United States
Napa County

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43 travelers at this place:

  • Day12

    The Wine Train

    September 10, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    The Wine Train is a relaxed, elegant day out. It is all very civilised and well organised. Several routes are run every day and passengers gather
    In large meeting room reminiscent of a sofa clad departure lounge. You are shown to your carriage according to your destination. The carriages are Pullman types mostly built around 1915. They have been lovingly and lavishly restored using mahogany panelling, brass accents, velveteen armchairs and the tables are beautifully laid ready for lunch. The train gently travels north through the Napa Valley, which in common with all the wine growing valleys we have seen all over the world, is hemmed in with mountain ranges, which together with the soil and climate help create the perfect conditions for growing grapes and making wine. Wineries line the train track and vines stretch as far as the eye can see. Probably the two most well known names here are Robert Mondavi and Grgich Hills and it was to the latter that the Wine Train delivered us. The first two courses were served before we arrived and the food was delicious. How the chefs produce food of that calibre on the move and in such cramped conditions is beyond me. A lively knowledgeable lady called Toni showed us around the winery, combining process with tasting in an action packed hour. We were lucky enough to have a fun and friendly group which added to the experience and the tasting continued on the return, together with the final two courses of our lunch. It was a fun day.
    Miljenko (Mike)Grgich is 96 years old and still checks on his operations daily. He came from Croatia as a young man, with a wine background and bringing with him the Zinfandel grape. Robert Mondavi employed Mike as a young winemaker and then he moved to the Montelena winery. It was whilst he was with Montelena that he created the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that beat the French at their own game, in the Paris Blind tasting competition in 1976 and put Napa Valley on the serious wine producing map. He later set up his own winery with his friend Austin Hills (of the Hills coffee family) and has been there ever since with continuing success. We tasted five wines. The Fume’ Blanc was great, Chardonnay iffy to me, but I’m no Chardonnay lover, Zinfandel yuk (horrible aftertaste on the tongue), good Merlot and a reserve Chardonnay, that has similarly won multiple awards and even I admit was really good.
    We plan to visit one or two other wineries tomorrow. Interestingly, there is quite a high charge at all the wineries for a tasting. There was talk today about the decrease in visitors to the wineries and all sorts of theories put forward as to why. In all the countries where we have visited wineries only once was a small charge made ( Cloudy Bay in New Zealand) and yet this was not mentioned as a possible cause. The minimum charge is $25 and can rise to $45. I would think this must be having an effect.
    This morning, after some housekeeping (haircut & the laundromat!), we set off for the Hess winery in the hills above Napa. This was recommended as an excellent winery, with lunch, a wine tasting and an interesting modern art collection to view. It was a glorious day and a beautiful drive up into the hills. On arrival, the winery was superbly set in gardens with modern sculpture dotted around; very much to our taste. However, on enquiry no lunch, despite the recommendation and information on the website, consequently no tasting, as we needed the food first. I do feel these wineries are missing a trick. The food doesn’t have to be in the Heston Blumenthal bracket, something a lot simpler would suffice and I feel it would attract and hold people. As a consequence, we ducked the wine tasting and went to view the modern art collection. Some was interesting and fabulous, some Peter felt he could have knocked off between main course and desert!
    To my total surprise in one gallery was an exhibition by the British Landscape artist Andy Goldsworth. Andy is much admired by me and others within the floral art world, due to his inspirational use of natural objects in his work. Born in Cheshire and now residing in Dumfries and Galloway, he was the last artist I would have expected to view in California. His pieces had clearly been executed in residence and were for me the stars of the show, although there were some fine pieces by Francis Bacon not to be ignored.
    We rather gave up on the wine tasting after that, as having rediscovered Wholefoods ( superb grocery store) and having devoured lunch we decided to peruse the very good outlet mall and stock up on some essentials. There was no jumping in and out of itinerant cars, but a certain waving about of the ubiquitous credit card.
    I must include a poster that I took a photograph of before leaving Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. California has a reputation of being a bit ‘out there and alternative’ in the rest of the US and this may partly explain why!
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  • Day305

    Autokauf in Napa

    August 10, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Jens geht auch während unserer Reise seinem Hobby nach und stöbert im Internet nach interessanten Autos. In der Nähe von San Francisco gibt es einige solcher Fahrzeuge und wir verabreden uns mit den Besitzern zweier Oldtimer.

    Der erste Wagen, den wir uns anschauen, ist ein Porsche 911 SC von 1979. Mit dem Modell kennt Jens sich ja schon ganz gut aus, denn so einen hatte er sich zum 34. Geburtstag gekauft. Das nun angeschaute Exemplar steht leider nicht ganz so gut da. Der Lack ist nicht mehr original und in einem schlechten Zustand. Das wäre ja noch zu regeln, aber es reihen sich viele Kleinigkeiten zu einem großen Berg Arbeit zusammen. Auch die Probefahrt war nicht ohne Probleme. Kaum aus der Hauseinfahrt gerollt, geht der Boxermotor aus und nicht mehr an. Ein schlechtes Omen! Nach der Starthilfe drehen wir dann einige Runden. Von diesem Wagen sind wir nicht überzeugt.

    Mit dem zweiten Wagen haben wir mehr Glück. Der Mercedes SL aus dem Jahre 1984 hat nur wenige Mängel. Wir nehmen ihn genau unter die Lupe. Der Lack hat im Laufe der Jahre gelitten aber ansonsten gibt es recht wenig auszusetzen. Das tolle ist, dass es sich um ein deutsches Modell handelt. Die in den USA verkauften SL wurden wegen der erforderlichen Crashsicherheit mit hässlichen, dickeren Stoßstangen und Rundscheinwerfern entfremdet. Dieser hier ist hingegen sehr hübsch anzusehen und Rost ist nicht zu finden. Die Probefahrt und der gute Erhaltungszustand des Oldies überzeugt uns und wir schlagen zu.

    Die Verschiffung nach Deutschland hatten wir vorab bereits gecheckt. Ein Dienstleister kümmert sich darum. Wir holen den Wagen einige Tage später beim Eigentümer ab und fahren ihn nach San Francisco zum Hafen. Von dort aus geht er auf ein Schiff nach Bremerhaven. Sobald er dort ankommt, wird er auf einem LKW nach Berlin in die Halle geliefert, in der wir bereits unsere anderen Autos eingemottet haben.
    Wir freuen uns schon auf das Wiedersehen und auf schöne Ausfahrten. Vielleicht nehmen wir ja mal an einer Oldtimerralley teil.
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  • Day11

    The Napa Valley

    September 9, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Yesterday, we travelled up from Yosemite to the Napa Valley; a long but uneventful drive. You could say we have moved from the spiritual to the spirit! Today we have explored the town of Napa itself, which is classic middle America, well presented, leafy and clean. It is only about an hour from San Francisco and consequently is a favourite for weekends. Two valleys lay side by side, Napa and Sonoma, both famous for their wines and there are certainly plenty of wineries to chose from. One interesting thing we have noticed since arriving here, is the proliferation of microbreweries and the production of local good quality beers, or so Peter tells me. This would have been unheard of thirty years ago when we first came to America. A gassy lager was the best you could hope for and now there are beer flights to accompany the wine version. We had supper tonight at the Stone Brewery, a large converted warehouse on the river, very atmospheric and with more draught beers on offer than you could shake a stick at.
    Our day tomorrow consists of a trip on the Napa Wine Train. A vintage well appointed train which serves a gourmet lunch whilst cruising the valley. We are to stop at one of the oldest wineries for a tour and a tasting. I’ll let you know how it goes.
    There was one incident of mirth worth mentioning this morning. We parked our car in a designated car park to go and investigate a couple of restaurants. On returning to the car Peter was ahead of me and I hopped into the car as usual and went to put my seat belt on. It took me a second or two to twig that my maps were not in the side pocket and the water bottles in the central console weren’t familiar. I looked up to find no Peter in the driver’s seat and realised that I had jumped into the wrong car! They were both dark grey identical SUVs - an easy mistake I keep telling myself. I’m simply relieved the car’s owner wasn’t in situ and embarrassing explanations could be avoided. My bad luck was that the identikit model had been left unlocked. I was out of there in no time and dashed to our own to find PL in fits of laughter as you can imagine. I will endeavour to behave tomorrow!
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  • Day58

    Vallée de Napa

    October 14, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    On part ce matin pour quitter le magnifique lac Tahoe, traverser Sacramento (la capitale de la Californie) et se rendre dans l'iconique vallée de Napa, près de San Francisco. On salue nos amis puis ont part. Le début du chemin est un peu différent d'hier parce qu'aujourd'hui il y a un marathon et la voie inverse (heureusement pour nous!) est bloquée. Ça nous permet d'arrêter à quelques points de vue sur le lac. En arrivant à Tahoe Valley, on continue sur la route vers Sacramento. Encore une fois, fiston fait dodo alors on en profite pour rouler! On a encore 2h30 à faire alors c'est parfait. Le paysage s'aplanie, la végétation se modifie aussi. On retourne aux plus petits arbres et aux couleurs jaunes. Les montagnes sont toujours visibles au loin dans un peu toutes les directions.

    On dépasse Sacramento (sans s'y arrêter) et on fait une pause pour mettre de l'essence, se dégourdir et dîner. Après un moment, on repart vers Napa. On arrive éventuellement dans la parité ville du même nom, à l'entrée de la vallée. C'est une charmante petite municipalité. Notre premier arrêt est le Oxbow Market, connu pour ses petits restaurants, boutiques et produits fins. C'est vraiment un bel endroit! On fait le tour et on se prend quelques trucs à grignoter. Nicolas prend une bière et Jessie un jus frais et on s'assied un moment dans l'espace bouffe.

    La journée file et on se décide à visiter un premier vignoble. La région de Napa compte plus de 300 vignobles alors le problème est surtout de décider lequel faire!! On utilise nos ressources (Lonely Planet et Google) puis on va finalement au Hess Collection. On a un peu de route à faire sur un petit chemin de campagne, montant dans la colline. On arrive sur place. C'est vraiment beau! Ici pas de vue sur la vallée mais le bâtiment comme tel est vraiment beau et chic à la fois. En plus d'être un vignoble avec une salle de dégustation et une boutique, c'est aussi une véritable galerie d'art! On fait donc la dégustation. Les vins sont très bons et on achète une bouteille de blanc, un délicieux pinot gris. Il reste encore un peu de temps avant la fermeture alors nous allons visiter la galerie. Très joli toutes ces œuvres d'art. Le bâtiment comme tel est vraiment beau aussi. Nous allons finir notre visite dans la cours avant de partir quelques minutes plus tard.

    Nous nous rendons dans la petite ville de Yountville. C'est complètement touristique comme endroit mais très joli! Plusieurs restaurants de cuisine française, des parcs et des petits boutiques. On trouve aussi un marché ici mais tout est plutôt tranquille à notre arrivée, étant donné l'heure tardive. Seuls les restaurants semblent avoir de l'affluence. Nous avons identifié un stationnement où nous pouvons passer la nuit en toute quiétude. On s'y installe et on sort faire une promenade dans les environs. On se dit qu'on ira le lendemain matin, ça sera plus intéressant! On revient donc au bercail pour souper et se mettre au lit.

    Le lendemain, il fait toujours soleil! On déjeune puis on sort. Définitivement, ce petit patelin est un incontournable dans la région! Nicolas se prend un bon café et on continue la marche. Après un moment, on retourne au camper avec pour objectif d'aller faire notre premier vignoble de la journée : Miner. L'endroit est bien et là nous avons une vue plus intéressante sur la vallée. On s'installe confortablement dans de bons divans sur le balcon et on vient nous porter nos verres de dégustation au fur et à mesure que nous les buvons! La belle vie quoi! Samuel se réveille et reste tranquillement avec nous à regarder aux alentours.

    On part ensuite pour un second vignoble, Mumm Napa. Vous connaissez sûrement, ils font du vin mousseux. Hummmm... On y arrive pas longtemps après, ce n'était qu'à 3 minutes de là. On prend une table et on se fait une petite dégustation de mousseux. C'était très bon mais on final nous n'achetons rien car juste trop dispendieux!! En plus on en a chez nous alors c'est moins spécial d'en acheter. De toute façon, le moment est fort agréable et la vue aussi. Nous allons visiter la petite galerie de photos puis nous partons. En route vers St-Helena, nous arrêtons dans un autre vignoble mais en arrivant sur place on s'aperçoit que ça prend un rendez-vous. Comme on fait semble-t-il une bonne vie, le préposé à l'accueil nous amène quand même dans un salon privé et nous donne une coupe de leur Cabernet Sauvignon. Il prend le temps de nous raconter l'histoire du vignoble, lequel a été fondé par un maître constructeur. Une autre personne est aussi venu nous servir de l'eau et en fait tout cela gratuitement! Ça donnerait le goût de revenir si nous n'habitions pas aussi loin!

    Après avoir pris quelques photos et avoir bien savouré le moment, on reprend la route... On s'arrête au village St-Helena. Il semble que cette petite ville y prête surtout au magasinage. Lequel on ne fait pas vraiment .... Mais on parcourt les rues en poussette et on s'arrête dîner à un mexicain. C'était très bon.

    Ensuite, on reprend notre route pour arrêter à deviner quoi. Un dernier vignoble!!! Mais celui qu'on voulait faire le plus car c'est en fait une reproduction d'un château en Italie: Castello di Amorosa. En plus de savourer de bons vins, nous explorons le château. C'est vraiment impressionnant. Nous adorons la visite. Le château a prit 30 ans à construire et le propriétaire a voulu que tout soit fait dans les règles de l'art, comme il y a 700-800 ans environs en Toscane. Et ça parait! On s'y croirait presque! Le bâtiment a 8 étages dont le 2/3 est sous terre. On y retrouve même des salles de torture! Nous n'avons pas pris le tour (il était trop tard) mais on a quand même pu accéder aux 2 premiers étages en plus d'une tour, ce qui donnait un très bon aperçu. Le salon de dégustation était au sous-sol. Nous y sommes allés après avoir visité ce que l'ont pouvait, mise à part la tour que nous nous gardions pour la fin. Les vins étaient très bons et généralement exclusifs au vignoble, dans le sens qu'on ne pouvait les trouver ailleurs qu'ici. C'est souvent le cas avec les vignobles, ce qui rend la dégustation d'autant plus intéressante. La jeune femme qui nous a fait la dégustation venait d'Argentine et parlait également un peu français!

    Au coucher du soleil, nous partons pour le camping de la nuit, situé à quelques minutes de là. Rien de bien grandiose mais nous ne comptions pas trop sortir de toute façon! L'idée était surtout de se reposer, après tout, nous avons fait une belle grosse journée, encore une fois!!
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  • Day11

    Napa Valley

    July 29, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Eerste dag van onze roadtrip, We missen de temperaturen van San Francisco al.. Dan maar weer afkoelen in 1 van de prachtige wijnhuizen. We hadden meteen de beste uitgekozen. Er zijn 4 wijnhuizen die schuimwijn maken ,tussen ongeveer 400 verschillende wijnhuizen, en wij hadden er 1 van uitgekozen.
    We hebben niet alleen aan de alcohol gezeten.. Nee hoor! We zijn ook naar de Old Faithful Geyser gaan kijken. Om de 10 min. spuit hij kokend heet water 20m de lucht in. Prachtig om te zien, alleen.. Veel te heet!
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  • Day2

    Mountains, Caves, Cars, and Gondolas

    March 24, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Woke up at 5:30am local time, and decided that was much too early, so we rolled over and slept another hour. We had a light breakfast delivered to the room, and then Laura headed to a pilates class at the resort. I drank another cup of coffee and then went to the gym to burn off yesterday's calories.

    We followed our workout with another one, hiking up the Oat Hill Mine trail. We saw some nice doggies on the way up and back down, which made us happy. Suitably tired, we had a quick lunch at the resort bar -- shared crab cakes, a seared yellowfin tuna burger for Laura, and Sole tacos for me.

    The resort has a pretty sweet perk -- three Mercedes-Benz that are free to rent for 4 hours. It was a nice sunny day, so we snagged the convertible and zoomed around.

    Next on the agenda was the Schramsberg champagne/cave-cellar tour, which might turn out to be the highlight of the trip. The tour itself was excellent -- the guide was knowledgeable, and the Schramsberg estate history and photos of bottles at presidential events were interesting. The cave cellars were a sight to behold -- thousands upon thousands of bottles stacked and held together by their own weight. The guide talked us through the riddling process (rotating bottles to get settlement into the neck of the bottle so it can be removed) before leading us to the tasting session -- the samples were all hits.

    We followed that tour with another, riding the Gondola up to Sterling Vineyards. The drive in to the estate and the ride up we're pretty great. The wines, pretty mediocre.

    Laura and I had a good time chuckling at the array of personalities on the tours, including a girl who remarked that the champagne smelled like gym socks (the tour guide graciously remarked that all palates are different and he got notes of fruit), a group of women who took at least 30 selfies in 15 seconds, and another group of middle-aged women drunkenly recounting their sorority days. We were very thankful we didn't have to ride back down in the same gondola with the last group.
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  • Day1

    Arrival in Napa Valley

    March 23, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Up bright and early, with minimal grumpiness. Left the hotel immediately to head to the park and ride to drop the car and jump on the train. Naturally, the blue line trains were stopped, so we waited until the CTA said it would be quite a while before they resumed and we gave up and called an Uber.

    Still made it to the airport with plenty of time for coffee and a quick bite. The flight was uneventful -- Laura schnoozed, and I tried but failed. We landed in SFO, grabbed a car, and started the drive north to Calistoga. We switched to have Laura drive after we got out of the city -- I managed to schnooze through a beautiful drive, I'm told.

    Got lucky that we were able to check in early, so we dropped our gear, took a quick power nap, showered, and then hopped on the bike to head to a drop in wine tasting at Chateau Montelena. We walked around the gardens, admiring the swans and ducks while we waited for our turn to head into wine room. The first Sauvignon Blanc was bright, tart, and delicious. The second Chardonnay was good, not my favorite style, but one of Laura's. A Pinot Noir followed that was a bit meh, but the showcase 2006 Cabernet was phenomenal. It was a choice between sweet and savory for the final wine. We elected to have the opposite of each other so we could share and try both. The sweet one was bleh, IMO, and the savory one meh. Still, it was good overall.

    Went to Goose & Gander for dinner one town over, where we shared a salad and a dry aged steak that was perfect after a day of lighter fare.

    Off to bed from there -- both wiped after a long day.
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  • Day7

    Napa valley wine tasting

    April 8, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    I booked an airbnb in Napa a few days ago just because I saw a really cheap one for the area. Afterwards reading up about it and talking with Evi and Hugo, we realised we probably would have been better off going to the neighbouring Sonoma region. Napa is the super famous, fancy and expensive wine region, while right next to it Sonoma has similar wines, but a more laid back atmosphere and about half the price (even one of the sommeliers in Napa itself tod us to go there instead) . But anyway the airbnb was booked, so it had to be Napa after all. We considered renting bikes, but Seamus wouldn't have wanted to drink that much even then (still trying to get his stomach to be normal again) so he just drove us around and I did most of the drinking. We chose an amazing time to visit, as 2 days after the torrential rain, the whole place was ridiculously green. Like greener than Scotland green. There were also all kinds of wild flowers growing here and there. So basically Napa valley is a 30 mile long valley, about 5 miles wide at its widest. The sorrounding hills are all covered in forests, and the valley itself is covered with grape plantations. There's 400-600 little vineyards all around, and all of them offer tastings. Unfortunately while about 10 years ago these used to be free, now they al charge a fee, which at "cheap" places start at 20 dollars from having a small tasting of 4 wines, but easily start from 40-50 at others. We still drove in to multiple wineries (even though we only consumed wine at 2 of them) as all of them have beautiful setup so it was always nice to stop and look around. In the middle of green wine fields, all the houses are beautiful (in a variety of styles, from super modern ones, to cute wood houses, to tuscan villas) they all have big terraces to hang out, try wines or have picnics. We did a tasting flight (that's what they call them apparently) at Black Stallion vineyard, where the sommelier's grandparents were Hungarian, so we bonded over his wish of visiting Hungary and his love of bikaver. Our favourite place was Honig vineyard, I could spend days sitting in their garden. The girls serving us were super friendly and we talked with them for a long time. One of the girls got married in Scotland, on the island of his "husband's clan" ! Here we managed to buy a half bottle of wine instead of the tasting, which was actually better value. They kept bringing out thoughtful stuff, like a cute book on the dogs of the area's vineyards, or just to check on us and chat. Even if the wine was expensive, the experience was definitely worth it for the day!Read more

  • Day7

    Going out in Napa town

    April 8, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    Our airbnb was in the suburb of Napa, about 2 miles from the town center. We decided to ignore our host's advice about taking an uber (thinking that she's just being American about it and thinks walking is unthinkable). In the end it took us about 40-50 minutes to get to the centre, as the town was really not designed to walk, so we had some quite difficult times trying to go around motorways (and not walking on them like Google suggested). Apart from the motorway problems it was a nice walk in typical American suburbia, which was interesting to see (once). In town we first had some frozen yogurt (trying out basically all of the possible flavours before buying some, basically doubling our consumption). Then we went to a bbq and wine bar, so finally Seamus could consume his own glass of wine. We didn't plan on eating anything originally, but everything smelled so amazingly smoky, that in the e d we ordered a smoked beef brisket sandwich and shared it, it was really delicious, and basically a perfect amount for the two of us.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Napa County, مقاطعة نابا, Напа, নাপা কাউন্টি, Comtat de Napa, Napa Valley, Kantono Napa, Condado de Napa, Napa maakond, Napa konderria, شهرستان ناپا، کالیفرنیا, Napan piirikunta, Comté de Napa, 納帕縣, נאפה, Napa megye, Նապա շրջան, Contea di Napa, ナパ郡, 나파 군, Napa Comitatus, Napa, Napa Kūn, Hrabstwo Napa, ناپا کاؤنٹی, Округ Напа, நாபா கவுன்ட்டி, ناپا کاؤنٹی، کیلیفورنیا, Quận Napa, Condado han Napa, 纳帕县

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