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Please review Napa itinerary

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Ottawa, Ontario
posts: 98
reviews: 11
Please review Napa itinerary

My husband and I are traveling to California for a road trip this September. One day of our itinerary is to visit some wineries in Napa. We're both 40 years old, my husband loves red wine but I'm not into wine and am more interested in being the photographer and getting nice photos of the vines, caves and buildings. Does this itinerary seem good? This is for Sunday September 22. We will be spending the night on the 22nd at El Bonita Hotel in St. Helena.

- Drive San Fran to Napa, 1 hour

- at 10 am take 75 min Signature tour @ Mondavi

- 11 min drive to Rutherford Hill winery for picnic lunch (supposed to have best picnic grounds)

at 1:30pm take 45 min tour

- 3pm Coppola’s Inglenook tour 90 mins

- On way to hotel stop at Beringer for photos, they’re open til 6pm. We won't have time for a tour here as the last 1/2 hour tour is at 4pm.

Thanks in advance,

Belinda

St. Helena...
Destination Expert
for Napa Valley
posts: 1,148
reviews: 40
1. Re: Please review Napa itinerary

You've got a really nice itinerary for a one-day visit, before commenting, pls answer ... where is this stop? ... "at 1:30pm take 45 min tour"

Ottawa, Ontario
posts: 98
reviews: 11
2. Re: Please review Napa itinerary

Sorry for the confusion, that's part of the Rutherford Hill portion. So I have us arriving there for a picnic lunch then taking the 1:30 tour.

St. Helena...
Destination Expert
for Napa Valley
posts: 1,148
reviews: 40
3. Re: Please review Napa itinerary

hi belinda - thanks for clarifying. Very nice itinerary, let me offer a few comments:

In general, on a one-day visit, I'd suggest just one tour and spend the remainder visiting tasting rooms and sight-seeing. You may be doing 3 tours because you're interested in the caves, if so, stick to your plan -- else, you could just do the Mondavi tour, which is very educational, and then tweak the rest of the day, as follows ...

Be sure to leave SF early enough, even on a Sunday, it will take you more than an hour to arrive at Mondavi. In addition, add some extra time to pick up your picnic lunch before the Mondavi tour - some delis on the way would be Whole Foods or Genova in Napa, Ranch Market or NapaStyle in Yountville, or Oakville Grocery in Oakville. Also, be sure to reserve your table at Rutherford Hill picnic grove.

At Rutherford Hill, you could skip the tour and just taste, then take a bottle out to the picnic grove. This would leave you more time to experience other wineries in the general area. Here are a couple I might suggest on a drop-in basis: Mumm Napa for sparkling wine and amazing vineyards views (photo op) and Peju with striking architecture, sculpture and lush gardens (more photo ops).

Inglenook is a great choice, more photo ops, inside the chateau and on the grounds. (PS also a fantastic gift shop.) If you just do the tasting and not a tour here, you'll have more time to explore as you drive further north. Beringer is quite a ways north past your hotel on Hwy 29, but you'll probably enjoy a slow slog through the town of St. Helena. On your return from Beringer, you should park in St. Helena and walk the downtown before checking in. Maybe check out some of the restaurants for dinner that evening.

If you find you have extra time, I'd also recommend taking one of the cross-roads from Hwy 29 over to Silverado Trail for scenic vistas and photo ops, especially on a late summer afternoon. Check a map, perhaps you'll have time after Beringer to take a casual loop drive, cross to Silverado Trail on Deer Park, head north toward Calistoga, cross back to Hwy 29 on Dunaweal - this will take you past Sterling and Clos Pegase and many other wineries as you make your way back to El Bonita on Hwy 29.

You've chosen a premium time to visit the valley - the weather will be amazing and harvest will be in full swing. Have a great trip!

Ottawa, Ontario
posts: 98
reviews: 11
4. Re: Please review Napa itinerary

Hi NanciInNapa,

Thanks for reply, those are very good ideas. We'll just do the tour at Mondavi and have more time to stop in at other wineries for my photo ops!

Cheers,

Belinda

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 15,728
reviews: 2,506
5. Re: Please review Napa itinerary

While I like your itinerary a lot - I just wanted one winery you might want to drive in and take a picture of - its close to Beringer.

1) Drive in and take a picture of Castello di Amarosa

http://www.castellodiamorosa.com/

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Castello+di+Amarosa+Pictures&FORM=HDRSC2

(Note: For photo opportunities this one has more opportunities for unique photos than Mondavi - although I really like the Mondavi overview tour so I like your itinerary.)

Ottawa, Ontario
posts: 98
reviews: 11
6. Re: Please review Napa itinerary

Thanks Mini, I'll add that one to my list. Those pics are gorgeous!

posts: 28,994
reviews: 780
7. Re: Please review Napa itinerary

Chateau Montelena is another nice one in Calistoga! :)

Marietta, Georgia
posts: 11
reviews: 8
8. Re: Please review Napa itinerary

Curious about Rutherford Hill winery picnic if anyone knows. I presume you bring your own picnic lunch and then just rent their picnic table for $35.00 as stated on their website. Is that how it works?

St. Helena...
Destination Expert
for Napa Valley
posts: 1,148
reviews: 40
9. Re: Please review Napa itinerary

Re: Rutherford Hill picnics - yes, you can bring your own picnic, and for the fee, you get a private picnic table, tablecloth and a fresh flower centerpiece. Very elegant. More importantly, the fee allows you to distance yourself from the crowds, and enjoy the beautiful scenery and your picnic/wine in relative peace and quiet ... certainly compared to some of the super-popular picnic sites like V. Sattui which can get jammed-packed on a busy weekend.

Ottawa, Ontario
posts: 98
reviews: 11
10. Re: Please review Napa itinerary

I called Rutherford Hill winery to reserve a picnic table but there wasn't a fee associated with it. I asked if I had to pay to reserve and they said no which is confusing because the website mentions the $35 fee. A bit nervous about what I've reserved.