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Wine Down in Napa & Adventure in Tahoe

Every August, Jimmy and I go away for about a week.  Two years ago was Charleston/Kiawah Island and last year was Colorado.  This year, we decided to go to Napa Valley & Tahoe!  Although I did only go to Napa back in February when I stayed in San Francisco, there is so much to do there so we thought, why not go back!  Jimmy’s friend currently lives in South Lake Tahoe so we thought we would make a trip out of visiting him as well.  So if you’re looking for a trip with both leisure and adventure, this is it!

Day 1:

Our flight landed at 10am CA time so it was perfect to have the whole day ahead of us! We rented a car for the trip so we took a scenic drive to Napa.  We of course had to stop at the Golden Gate Bridge for some coffee & pics before driving to Sausalito for lunch.  It is a such beautiful city that we wish we could have explored more, next time! We ate at Barrel House Tavern and indulged in tacos, a salad & a couple beers since we knew we’d be having wine from here on out!  We then drove to our home for the next two nights, Hotel Senza! We did a quick check in to change into a nicer outfit.  I threw on a light midi dress and we headed to our first wine tasting appointment via uber: Duckhorn! We love Decoy which is made by Duckhorn so we were pretty excited about visiting! We paid $45/pp and received about 7 wine tastings and complimentary olives!  Just a heads up, the tastings in Napa are quite generous so water and snacks are key. We had a great server and an awesome time! We jumped in our uber and went onto our next apt: Charles Krug. Not only is it the oldest winery in Napa, but it is certainly one of the prettiest as well. We also paid $45/pp but was only able to taste 4 wines at their tasting.  We had to make apts for Duckhorn and Charles Krug in advance just a heads up! A lot of wineries only take reservations and do not accept walk ins. Since we were in the St. Helena area, we ate dinner right near the wineries at the Long Meadow Ranch, which was one of our favorite meals! We ate outside where our table was surrounded by greenery making it a little private.  We started with a few apps including the amazing cheddar biscuits, arugula salad & burrata. The portions were pretty big so we were able to split them all as a meal and were even able to leave a tiny bit of room for dessert. The beignets were so delicious and even made great leftovers for breakfast the next day 🙂 We were pretty tired at the end of the day so we headed back to the hotel where we relaxed in the hot tub a little before getting some rest!

Day 2:

Senza Hotel includes breakfast in their stay so that was super convenient before starting our wine tour the next day!  Since we did two bigger wineries on the first day, we wanted to check out some of the smaller homegrown wineries. We heard a lot of great things about Platypus Wine Tours and decided to give it a try.  I put on a jumpsuit from Gap and grabbed a jean jacket since it was only 55 degrees in the morning and goes up to 80 degrees in the afternoon! We were picked up at 10:30am by our tour guide Steve in a small bus along with 4 other couples so there were 10 of us total – a perfect amount!  We paid $110/pp and were brought to four different wineries. There was a $15/pp wine tasting fee at each winery however they all had deals that if you bought a bottle of wine or two, your tasting fee was cancelled out. It was a perfect deal and we got a case of wine out of it that we were able to ship back home!

Our first winery was Varossa Winery where we were greeted by the cutest little gsp puppies Olive & Lucy!  We toured the land a little before heading into the barn where we tasted their finest wines. The winery had only been open for a couple months after closing for a few decades and it was so amazing to see all the progress they made.  Steve, our tour guide, was nice enough to have a cheese and cracker spread for us to munch on going from winery to winery which was a savior! Our second stop was Tudal Winery which was one of my favorite! Not only do they grow grapes, but they grow fruit, vegetables and herbs so the entire winery was filled with greenery.  After learning about their tricks of the trade, we sat down at a beautiful outdoor dining table for some wine tasting and lunch provided by the tour. Our next stop was Hans Fahden which was such a gorgeous view that it even hosts weddings and dinner parties! After strolling aronud outside, we were taken into a secret cave and continued our wine tasting in adirondack chairs which was so awesome.  Our last stop of the tour was Fairwinds. By this time, I was ready for a nap but the wine was too good to pass up! After our tasting, we strolled their wine caves which kept hundreds of barrels.  We highly recommend Platypus if you’re looking for a tour in Napa – it was the best decision we made!

After getting back to the hotel, we changed into warmer clothes since it was getting chilly again and headed to Sky and Vine rooftop at the Archer Hotel for sunset drinks (the Intersection and Elixir were amazing)! We were able to grab last minute reservations at Bottega, which is one of the few michelin star restaurants in the cute town of Yountville.  Everything we had was delicious from the bread dipped in parmesan, garlic, olive oil, butter and parsley to the gnocchi that tasted like warm soft pillows (actually what they called them).

Day 3:

We packed up early and grabbed some breakfast at Boon Fly Cafe before starting on our road trip to South Lake Tahoe to visit Jimmy’s friend.  We filled up on coffee and donuts to start (best decision all day) and I ordered the breakfast burrito that was bigger than my head but probably the best one I’ve ever had! Thankfully, Jimmy helped me eat a lot of it!  We drove to Tahoe in about 3 hours and lounged around a little before going to the top of the mountain to see the beautiful lake and view. We ended the night Edgewood for outdoor dinner and drinks with a sunset view that was to die for.  The wings and sweet potato tater tots are actual heaven in case you just need a snack 🙂

Day 4:

The boys fished for most of the morning and early afternoon while I read a book and enjoyed the scenery.  After a few hours, we grabbed sandwiches, brews and moscow mules in a can at a nearby cafe for lunch!  We made our way towards a hiking trail that led all the way up to Round Top Lake. It was definitely worth the struggle, especially since it’s harder to breathe out there with the elevation.  The boys did a little more fishing and then we headed back down since it started to get late. The temperature is so crazy there that one moment you could be hot and sweating and the next you would be freezing that you need a sweater so layers are key!  We had about a 40 min drive back to the apartment where we quickly showered and had a late night dinner at The Brewery at Lake Tahoe. We probably could have just eaten the artichoke spinach dip since it came in a giant loaf of garlic bread but we forced ourselves to eat a couple actual meals as well.

Day 5:

We started another day with the boys fishing then headed back to the apartment to pack things up before grabbing lunch at Beach House which was right on the lake.  We both had the fish and chips and shared parmesan garlic fries YUM. We then started our road trip around the lake where the next view was even better than the last.  We didn’t have time to do much of anything since we were flying that night but I would have loved to go out on Lake Tahoe – maybe next time!

We were able to do so much in such a short amount of time and it felt like we were there forever!  If you choose to a trip exploring both Napa & Tahoe or just one, you’ll be sure to have a great time!

xo A