Bachelorette Wine Tasting in Napa

Feb 1st, 2007, 10:07 PM
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Bachelorette Wine Tasting in Napa

I am trying to plan a wine tasting excursion for a bride-to-be in Napa. There will be six of us and we have booked a limo. I am not very familiar with the area and was trying to map out a good route. Some of the ones I thought we might try to hit are V Sattui, Beringer, Sterling, Mumm, and any others you can suggest. I was told about one where you take a gondola type cable car up to the top and do your tastings up there--anyone know the name of that one or suggest any others? Thank you for any help you can provide.
cndybwrs is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 05:37 AM
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oh boy you'll fit right in.All the big commercial places stuffed to the gills with tourists. You may not be able to fit that many in cause you'll be driving in traffic and standing in crowds the whole time. Sterling is the one with the tram.
LLindaC is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 07:35 AM
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It sounds like we would be better off going to some of the less commercial ones. Does anyone have suggestions? Thanks!!
cndybwrs is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Do a search here- we've spent lots of time naming great places. You might want to focus in an area like Calistoga or off the Silverado trail. However, you need to research a bit in advance to find out if they'll accomodate you or if you need an appt. You can also find a lot of good trip reports on Go to the area marked "forums" then go to the California boards and then to Napa. Lots of info there. Of course, lots of us here prefer Sonoma to Napa because of the crowds, traffic and general markup for tasting fees and wines. Sorry I was sarcastic in my first post, I just hate that people go to only the huge places they've heard of and completely miss out on the beauty of parts of the place, the ambiance of the family wineries and the enjoyment of learning more about the wines and region that you experience when you can talk to people in a quiet winery. Have a great time! ps...there are usually lots of websites and books called "off the beaten path" or "backroad wineries" or "family wineries" etc . I have several. Start cracking!
LLindaC is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 02:09 PM
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Freemark Abbey in St. Helena is nice. It is a smaller boutique type winery with some really good Viognier. The tram ride is fun at Sterling, try to taste their Reservie wines. We will be touring the Napa Valley this Spring. Ad Hoc, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, Redd and Cyrus are on our list for meals. Have fun! ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 03:18 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll keep researching.
cndybwrs is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 03:34 PM
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Hi -
Just to throw in a perspective here, I think the choice of wineries and area to visit should really be based on the mood of your group and your expectations about the day. As a local, I've observed vastly different styles of bachelorette wine outings ranging from the "crazy fit in as many wineries (and alcohol) as possible" party style to the carefully planned out "wine appreciation day" style

What kind of day do you envision for your group and are they really into wine? I completely agree with LLindaC in that people can miss some of the beauty of wine country if they only go to the large commercial sites. On the other hand, 10 years ago when I first moved here I started at the more well known sites and had a great time!

Let us know what your goals are and posters can probably help you consider suitable areas/wineries. For example, if you are planning a potentially rowdy bachelorette day (i.e., is there potential for someone to hang out the top of the limo during the course of the day???!), then I might suggest you actually try to stay in the more mainstream wineries who are used to bachelorette groups.

As LLindaC indicated, there are many different wine-tasting experiences to be had at the scores of wineries within the Napa and Sonoma etc regions. When I visit wine country either with my husband (we are now mid-30s)or with out-of-town visitors, I plan according to my mood and/or what experience I want my visitors to enjoy. Are we on a mission to buy wine, just enjoy the beautiful grounds of wineries, have a picnic, mingle with other people, talk "shop" with winemakers, etc. etc.?

For example, I had for years avoided Sterling because it was too "commerical" and on the far end for our usual day trips from SF. However, one day, we were staying in Calistoga on a weekend trip and figured we would give Sterling a shot since we were close by. Well we ended up having a great time at Sterling with the tram, views and wine walk! We met a honeymoon couple from Colorado and enjoyed hanging out on the terrace tasting wine with them. Commerical? Yes! Fun - absolutely!

The wineries you mention are rather spread all over the place so I would recommend that you map out places closer together or that can be driven in a loop - this is especially true if you have a time limit on your limo.

You are a nice friend to do this planning!
NorCal_Jo is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 04:51 PM
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I think NorCal Jo has some VG thoughts on what you want out of your bachelorette party up here. I'd like to add that you may want to contact the limo service you have booked and share your list of wineries you'd like to visit. There are a few wineries that do not allow limo's and they can help you plan around that.

Also, what time of year will you all be up here ? Is it on a weekend ? That can make a difference.

razzledazzle is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 07:57 AM
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Wow! Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my post! We are actually going up to SF this coming weekend and will be in Napa on Saturday, the 10th. I think we are looking for some decent wine in some amazing places. We're all in our late 20's, early 30's so I don't imagine any of us would be hanging out of the limo (at least I hope not!). We're pretty mellow and are just looking for some places that are a little different than the average winery. I've only been to Napa a few times and have to say I loved going on a random Wednesday when I was able to chat with the owners and really enjoy my time there. I would imagine that will not be the case on a Saturday....but if you know of a little place like that, let me know. Hope that helps tell you more of what I am looking for. If anyone could suggest a specific route of wineries (ie Sterling, V. Sattui, etc--I only say those 'cause I know their names--I know they're commercial! ) in an order that would make sense geographically, I'd be truly grateful! Thanks again to everyone for their help!
cndybwrs is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 01:55 PM
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I have a spreadsheet that I made for a friend of all the wineries that we visited in Napa/Sonoma and their locations, to make it easier to plan the order. I'd be happy to send it if you want to post your email address. I would HIGHLY suggest Silver Oak and Tumi (its merlot affiliate). They are both higher end and more expensive, but you get more personal attention. We also loved Frank Family Wineries. It is a very small vineyard and a free tasting of 6-8 wines/spakling wines, which is rare to have a free tasting anymore. Then my personal favorite (because we got engaged there) to end your day would be Domaine Carneros, in between Napa and Somonma. They stay open about an hour later than other wineries AND they serve you while you sit on their veranda, rather than you all trying to crowd around a bar. Also- I would NOT recommend V. Sattui, its very crowded an unorganized. However, although Sterling is larger, I still think its worth it for the gondola ride and the view! Just my two cents! Have a great trip, I'm considering having my bachelorette party out there as well, but I'm going again in March regardless!
desireepratt is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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Well-said, NorCal Jo.
elnap29 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 04:43 PM
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....or you can call the wack jobs, Rick and Justin, at Groezinger's in Yountville and see if you can stop by there and try all sorts of their wines.

They may even pull out their guitars and seranade you?

And if their web cam is up and running you can wave to your friends all over the world.

Just a short stumble to Redd, Bouchon's, Bistro Jeanty, PJ's Steakhouse, Gordon's, Fr Laundry, Pacific Blues Cafe, Compadres, Napa Valley Grille....
Kal is offline  
Feb 7th, 2007, 08:09 AM
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I would LOVE the spreadsheet. THANK YOU! My email is [email protected].
cndybwrs is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 10:14 PM
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Hi cndybwrs

Based on your last post, it sounds like you are doing a day trip to Napa? If so, here are a few possible routes/options (other poster suggestions are also good. There are just too many great wineries to list all so here's a few (my personal opinion only of course!)based on wine, atmosphere/scenery, or uniqueness.

Also I'm keeping these lists in the mid-to lower Napa area only because you may have time limits depending on how early you start your day etc. Of course Sterling is fun (and Domaine Carneros mentioned by desireepratt is awesome - the "Famous Gate" Pinot Noir is one of my favorites plus their "Le Reve" sparkling wine - yummy!) so it might be worth working one of them in somehow. Anyway, I digress....

Option 1 - Stay mostly on Silverado trail. Since it is a Saturday, this would have less traffic/crowds.
Starting from North driving South:

Joseph Phelps - Best to call ahead for appt. Expensive tasting ($20) BUT the winery is sitting on a hill, is rarely crowded and you sit out on a patio overlooking a gorgeous view while you sip on excellent wine including their top end "Insignia".
Rutherford Hill - great wine - nice picnic area
Mumm - only if you don't go to Domaine Carneros or Domaine Chandon (on H29) and if you want a sparkling wine stop.
Miner Family - very nice friendly winery
Silver Oak - slight detour onto Oakville crossroad. Appt needed and fills up fast
Robert Sinskey - nice atmosphere good wines
Stags Leap and/or Silverado - both up a hill and nice scenary.
The above are a good blend of large/small/scenic and more than you could probably get to in a day.

Option 2 - Silverado/Napa H29 Loop
Start at Joseph Phelps
Rutherford Hill (maybe)
Cutover on Rutherford crossroad and hit Rubicon Estate (formerly Neibaum Coppola). It is large and will be crowded but the chateau and grounds are lovely for pictures!
Go north just a bit for Peju - nice wines, smaller (buy at the winery only) and again, beautiful grounds for photo ops!
Cut back over to Silver Oak. Then, either head back to Silverado trail and continue south or come back to H29 and head south - perhaps hitting Domaine Chandon (great sparkling wine) and nice place or better yet head over to Domaine Carneros for a beautiful winery and great sparkling wine to cap off the day! I think they are open until 6pm so you could go that way back to SF. Of course, there are endless wineries on the H29 route to customize your route....

Somewhere in either opton above you can have a picnic and/or find a place for lunch.

Have a great time!
NorCal_Jo is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Hi desireepratt,
I'm also planning a bachelorette party and would love to get a copy of your spreadsheet. Would you mind?

Any fun restaurant recommendations in that area? Though I'm from the Bay Area, I hardly have time to make it out that way anymore. The only appropriate restaurant I can recall would be the Culinary Institute.

stacieoh is offline  

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