Oh, Napa. There's much to love, what with its acres of rolling grape vines and seemingly endless supply of fine wine and soft cheeses. Somehow despite being born in California (and residing in Northern California for most my life), I've yet to make the journey out to wine country -- until last weekend that is! While the weekend went by fairly quick, I'm already itching to plan another wine country trip (next time: Sonoma!) because it was a perfect mix of relaxation and exploration. I shared a video of my trip earlier, but wanted to break down some of my favorite stops I made while venturing around:
Oxbow Public Market
This lovely market is open 7 days a week and is a mecca for great food and local shopping. I especially loved that they had bikes for rent outside! Plus, it's just a quick cross on a bridge to old town, making it an easy area for exploration. I visited Oxbow Public Market twice on my trip, filling up on Ritual coffee and breakfast tacos from Casa, while snagging a new book and a couple unique culinary delights. From produce to gifts to beer and wine, they've got a little bit of everything to enjoy. Highly recommend at least a pit stop here during Napa to get a taste of some local items to bring back home with you.
We had the best tour guide (Hi, Blaze!) and experience at Andretti's Winery! Not only is the property gorgeous with loads of greenery, flowers and fountains, but the service was impeccable and we learned a ton doing a walking tour around the vineyard. I loved every wine I tried, which I don't think has ever happened while wine tasting, so it was money well spent on the tasting! I regretted not grabbing a bottle, but as fate will have it I actually ended up with a bottle of their Sauvignon Blanc as a gift on behalf of a hotel that made a mix up.
We showed up a little late to Jamieson Winery, which left us with not the best customer service (a.k.a I had two tastings before they swooped of the rest of the glasses without a chance finish), but the view was gorgeous and they had tons of colorful murals painted across their walls outside, which is what Instagram dreams are made of! I'd still be up for giving them another shot in the future, only I'll make sure my group arrives on time.
Tapas and Sangria at ZuZus!
Somehow I've never had tapas and was stoked to remedy that on this trip by stopping at Zuzu for dinner after an evening of wine tasting. In their own words, "ZuZu is a beloved, Spanish-inspired restaurant and tapas bar in Napa’s historic Old Town." It was so much fun to order a wide variety of dishes and share them -- some of the menu items I wouldn't have ordered myself actually turned out to be my favorite. Plus, their house-made sangria was a perfect match to many of the savory dishes we simultaneously devoured!
Bel Aire Plaza
After remembering I forgot my toothbrush and spotting a Target in the distance of a plaza, I realized it was a shopping circle with some of my favorite things (re: healthy, delicious food and bookstores). Three of my favorite stops: Copperfield Books, which had great deals on books, Whole Foods (we don't have one in Chico, so I always make it a point to stop! I grabbed a juice and a bottle of rosé I can't wait to crack open this Summer), and a local eatery called Heritage Eats with a cute patio and delicious bowls and tacos! Basically, the plaza has everything you need and then some, making it a practical stop when you need something more substantial than all the cheese and crackers you've been having with wine, but don't quite want to sit down in a restaurant if you're pressed for time.
Verdict: I loved Napa and can't wait to go back!
Have you visited Napa, CA before? What are some of your favorite places to explore?