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Which wineries should we go to on our honeymoon?

My soon to be wife and I are going to Napa Valley / Sonoma to celebrate our Oct 4th marriage. Hope to make reservations in the Calistoga, CA area. We are arriving Oct 8th for 1 week. Also, I am thinking a surprise hot air balloon ride would be fun. Should I tell her or keep it a surprise?? Any suggestions on B&B's, restaurants, wineries (we like red but are open to other types of wines). Frankly, a place that are open to educating us would probably be good to start! Thanks!

3 Answers

top answer by
Debbie from San Francisco

Congratulations, Kip! 

In Calistoga proper, Castello di Amorosa is amazing.  It's a castle with its own moat!  Great wines and you can schedule a private tour of the place.  They, and pretty much every winery, will educate you about their wines and wine in general.In Napa, I really like Artesa Vineyards & Winery, really gorgeous spot and good wines across the board!  

If you really want to see the process, take a cave tour at Del Dotto Estate Winery & Caves, which is a similar experience to Castello di Amorosa.

For food...

  • This isn't the fanciest of places, I'm going to suggest my favorite spot that's great for lunch: Gott's Roadside! I love them! They have a location in Napa, too. Their seared ahi tuna burger with Asian slaw and wasabi aioli on egg bun is my favorite. They also serve beer and wine from local wineries. Order and pay inside, then grab a seat outside to take in the beautiful wine country sun.
  • For breakfast or brunch, Boon Fly Cafe is one of the most popular spots in Napa.
  • ad hoc serves a great prix fixe brunch on weekends. If you're familiar with Thomas Keller or French Laundry (which is actually down the street), well, this is one of his spots! Also great for prix fixe dinner. You do have to make reservations for this spot.

For fun...

  • Take a walk in downtown Yountville on Washington St. Search for The French Laundry in your GPS and go from there (this is also where ad hoc that I had previously mentioned is). There's a beautiful garden/park adjacent to the restaurant and that's a good place stop off for a walk and take some pictures.
  • Old Faithful Geyser of California: Grab a picnic lunch and head here to see the geyser. Good spots to grab lunch to go are at Buster's Southern BBQ or Palisades Market, both close to the geyser in Calistoga.
  • Downtown St Helena is also great to walk through for some shopping. Great boutiques and little specialty food stores.

By the way, Calistoga is known for their spas because of their hot springs and mud baths, so maybe you can have a spa day there.  These are the top three spots there:

Solage and Indian Springs are also highly regarded resorts, so those are possibilities for lodging.  Another really popular one in the area is Auberge Du Soleil.

If your wife likes surprises, keep the hot air balloon a surprise :)

Have fun and let us know where you end up going!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Castello di Amorosa (attraction)
  2. Artesa Vineyards & Winery (attraction)
  3. Del Dotto Estate Winery & Caves (attraction)
  4. Gott's Roadside (restaurant)
  5. Boon Fly Cafe (restaurant)
  6. ad hoc (restaurant)
  7. Yountville (city)
  8. The French Laundry (restaurant)
  9. Old Faithful Geyser of California (attraction)
  10. Buster's Southern BBQ (restaurant)
  11. Palisades Market (restaurant)
  12. St Helena (attraction)
  13. Solage Calistoga (hotel)
  14. Indian Springs (hotel)
  15. Lavender Hill Spa (attraction)
  16. Auberge Du Soleil (hotel)
2 thanks

answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

I'm not as familiar with the exact Calistoga area, but here are my favorites for wineries and food:

Pine Ridge Vineyards-cave experience with Chihuli glass, lots of single vineyard cabs-great for learning

Flora Springs Winery - The Room, try to do the estate tastings rather than "The Room" they have 5 single vineyard cabs and are so down to earth and do an excellent job explaining why the terroir is so important.  Wine is excellent.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards-classic old school vineyard, plenty of awards and excellent juice!

Mumm Napa-the patio rocks, and the bubbles are my favorite!

Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ is in downtown Napa, they have a spectacular beer can chicken and always have an excellent selection of wine to pair.

Gott's Roadside-we like the location further north in Napa Valley, great to get a greasy gut bomb while tasting wine!

Wander around Oxbow Public Market and take the food back to the room for an early night!

Anything by Thomas Keller-The French Laundry if you can score the reservation is an AMAZING experience in food.  If not available, definitely book Bouchon or ad hoc, they will never disappoint.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pine Ridge Vineyards (restaurant)
  2. Flora Springs Winery - The Room (attraction)
  3. Joseph Phelps Vineyards (attraction)
  4. Mumm Napa (attraction)
  5. Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ (attraction)
  6. Gott's Roadside (restaurant)
  7. Oxbow Public Market (attraction)
  8. The French Laundry (restaurant)
  9. Bouchon (restaurant)
  10. ad hoc (restaurant)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
M from San Leandro

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Castello di Amorosa (attraction)
1 thanks

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