Hazy light filters through rows of grapes in a Napa valley vineyard.

Napa Valley vineyards. Photo © Aurimas, licensed Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives

What better way to spend a long weekend in the Wine Country than by experiencing the best champagne, food, and pampering that the Napa and Sonoma Valleys have to offer? This long weekend illustrates the diversity and hedonism of Wine Country.

Depending on what time your day gets started, there are plenty of opportunities to stop in at additional wineries. Alternatively, cut out a few wineries from the itinerary and spend more time soaking up the atmosphere—or in a mud bath.

Day 1

Start your day in the Sonoma Plaza. Grab a cup of coffee, a pastry, and some picnic supplies at the Basque Boulangerie Café, then take the morning to stroll through the Sonoma Mission and the other historic sights of the Sonoma State Historic Park. Venture over to Gundlach Bundschu Winery, where history is paired with Bordeaux- and burgundy-style blends. Either plant yourself at one of the picnic tables on the estate’s plentiful grounds or take your supplies up the Sonoma Overlook Trail and enjoy the view over lunch.

Next, venture up Highway 12 to Glen Ellen. Hop aboard the tram at the Benziger Family Winery for a tour of the beautiful biodynamic winery. Finish with a tasting, then wander over to the nearby Jack London State Historic Parkfor a stroll in the late afternoon. A relaxing sit-down tasting at the café-like Audelssa Estate Winery is the perfect prelude for a dinner at the Glen Ellen Star. Stay the night in Sonoma.

Day 2

Drive over to Napa, and breakfast at one of Oxbow Public Market’s many eateries, perhaps picking up snacks for the road. Continue east and jump aboard the winding, two-lane Silverado Trail. Stop in at the famous Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars for some equally famous cabernet sauvignon, or venture to organic champion Robert Sinskey Vineyards, before retiring for lunch with a glass of bubbly at Domaine Chandon’s Étoile. After lunch, stop in at Frog’s Leap Winery or opt for the impressive cave tour at Rutherford Hill Winery, followed by a bottle of its fine merlot or sauvignon blanc on its expansive picnic grounds. Finish the day with a sunset dinner overlooking the valley at the Auberge du Soleil resort, high up in the hills. Stay in St. Helena.

Day 3

Coffee and pastries at the Model Bakery begins the day in St. Helena. Spend the morning browsing the town’s many shops and galleries before heading down to Velo Vino. When you have finish your tasting, the folks behind the bar will be happy to pull you a shot of espresso as you head on your way. Grab picnic supplies at Dean & Deluca and venture up to St. Clement Vineyards for a picnic lunch on its patio paired with a lush cabernet, or over to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, where lunch beneath the redwoods begs for a hike. You may also enjoy the quietude of the mountains by booking a tasting at one of the historic Diamond Mountain wineries: For velvety cabernets visit Von Strasser Winery, and for a president-worthy blanc de blanc, see Schramsberg Vineyards.

Next, it’s time for some pampering, Calistoga-style. Drive north for your appointment for a couple’s restorative mud bath at the Lincoln Avenue Spa. Since it’s a wine-themed weekend, choose the antioxidant-laden mud containing wine, grape-seed oil, and green tea. Fully relaxed, stop in at Up Valley Vintners to sample wine from some of the northern valley’s smaller wineries. Finally, end your weekend at the Michelin-starred Solbar. Try getting a table on the expansive patio alongside its floating fireplace.

Color travel map of Napa & Sonoma, California

Napa & Sonoma


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Napa & Sonoma.