With more than 500 producers in the Napa Valley, planning a trip to wine country can be overwhelming. Simplify the process by following our itinerary, which loops north of Yountville, ending for dinner in the town of Napa. We’ve listed several of our favorite tasting rooms in driving order, but just pick the ones that sound best. You’ll have time for two or three visits before lunch. After a morning of tastings, plan on refueling at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, then continue on for a little retail therapy in Napa, ending for dinner at the award-winning Ubuntu. —Erica Duecy
Stop 1: Breakfast at Bardessono
Our favorite Napa lodging is Bardessono in Yountville. The eco-luxe hotel is made entirely from re-purposed materials, and boasts a stylish restaurant.
Try: Fuel up for a day of wine tasting with breakfast hits like the pork-cheek confit hash, or brioche French toast.
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Stop 2: Robert Sinskey Vineyards
This winery on the Silverado Trail appears austere from the exterior, but the wines being made inside are lush and velvety. Tastings include delicious food pairings.
Try: blackberry-and cocoa-scented Cabernet Franc.
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Stop 3: Cakebread Cellars
The Cakebreads have been making wine on this property since 1973, and are one of the most well-known (and best-regarded) families in the business. Call ahead to arrange an appointment.
Try: the Dancing Bear Ranch blend, a complex, age-worthy wine featuring Bordeaux varietals.
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Stop 4: Robert Mondavi Winery
Mondavi is a great place to stop with wine newbies. Tours offer a full overview of the winemaking process, along with a seated tasting.
Try: juicy, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignon.
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Stop 5: Far Niente Winery
Come to Far Niente if you’re looking for a more intimate tasting experience. The fee is higher than most tasting rooms (and reservations are required), but the tour is informative and tastings include a cheese pairing.
Try: creamy, tropical fruit-inflected Estate-Bottled Chardonnay.
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Stop 6: Lunch at Bouchon Bistro
Thomas Keller’s casual French bistro is a classy place to refuel after a wine-intensive morning.
Try: raw seafood or charcuterie platters, caramelized butternut squash and celery root salad, and eggy profiteroles with homemade vanilla ice cream.
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Stop 7: Ma(i)sonry Winery
This collective tasting room showcases a rotating selection of wines from smaller vintners like Blackbird Vineyards and Uvaggio. Plan to spend some time relaxing in the lovely sculpture garden, or perusing the eclectic homewares shop.
Try: cherry- and spice-scented Blackbird Vineyards Arise, a red blend.
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Stop 8: Oxbow Market
Hit culinary gold at this market, which features cult artisanal producers like Ritual Coffee Roasters, Kara’s Cupcakes, and Hog Island Oyster Company. Shop for exotic spices or upscale homewares at other vendors, or taste yet more wines at Oxbow Wine Merchants.
Taste: the odd-sounding (but award-winning) Chili Lime Tortilla Tequila Brittle from Anette’s Chocolates.
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Stop 9: Dinner at Ubuntu
It may be a vegetarian restaurant, but we think it’s the most intriguing and delicious one you’ll ever visit. The flavor combinations and preparations will wow even the most dedicated meat-eaters.
Try: warm focaccia with truffled pecorino and apricot-almond agrodolce.
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