe that you can call a couple days before to check, but the list is not sent to you), I was happy to see that my pinot noir cravings would be satisfied that day.

First off, our driver was great.  He was very entertaining the whole time.  Water and cheese were provided on the bus and so was lunch.  Our driver made our lunch and it consisted of croissant sandwiches, quinoa salad, chips and homemade brownies.  It was very filling and very delicious.

Platypus seemed to have a great relationship with each of the wineries.  Once we arrived, the wineries were always ready for us with glasses set up and wine ready to be poured.  I felt like we got the star treatment as we were always given a proper tour of each stop.

We got to try wine straight from the barrel:

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See a winery owner in action (he is the one wearing the cowboy hat):

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And of course, see the inner workings of each winery:

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We did visit 3 wineries this day with our group.  The last stop had corn hole and plenty of areas for us to relax in.  The great thing about traveling with a group was that there were always people to take pictures of the beau and me.

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All in all we had a great stop in Napa.  I do wish that we could have spent more time there and go to specific wineries that we wanted to try out.  I also would have loved to spend some time in different tasting rooms.

The Napa area will not disappoint.  It is beautiful and there are tons of restaurants for you to fill up on after your day of wine-ing.  I hope that this post inspires you to book a trip and make Napa YOUR HAPPY PLACE!

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This entry was posted on August 14, 2014 by in Pinot, Planes and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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