Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Napa Vacation Wineries Day 2 and 3

This week I'm recapping our California vacation! The first day was spent in the San Francisco area and you can read my recap here.  I didn't mention yesterday, (sorry!) my mom and our friend Stefanie also came along for our adventures!

Day 2!! 

Day 2 was our first official day in Napa. We had reservations to attend 3 wineries. 

First stop of the day was breakfast!! 

We started off our day at Bouchon Bakery. Bouchon is a Thomas Keller restaurant and I was so excited to try out a few yummy pastries.

The floor tile was so gorgeous. 

If you are headed to the Napa area, Bouchon is a MUST visit. 

With full bellies we headed up the mountain for our first winery. 

Pride Mountain Vineyards

After the tour, we enjoyed a picnic lunch on their property. Pride Mountain is one of the few wineries that allows you to picnic.

We had the entire picnic area to ourselves, and the view was breath taking. 


I was trying to get a picture of the view, and Austin was being Austin.  

Y'all, this is my life. 

Dana and Stefanie! We had so much fun with these two! They were great sports, and went along with all our crazy plans for the trip! Thanks ladies! They were also sooooo much fun! 

The original winery on their property. 

We loved Pride. It was the most beautiful vineyard of all the wineries we visited. It was also one of the least expensive tours. We highly recommend it! Grab a picnic and make a reservation. 

Sterling Vineyards

Sterling has a gondola ride that takes you from the base of the mountain up to the top where the wine production takes place. It's about a 4 minute ride. 

Sterling is a bigger production winery. The tour was self guided, and they had wine tasting stations set up along the way. 

Sterling was our least favorite stop of the entire trip. It was incredibly hot and crowded on top of their mountain.  We personally preferred the smaller more intimate wineries over the bigger ones. We also didn't learn as much about the winery from the self-guided tour. If we hadn't just come from such a beautiful winery, we might have enjoyed Sterling a bit more. It's hard to say! Our advice is to skip this stop. 

Cakebread Cellars

Cakebread was next! Several people suggested this winery to us. (thanks friends!)

We skipped the tour and just did the tasting at Cakebread. 

We enjoyed the tasting! The wine was yummy. Jose was our pour-master. (Y'all I have no idea what the word is for him? I'm sure there is one?!)  There was ample shade and the grounds were beautiful. Cakebread was a win! Their facilities were beautiful and we enjoyed the wine! 

Mustards Grill

I was really excited about experiencing the food in Napa! I carefully chose all our restaurants. First up was Mustards Grill. 

I had delicious pork chops! 

After dinner we checked out the Mustard Grill garden. They grow all their own produce. 

The biggest sunflowers I have ever seen!

DAY 3!!

I don't have a ton of pictures from Del Dotto. The entire tour took places inside their caves, and it wasn't the best light! 

The tour ended with a few snacks, and they were delicious. 

I mean, those beams! Gorgeous.

Del Dotto was our very favorite tour of the entire trip. They have two locations, and we visited the Del Dotto Historic Caves that are located in Napa. The caves were extremely interesting, and completely different from Pride Mountain the day before. Our guide, Tim, was excellent! I felt like we learned a ton about wines. We started the tour with a sample of Chardonnay from a bottle, but the rest of the tastings were red wines straight from the barrel. They were very generous with their tastings, and we tasted more from Del Dotto than any other winery. We enjoyed wines that cost $175 a bottle and they were beyond incredible. They also did a side-by-side tasting of the exact same wine in a French oak barrel and an American oak barrel. Two days before, I didn't even know there was a difference! You could taste the distinction, and it was all yummy. 

Del Dotto (in Napa!) is a MUST visit!

Kenzo Estate

Kenzo Estate was on the very top of our list when we started planning our trip. The entire trip started because when we lived in McKinney, Austin was working on a project with Baken, Gillam, Kroeger. They are the architects behind many of the gorgeous wineries in Napa. We knew we wanted to visit at least one of the wineries they designed! When we started researching all their projects, they were all on the pricey end for tours. In the end we decided to visit Kenzo. We knew the architecture would be amazing and it did not disappoint.  

Austin was impressed with the sliding barn doors. 

We absolutely loved Kenzo. It is extremely exclusive, and they only take a handful of visitors a day. We had to pull up to a private gate, and they had to buzz us in upon arrival. If you would like to visit you should make reservation far in advance. Our tour ended up being private with only the 4 of us. Cameron was our guide and he spent 2 hours showing up around. It was quiet and picturesque. Kenzo was top notch and we highly suggest making a reservation. It was a splurge but in our opinion it was worth it. 

Gott's Grill 

After Kenzo we headed back down the mountain for lunch. We ate at Gott's Grill in Napa. It is right next door to Oxbow Market. 

 We ate at several really nice restaurants, but this lunch was one of my favorite meals of the entire trip! 

Domaine Carneros 

Our last stop of the day was Domaine Carneros. We had a reservation to sit outside on their patio. 

Domaine Carneros makes sparking wine. It was a great place to sit down to rest, and the view isn't a bad way to wrap up a day in Napa either. If you need a nice relaxing spot to end a day then make sure you visit Domaine Carneros. If you don't have time and don't love sparking wine then I would say skip it. (note: we ended up splitting a tasting here)

That wraps up our first three days of our trip! Come back tomorrow to see what we did the last 2 days! I'll give you a hint, there is more wine involved! I mean, when in Napa!!!!!! 

*All of the wineries we visited (except for Sterling) required reservations. 


  1. So, I know I'm supposed to be focusing on the wine, but HOLY FOOD! Dang! You ate some amazing stuff!

    1. YES!! The food was amazing! You would love the trip for the food alone! And just for future reference....there is a bouchon bakery in New York!!

    2. I was going to add a picture of my amazing salmon from Mustard Grill and it won't let me. :-(
      It was so good!

  2. I have been to a couple of wineries, but oh my gosh neither of them compare to these in Napa!! Napa Valley has always been on my list of places to visit. It looks incredibly beautiful and your trip looks like it was fantastic!! =)