Thursday, September 5, 2013

Honeymoon in Napa: The Wine and Beer

Most of you know this already, but Napa Valley has a lot to offer in the drink and wine especially. And being a wine and beer lover who just married a beer guy, you can imagine how much fun we had on this leg of the trip.

Our first stop in Napa - before we even got to our rental - was Beringer Vineyards. Before we left, one of my aunts raved about it, so we decided to check it out. I was really surprised at how gorgeous the grounds were, and how good the wine was. We went on a tour followed by a tasting, and the staff there were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable.

During our stint in Napa, we set aside one day to check out some smaller wineries that were recommended to us by a woman at Beringer. Our mode of transportation ended up being a tandem bike that we rented from Calistoga Bikeshop (for a day, it ended up being around $65). Riding a tandem bike = a crap ton of fun, especially when you're riding it through gorgeous vineyards.

We took our tandem bike to a small handful of wineries that day, but these two were our favorites:

Summers Estate Wines: This family-owned winery has an amazing view out back, complete with patio seating. We did a tasting at one of the outdoor tables, while simultaneously playing an intense game of bocce ball...on the winery's very own bocce ball court.

Lava Vine: This was by far the smallest winery we visited, but also one of the best. The owner was pouring some of the wines during our tasting, and he was obviously passionate about every bottle he produces. I ended up buying a Petite Sirah for $54...the most expensive bottle of wine I've ever purchased. That's how good their wines are. (Note: not every bottle is that expensive!).

[FYI: Most tastings we did during our trip cost anywhere from $10-$25 per person].

When it comes to beer, we were able to find quite a bit of locally made brews that were delicious. I mentioned Calistoga Inn & Brewery yesterday (I highly recommend trying their Calistoga Porter), but Downtown Joes in Napa is also fantastic. Downtown Joes is nothing fancy, but that's part of the place's charm - and "Big John" behind the bar will take care of you, if you're friendly. (Example: He let us order our beer through him vs. our waiter so we could get the happy hour prices, even though we were sitting at a table outside). I highly recommend trying the Old Magnolia Oatmeal Stout, if they have it - like most breweries, their beers rotate often.

Next week, I'll share with you guys the places we stayed and sights worth checking out in San Francisco and Napa Valley. I hope you're enjoying these recaps as much as I am enjoying sharing them!


  1. Love the tandem bike! What a fun way to do some wine tasting.

  2. My absolute favorite winery was Honig. We ended up meeting one of the owners at a bar the night before, and when we went to check out the vineyard, he gave us a tour, which they don't normally do! And they have solar panels. That was my husband's favorite part...and the late harvest wine. :-)

    1. Oooh, Honig sounds awesome! Wish we knew about that place when we were there. Next time. ;)

  3. So impressed by the tandem bike! Bocce and wine tasting - not sure you need much else in life? Your posts are getting me so ready for my trip!

  4. Your posts have me seriously wanting to go to Napa. Sounds like an ideal trip to me!