On our way to Yosemite National Park we suddenly spotted Napa valley on the map. Though it was a bit off route, we were triggered by the memory of the movie “Sideways” and decided to have a look. After all, Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church have so much ‘misadventures’ and fun on their road trip through California’s wine country.
From Oakland it took us some 2,5 hours to get to the valley. A bit longer than expected unfortunately, but traffic is always bad in the area. It’s not particularly clear where you need to go to, once you arrive in the town of Napa. We figured out that as long as you follow the Silverado Trail, you’ll be pretty good. Once the first wine ranch pops up you’ll soon count tons of them. We drove north on the trail for half an hour and I estimated we passed some 50 estates. If I look on the map I can even count more.
So a lot of wine. Well, where to go for a good tasting? Honestly I wish I could tell you which one is the most perfect of all for a break, but I just have the feeling that any one of them will give you a pretty fine experience – unless your a real expert when it comes to grapes but in that case you’re probably not reading this blog.
The great thing about this area is, if the atmosphere at the ranch you stopped by at doesn’t feel right for you, you’ll be at the next estate within 5 minutes.
We drove to Rutherford Ranch Winery, basically because it was situated on a nice hill with a great overview of the area. Other ones near Rutherford were Quintessa, Conn Creek Winery, Dakota Shy Estate, Wm. Harrison Vineyards & Winery, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, D R Stephens Estate. You might possibly just pick one because of its name. And nope, there’s no judgement in here.
Rutherford Ranch has a nice area outside of the cellars where you can pop your bottle(s). The tables near the ranch are perfect too for a small picnic. So bring a basket of cheeses and bread, gaze at the vineyards below and live in clover, if only for a little while.