Let me start with this…I don’t claim to be a wine country expert by any means. But I tend to get asked a lot about it, so I figured I’d type out a post as a primer. That said, we have been out there 4 times now and actually had another stop planned that we had to cancel. Hopefully, this post will help you get started with planning your own trip.
I’d also recommend reading my wrap ups/retro reviews from our Napa trips: 2016, 2013, 2012, 2010.
Sonoma Valley vs. Napa Valley
One of your first decisions is on where to go because there is a mountain range between the two regions that you don’t want to be traversing on a daily basis. It depends on a couple things…
What sort of wine do you like? Cabernets – you’re much better off in Napa. Pinots and Zinfandels – you’re probably better off in Sonoma. These are gross generalizations, but they’re true more often than not. Continue reading
Back to wine country…Yet again. Fortunately (at least for Alyce), she was not pregnant this time. Also, we were finally able to work it out so that some friends could join us. Patrick, who grew up with Alyce and I, along with his wife Stephanie met us late the first night from Houston.
This trip was a Wednesday through Sunday. That timing worked out for a couple reasons. First, I used award miles and that was when flights were available within Alyce’s possible vacation time. Second, I booked the hotel using the 4th night free benefit of the Citi Prestige card. With that, they give you a credit for the 4th night’s room rate + taxes. And it is the actual 4th night – not an average of the 4. So having that be a Saturday got us a much bigger credit.
This was our first trip to wine country in Winter (even though it was a week or two from Spring). The temperatures weren’t bad, but we had rain every day. And not misty light rain…We had legitimate hard rain. We must have heard the following line 10 times over the trip – “Sorry y’all had rain the whole trip…well actually, not really because we can use it.”
That is the downside of traveling December through March to wine country – rain. It’s not that it’s a guarantee you’ll get rain (the weekend before and after ours were beautiful), but you are far more likely to get rained on than the other times of the year. The plus side is that room rates are less and things are generally less crowded. Continue reading
Back to Napa for trip #3…Our first trip since returning home from our big trip.
This was – as is the usual for our domestic trips – a quick long weekend vacation. We left on Thursday—at 5:00 a.m. I was not even aware that flights left New Orleans that early, but they do. The good thing about heading out that early is that we got nearly a full day in on that day, as opposed to losing a day to travel.
We flew United with a stop in Houston on the way over, and it was pretty uneventful. One thing of note is that flight was the last one we’ll take that we had to power down our phones/ipads…at least domestically.
And because there is no other better place to mention it, I’ll do so now. We detoured to Muir Woods before making our way to Napa. This is a redwood forest with some walking paths and trails. Having never been to such a place, we enjoyed the stop and considered it well worth the 45-60 additional minutes of driving.
I typed this up a couple years ago after we got back from Napa. It’s long, but I had some friends that would be travelling there soon. Plus, I like having the reports (same as now with the wrap ups). We have since been back to Napa, so it is fun to go back and read the report.
We should be back to current stuff tomorrow. Here is Napa 2010 with some pictures from Alyce’s facebook account:
Napa – May 2010
I enjoyed this trip more than I was expecting too. Going into it I was excited about all of the eating out plans and thought touring/tasting the wineries would just be a filler during the day to get to the meals…I was wrong.