California Dreamin… Napa

Our latest vacation was more than I could have ever dreamed it to be. Josh and I went to San Fransico and Napa Valley with his parents and it turned into the best trip of my life, despite all the obstacles.

Let me explain what I mean by “obstacles.” We had originally planned to take this trip in September, however, Hurricane Irma decided to put a stop to that. After a bit of disappointment and worry, Josh’s mom (Catherine) went to work and managed to reschedule the ENTIRE trip!

We made it to Cali mid-October and to our dismay, our first night in Napa was the night of the historic fires and windstorm- “obstacles”!


Our first day in Napa we made it to two wineries and had a beautiful day.


Nickel & Nickel was the first winery and my very first wine tasting and it did not disappoint! It was beautiful. We decided to do the tour paired with the tasting and I learned so much about how wine was made.


The tour started in the main house where you were given some white wine in the den as the group gathered. This winery in a beautiful colonial home and barn in the back where the wine is produced. After sipping some wine, you are brought to the barn. This is where the lesson of wine production from soil to bottle is given. It was very informative.


The wine tasting area was in the dining room of the estate and it was intimate and a wonderful experience. Our guide went through each glass of wine (these were no little tastes) and helped us learn which wine best suited our individual palate.


It was a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend checking them out if you love cabernet and you’re in Napa!

We ate lunch at the Rutherford Grill and it was delicious! Definitely needed some lunch (carbs) after drinking all that wine 🙂

The second winery for the day was Frogs Leap. we decided to just do a tasting here instead of a tour as we had already experienced an in-depth tour that day.


We sat outside and the weather was AMAZING. Ther service was wonderful and our glasses were full! All in all, frogs leap was a fantastic experience!


Day 2:

This day came as a bit of a surprise for us. Our driver, Raul showed up bright and early Monday morning to take us to our first tour and explained to us that due to the extent and severity of the fires that occurred the night before, much of the city had no power and many places were closed. Our driver was through Napa-Sonoma Wine Tasting Driver company. I would highly recommend them. The driver came to the house we were staying and for $25 an hour-drove our car (don’t want any DUI’s here, don’t risk it driving). Our driver’s name was Raul and he made our trip!

All of the vineyards we had scheduled this day and for the rest of the trip were closed due to the fires. Raul did not let that stop him. He took us through back roads and was persistent in finding places to be open and let us try some wine!

First stop was Allora Vineyards. The owner of the estate was very kind and provided us with a private tasting in his barrel cave despite his not having electricity. We completed our tasting using the flashlight of our phones, it was a great experience! Allora is a special vineyard as they do not distribute their wine commercially. You have to become a member and order their wine directly. We made sure to order some and their custom wine glasses that are created to aerate the wine perfectly!



Next stop was William Cole. This was a more casual vineyard run by father and son. Here we got to crush grapes and experience a tasting in their barn.


After William Cole we went to Peju. Here we did a tasting and again sat outdoors. They were extremely accommodating and very friendly. They were full and with most wineries being closed they were running all around making sure everyone had wine and were taken care of. Their outdoor space with beautiful with lilac (or lavender I still don’t know) all around it.


3 wineries in one day were more than enough for me! For dinner, we went to Cole’s Chop House and would highly recommend it! The steak was delicious and the scenery was great.


Day 3:

This was our final day in Napa and it was magical. This is the day Josh asked me to marry him! Obviously, I’m a bit biased, but this was the best day in my opinion. 😉

Our first stop was Del Dotto and it was magical! we did a full cave tour and tasting. This is their “estate” location in St. Helena. They have three locations in the area, but this is the most gorgeous one. They provided us with pizza and apps (more than any other tour or tasting) and it was an amazing tour. The wine was the best!! Trust me, if you are in Napa go here. There is no chance you can be disappointed.


Sneak peak… this is where we got engaged. More about that to come…

After Del Dotto, we went to Silver Oak. I will admit this visit was a bit of a blur. I spent most of the time on the phone with family and friends announcing our engagement.


There was a lot of smoke and ash outdoors due to the fires still going on. Picture quality was tough and this was all I was able to capture or Silver Oak. Luckily I was able to come home with 4 souvenir wine glasses!

Our final stop was Turnbull Winery. It was a more modern winery that offered a tasting with no tour. They were great! They had a great outdoor area where they grow fruit (pomegranates which were my mother’s favorite) and veggies. The property was beautiful and the art inside was from all local artists!


We stayed in a house in Napa we found through VRBO and it was great. The homeowner was the best and met up with us for some wine! It was in a great location (close to oxbo market… a must see/eat)… close to everything. It was clean and nice. Free wifi, full kitchen, and a cute backyard area. It’s the location Josh and I took our announcement pic! If you’re interested in booking the house let me know and I will give you the direct link.

Anyone been to Napa? What was your favorite vineyard/winery? I’d love  to hear about about your experiences!




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