Napa: 12 Wineries in One Day

After relocating from Vancouver, BC to California in August 2014, I was thrilled to hear my parents planned their first weekend trip to visit me. We only had 2.5 days together so I planned a weekend where they could see as much as possible (without the San Francisco touristy destinations, which they’ve already done).

After hiking and sightseeing around the Point Reyes National Seashore and Marin Headlands on the Saturday, we ventured bright and early to Napa the next morning. And when I say bright, that is no exaggeration – the temperature that day rose to over 40 degrees Celsius (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit). We couldn’t wait to hop into each winery for the strong winds of air conditioning.

As the title states, we managed to visit a total of 12 wineries in one day. Don’t worry – that doesn’t mean we had 12 wine tastings, but that we saw the grounds of 12 different places. Some of which are very worth seeing. If you’re looking to show some out-of-towners Napa in one day, feel free to take a page from our book:

Itinerary for Napa in One Day:

9:00AM – Arrive at the Napa Valley Welcome Center as soon as it opens for an extensive map and 2-for-1 tasting coupons.

10:30AM – Drive all the way up to the north end of Napa to the town of Calistoga and have brunch. I highly recommend the French/Cajun spot, Evangeline.

11:30AM-6:00PM – Explore the wineries as you make your way back to downtown Napa to your heart’s content! Here are the 12 we ventured to in order:

* Indicates what I’d recommend stopping at

  1. *Chateau Montelena ($25/person tasting)
  2. Sterling
  3. Clos Pegase
  4. Charles Krug
  5. Trinchero
  6. *Berringer
  7. *Sutter Home (free tasting)
  8. *Heitz (free tasting)
  9. Beaulieu Vineyard (BV)
  10. Andretti
  11. Darioush
  12. *Hess Collection

Note: you definitely want to start the wineries early, as many of them close at 4/4:30PM. Neither of these require reservations either.

6:00PM – Stop by Oxbow Public Market to check out some trinkets, fun shops, and unique food vendors.

6:30PM – Dinner in downtown Napa. I found Spanish tapas eatery, ZuZu, on Yelp and it did not disappoint. The tapas are quite small however, so maybe opt for dessert after. We got gelato from Frati Gelato Cafe around the corner.

The Day in Photos…

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Evangeline for Brunch in Calistoga

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Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict and the Waffle

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Waiting for our Tasting at Chateau Montelena

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Chateau Montelena

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The Chinese-Inpspired Lake at Chateau Montelena

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Private Tasting Section at Chateau Montelena

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Unexpected Chalkboard at Sterling Vineyards

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The Iconic Napa Valley Welcome Sign

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At the Berringer Winery Grounds

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Berringer

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Heitz Winery

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The Columns at Darioush

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The Art Collection at Hess Collection

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The Prawns and Octopus at Zuzu in Downtown Napa

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Mexican Nachos and the Best Tapa – Flat Iron Steak

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Downtown Napa

Thoughts on Napa? Let me know in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Napa: 12 Wineries in One Day

  1. Nice article! We live here and you described perfectly our typical weekend -except for the 12 wineries part! Usually 2. Maybe 3. Often ending at the Oxbow, and frequently at Zuzu. Check out and follow our wine country blog: http://www.topochinesvino.com. One our our articles is a write up on Zuzu’s sister restaurant, La Taberna, which is just a few doors down.

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