Napa Valley – First Trip: Trefethen, Sterling, Domaine Carneros Vineyards + Gotts Roadside and The Model Bakery

Reason #1248982571023958035964504968746 I love living here: It’s a short one-hour trip to wine country!

Napa Valley is one of the most gorgeous areas I’ve visited in California. We stayed in this amazing house that was actually featured on House Hunters and overlooked the valley (our friend booked it through vrbo). Unlike the city of San Francisco, the valley actually receives some pretty warm weather. It was about 75 degrees F or warmer on the two days we toured the vineyards.

View of Napa Valley

For our first day we booked one of the many limo companies in the area to take us around to all of the vineyards. They picked up half the party in the city and then took us back to our house in Napa at the end of our wine tour. Here’s a brief overview of all of the vineyards and restaurants we visited over the weekend:

Wineries

Trefethen Vineyards: Excellent wine. Since it was our first stop of the day, I didn’t really take in the ambiance of the vineyard itself, but they do have a great outdoor area in the back. Our tasting rep was very knowledgeable and took time to educate us about each of the wines, in addition to trying to sell us bottles of course! Tastings are $15 for the regular, and $25 for reserve. Most people from back home will probably gape at these prices, but this is pretty standard all over Napa.

Trefethen Family Vineyards

Sterling Vineyards: A popular vineyard, not only because of the name recognition, but also because they are said to have some of the best views of the valley. You have to take a sky tram up to the actual vineyard. It was around this point that I realized why people have commented on how “touristy” Napa has become haha. The sky tram was fun, but you basically pay for that in addition to the tasting (General Admission is $25). The property is a unique, Mediterranean, white-stucco complex with breathtaking views. The tasting is a little different in that you either have a self-guided or guided walking tour around the entire complex between each tasting.

Domaine Carneros: This vineyard is known for its sparkling wine. In retrospect, we probably should have started here! The property is this gorgeous large chateau with a giant terrace where you can sit and relax and take in the views of the grounds. You can order both food and wine here. If you’re not a fan of sparkling wines, skip this one.

Restaurants

We ordered in one night for dinner, but we did get to experience a couple of the local shops.

Gott’s Roadside Cafe: Who would have thought that after a morning and early afternoon of wine tasting, what you really crave is delicious burgers? Thank goodness for Gott’s! This small roadside stop has lines that last 45 minutes to an hour during the popular season, but boy is it worth it. Sticking with the popular California “fresh” and “sustainable” theme, their dishes feature ingredients grown in the back of their garden at their St. Helena location. A must-visit for those touring the valley. They also have a third location in the Ferry Building in the city, but for some reason, it just really tastes better on the side of the road after wine!

The Model Bakery: Located right next to Gott’s in Napa, the Model Bakery should not be overlooked. They are famous for their English Muffins. I can’t even put into words how delicious these are! Thick, yet light and fluffy, they are the scrumptious foundation for the perfect breakfast sandwich.

I am definitely looking forward to a trip back to the Napa Valley to take in some smaller vineyards and maybe a couple more famous ones (Mondavi, etc.). I happened to fall in love with the Sonoma area (smaller, less touristy, quieter, tastings aren’t as pricey) over Napa, but I want to make a couple trips back before I pass full judgment. Look out for more posts!

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