Experience wine country with your favorite girls and escape for some serious girl time.
Allison called CM Destinations 3 months before her birthday. She and some friends wanted to celebrate with a weekend in wine country. Most of the guests had been to Napa before, but wanted someone to curate a trip with high-end wines and smaller labels that they had never heard of before. CM Destinations helped with hints about what airports to use, where to gather and what time their transportation would meet them at baggage claim. Seven ladies made the trip and this is what it looked like. Picture yourself on this trip:
Arrive Oakland Airport at 11:30 am. Flights all arrived within 60 minutes of each other from Seattle, Atlanta, Orlando and Dallas. Mercedes Sprinter picked up all the guests with bottled water, boxed lunches and sparkling wine aboard.
1:30 pm. First stop was in Sonoma, (Carneros Region) for a tasting with a small production winery. The winemaker was present to greet the ladies and answer questions about his Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Malbec, and Cabernet. The tasting fee is $20 and was waived for each purchase of 3 bottles that ranged in price from $24-$80. This winemaker is a farmer and a charmer. The group spent over an hour tasting and chatting. The driver helped the ladies aboard and they were off to their next destination.
3 pm. Bubble Time! The next stop is a beautiful French-style Chateau that is great for photos, bubbles and conversation. They chose a table outside on the deck with a great view of Carneros, a rose garden, fountain and a sunny spot to relax. Each guest got to choose a flight of several sparkling wine to taste and some even chose Pinot Noir to taste. The tasting fee is based on which flight you choose and ranges in price from $30 to $50. You may also order wines by the glass.
5 pm. Dropping luggage and wine purchase in the hotel in downtown Napa. This historic Inn is located on the Napa River, includes breakfast by Sweetie Pies Bakery and has comfortable rooms with bedding that makes you want to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. An hour was set aside for freshening up.
6 pm. Let’s go to dinner. Not just any dinner! The ladies were greeted at a winery in the foothills of Howell Mountain, where a personal Chef created a tasty steak dinner paired with red wines from this 5,000 case production winery. After a short tour of the winemaking facility, they were offered a seat on the second floor with a gorgeous view of the vineyards. This was a special evening. There were no other guests present. Just the ladies, the Chef and their winery representative. The photos were amazing too!
9 pm. Back to the hotel.
After breakfast the ladies took a walk around downtown to discover their surroundings.
Driver picked them up at 10 am and drove them to a 1,000 case production winery that is family run and owned. They sat in the garden, surrounded by vineyards and tasted Sauvignon Blanc, several Cabernet Sauvignons and met the winery cat. They enjoyed the story of the owner and his lifetime achievement of migrant picker to winery owner. After a lovely visit they drove to the next stop.
12 pm. Wow! A short drive delivered the gals to a small winery, also 1,000 case production and family owned, that produces a sparkling wine, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Red Blend and Cabernet Sauvignon. They sat on a patio with vineyards and a beautiful pergola that shaded them from the sun. They met with the vintner, who shared her journey of moving to the Napa Valley, falling in love with a vineyard manager and creating their family wine label. They also enjoyed a picnic lunch that was delivered from a local restaurant complete with a tablecloth and plates!
2 pm. Historical! Welcome to a family run winery that has owned the land for over 150 years and was one of the first to plant Bordeaux varietals in Napa. The ladies tasted a gorgeous Rose that is made by a famous winemaker who is from Provence and is responsible for getting everyone back on the bandwagon of drinking the good pink stuff! Then the Cabernet Sauvignons were tasted, including a library wine from 2007.
The driver dropped the ladies in downtown St. Helena for some shopping. There are several clothing boutiques, wine tasting rooms, shoe stores, art galleries, an historic movie theater and more. There is a wine shop, which is next door to a famous bakery, which is two doors from an incredible chocolatier.
Dinner was at 6:30 pm in downtown Yountville. The Italian food and jovial atmosphere made for a great birthday celebration. After dinner they were driven back to Napa where the bar hopping began. Between the restaurant and hotel bars you can do some great people watching and experience some hand-crafted cocktails. The evening finished at the only bar with a dance floor, complete with a DJ and disco light show.
The day was started a little later so that everyone could enjoy their vacation by sleeping in. Some chose to rise early and do a hike at Westwood Hills. It is a short 20 minutes to the top of a hill with a great photo opportunity. You can see the San Francisco Bay and the valley floor of Napa. Great photos! They used Uber to get there and back.
11 am. I’m on a Yacht! The Napa Valley Wine Yacht picked up the ladies from the Main Street Dock in front of their hotel. They were greeted by the Captain and a crew member who then introduced them to a winemaker who had brought their small production wines for them to taste. After a few minutes of checking out the 3 levels of the yacht, they started their tasting in the main living room and then moved to the bow of the vessel to taste the next wine. A gourmet lunch was served on the aft deck, which was prepared and delivered by a local restaurant. The three-hour cruise was relaxing and gave everyone a chance to chat and get to know the winemaker.
2 pm. Spa Time! A short walk from the dock is a world-class spa where the ladies chose from facials, wraps and massages. Some did all of the above!
4 pm. Shopping and Tasting! There are dozens of tasting rooms in the downtown areas of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. They didn’t need a driver on this day, as they could walk to each event and dinner! They stopped by two tasting rooms and then went to a casual dinner.
Early morning pick-up by their driver to return to the airport and reality…
Daily Budget: $500 – $750 per day, includes tastings, adventures, a private driver and meals. Tasting fees are waived with purchases.
Lodging Budget: $150 and up per night, per person, when sharing a room, depending up on season and style of lodging.
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