It was almost immediate upon leaving the city that we get the beautiful green, rolling hills of California wine country. It. Is. Gorgeous. It's a pretty nice and easy drive and our destination was actually past Napa, in Yountville, where the meeting point was for our tour. Yountville is a gorgeous little town with an adorable downtown area aka street. We got there early so we took a short walk and found Bouchon Bakery. HIGHLY recommend this French-inspired cafe. Why? See pics below. I got a croissant for breakfast, Jeanette got a brownie, and we got two macaroons to go to snack on later! It was pretty pricey but it's in a highly concentrated tourist area so it is what it is. But we sat outside, ate our breakfast and pretended we were in France ready to drink wine all day. Totes worth it.
The tour we took, which I also HIGHLY recommend doing while you're there, was through the Napa Valley Wine Trolleys. The trolley transports your to three wineries and one of them is a castle. No fucking joke, we toured Castillo de Amarosa. It was amazing! The castle was built within the last 10 years and has a lot of interesting history because it was built by a man as his retirement project..yeah, I wanna know what kinda money you have that as your retirement project you build a fucking castle for fun but I digress.
The castle tour included a stop in the torture chamber...so of course I took pics and thought of all the BDSM fun one could have in this room...just saying. The tasting at this winery had the most variety. We got a list of all their wines and we each got to taste 4 different wines. Delicious! My favorite was the Fantazia, a rose that I could have drank like water.
The second stop was at Beringer. We has lunch first, it was delicious. Sandwiches, salads, desserts, it was all really nice. The weather was beautiful so after lunch we had our own free time to either do a tasting, get a glass, or just walk the grounds. I, again, got a glass of their Rose and this was my favorite wine of the day. We walked the grounds and relaxed by a fountain, it was perfect. The glass of wine here was $10 with the tasting, if you chose that, at $15.
The last stop was Providence winery. No bueno, guys. The tasting was $20 and totally not worth it. I did their white wine tasting and Jeanette did the reds (they had different names but I can't remember) and they were both awful. I like to joke that I think they poisoned me because I was not drunk at this point but felt almost instantly nauseous after the second wine. I needed to sit down with my head between my knees I felt close to passing out. I vasovagal'd before (fancy term for passing out) so I knew what it felt like and it ended up being fine but whoa, it sucked. The wine was awful, I felt sick, and I was not impressed at all.
However, I was impressed with the overall trolley tour. The price is reasonable at $129 and compared to other tours and what you get, it is totally worth it. The tour included transportation as well as commentary by the tour guide about Napa Valley as your drive to the three different wineries. The price included transportation (like I said), the tasting and castle tour, a catered lunch, and transportation back to the starting point. I looked at a lot of other tours and this was by far the best bang for your buck. I HIGHLY recommend doing this if you get a chance! Nobody wants to drive between wineries when...duh, you're drinking wine all day.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in American Canyon, about 10 minutes from downtown Napa. Worked out perfectly. Reasonably priced, it was clean and right in the middle of a ton of fast food restaurants, a Starbucks, a Wal-Mart, anything quick you might need. We drove into downtown for dinner at Downtown Joe's Brewery because hot damn all we wanted was a burger and a TV to watch the game. We got both and it was delicious. It had a dive bar feel and it was perfection. There was a swanky looking bar across the street called Napkins and all I wanted to do was spray paint 'Sanitary' in front of it. Can you get more stupid and pretentious than a place called Napkins? It was so ridiculous. While our choice of dining experience wasn't sophistication, it was perfect.
Trolley Wine Tour
Castillo de Amorosa
Downtown Joe's--if you want that chill/dive vibe