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  • Jennifer Howard

Napa Valley: The Ultimate Wine Country Destination

Culinary delights, European-style grandeur, bubbles and bites. Summer is the perfect time to explore this unique winegrowing region, and there is something for everyone. Surrounded by lush gardens, vineyards and mountains, the Wine Country offers a rustic-chic atmosphere that is sure to be your peaceful retreat.


Napa Valley pool and courtyard

Explore

The Napa Valley Wine Train is one of the most unique experiences offered in this region. Experience a 36 mile round trip discovery to St. Helena and back, stopping at celebrated wineries along the way. Enjoy fresh California cuisine and a beautiful three hour journey aboard an elegant vintage train. Try dining in the Champagne Vista Dome, an elevated observation style dining car with luxuriously plush booths, Honduran mahogany paneling, and lush views from practically every angle. For added intrigue and mystery, there is even a "Murder on the Orient Express" murder mystery themed dinner.

Soar above Napa Valley's wineries, hills and estates on a hot air balloon tour. Napa Valley Balloons offer four hour tours, taking off from Domaine Chandon winery. Tours offer pre-flight snacks, breakfast and a glass of sparkling wine. Balloon rides begin soon after sunrise and include about 60 minutes in the air. Groups can range from six to twenty people. Guides are known for sharing interesting and amusing commentary on the sights.

Cycle 10-14 miles to two different wineries on a classic half-day Napa Valley Bike Tour. Along the route, guides share information on the region and wine-making. Outings begin around 9:30 and end at two, though you can bike longer if you wish. The cost of the tour includes use of the bike but does not include tasting fees, which range from $30-40. Electric bikes are also available.

For those who enjoy a chauffeured experience, Napa Valley Wine Country Tours offers an idyllic afternoon. You'll visit four wineries, ranging from well-known vineyards to small, family-owned properties, on this six hour outing. Tickets cost begin at $120 and include a picnic lunch. Tasting fees are in addition.

Sip

Goose Cross is a charming estate winery with a five generation family legacy. Goose Cross is inspired by the owner's love of wine, dedication to hospitality and her deep connection to farming the land. Enjoy a tasting outdoors on the estate with gorgeous views of the estate vineyards and the Mayacamas Mountain Range. Goose Cross wine offerings include: Napa Valley, State Lane, Summit, and Abstract Selections. As you take in the sights, sounds and smells of their estate, your gracious hosts at Goose Cross will offer you a personalized suggested flight of exquisite wines. Domaine Carneros is another of our Napa Valley favorites. Domaine Carneros is home to the most majestic chateau in Napa Valley. Inspired by the 18th century Chateau de la Marquetterie in Champagne, France, guests will enjoy their sparkling and still wines in the Louis XV inspired salon or overlooking the vines. For a truly elevated experience, book the Sparkling Suite Tasting ($500 per couple) which includes a sampling of sparkling wine and pinot noir paired with caviar and charcuterie, enjoyed by a private balcony that overlooks the estate. Mayacamas Vineyards & Winery has long been recognized as a top producer of age-worthy Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. Situated high above the valley, alternating rows of yellow mustard and white daikon radish flowers stripe The Meadow. Experience a tour of the historic grounds, followed by an al fresco tasting alongside breathtaking views. Mayacamas Vineyards transitioned the 50+ acres of vineyard on the estate to organic farming, a decision representing a huge step forward for environmental sustainability and wine quality. A visit to this mountainside property is an unforgettable treat.

Stay

Meritage Resort & Spa takes you from ordinary to extraordinary. Meritage offers acres of sun-soaked hillside vineyards, paired with beautiful accommodations, luxurious amenities and the best of Napa Valley's legendary wineries only moments away. Your relaxing escape at Meritage may find you at the Spa Terra, located in an underground Estate cave, the vineyard pool, an outdoor yoga or fitness class, al fresco dining at Olive & Hay Restaurant or just across the road at Vista Collina for a unique wine country tasting experience. Carneros Resort & Spa is a unique treat of a property. Surrounded by rolling vineyards and picturesque countryside, Carneros Resort & Spa offers a private retreat that delivers a relaxed and luxurious quintessential Napa experience. Spacious farm-style buildings with large windows, sophisticated, airy rooms, and more furniture outdoors than indoors all create the perfect country-meets-luxury experience. From a leisurely bike ride through the countryside, wine tasting at world-renown vineyards, a signature spa treatment, to a decadent dinner at FARM, Napa lifestyle is all about pursuing the finer moments in life.

Taste

RH Restaurant at RH Yountville is part of the five-building RH Yountville compound located in the heart of Napa Valley. An integration of food, wine, art and design, this restaurant features timeless classics for brunch and dinner, as well as a selection of wines from esteemed vintners in the United States and Europe. The RH Restaurant features an ingredient-driven menu that reflects the region's relaxed refinement, accompanied by a curated selection of artisanal wines and craft beers. Guests dine in the indoor / outdoor space amidst trickling fountains, heritage olive trees and glimmering chandeliers. The French Laundry, a 1,600 square-foot structure constructed of river rock and timbers, was built as a saloon in 1900 by a Scottish stonemason. The building later served as a residence, and during the 1920's operated as a French steam laundry. Later, the property was renovated into a restaurant and purchased by Chef Thomas Keller in 1994. The menu, which changes daily, commits itself to serving classic French cuisine with the finest quality ingredients. The French Laundry has received numerous accolades over the past twenty five years. Since 2007, the Michelin Guide has awarded The French Laundry their highest rating of three stars. The James Beard Foundation gave The French Laundry the highly coveted "Outstanding Restaurant Award" and awarded Chef Thomas Keller "Outstanding Restaurateur." Whether you find yourself overlooking the vines, or the roses, exploring the vineyards, seeking adventure, or chasing beauty, the Napa Valley will delight you. It is like stepping through an enchanted door.

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