10 lust-worthy hot spots to hit on your next Wine Country adventure.
1. Relax River Side
Wake up on the riverfront at Milliken Creek Inn. This rambling house of a boutique hotel sits a few miles out of town, along the Napa River. The luxury accommodations overflow with Wine Country comfy. In the morning, throw open the French doors and stroll the gardens, or order room service and enjoy it on your patio, overlooking the water. 1815 Silverado Trail, (707) 255-1197, millikencreekinn.com.
2. Sip in a Greenhouse
Taste fine wine and nibble from small plates while in a greenhouse tasting room at the St. Clair Brown Winery restaurant.
Executive chef Norma Whitt pulls inspiration for her menu from the accompanying garden, planted by Peter Jacobsen, a garden consultant for The French Laundry. A recent harvest featured Asian pear, kale, chicory, and purslane, all used in the farro and Rancho Gordo bean red quinoa salad (with rosé- pickled pomegranate seeds).
On tap are nine St. Clair Brown wines, all grown in Napa Valley. Sip them by the flight, half-bottle, or glass—or go for the beer brewed on the premises. 850 Vallejo St., (707) 255-5591, stclairbrownwinery.com.
3. Try Sweet and Savory Sandwiches
Waffle sandwiches are the thing at Melted, where pastrami, melted blue cheese, and sauerkraut—or vegan cheese and seasonal market veggies—are served between “slices” of golden waffles. Consider pairing one with a bowl of tomato soup.
Or go for a dessert waffle sandwich with mascarpone cheese, honey, and dark chocolate. 966 Pearl St.,
4. Seek out Sculptures
Download a map of the Napa Artwalk to discover downtown by foot. The route takes you to 15 alfresco sculptures throughout the city, each of which reflects the theme of metamorphosis. Apropos for the ever-evolving downtown Napa scene. napaartwalk.org.
5. Renew Yourself
Book time at The Spa at Napa River Inn, a tiny but charming new day spa run by one of Wine Country’s top spa professionals, Jeanette O’Gallagher. We love the antioxidant facial, Lavender Glow, and the sweet honey rose wrap. While you’re there, pick up a bottle of Grape Seed Crush Body Scrub, one of O'Gallagher’s luxurious body butters from her line, NV Organics. She owns her own mill, and developed an exclusive method to mill grape seeds to preserve the oil and antioxidants. nvorganics.net; 500 Main St. (707) 265-7537, napariverinn.com/spa.
6. Sample Olive Oils
Drop in for an impromptu tasting at the Lucero Olive Oil tasting room. Lucero is a family-owned producer that makes a variety of extra virgin olive oils and oils infused with Meyer lemon, mandarin orange, and rosemary.
Or try some of Lucero’s line of vinegars, tapenades, and mustards. Tip: Ask for the mini ice-cream sundae topped with EVOO or vinegar for a tasty treat. 1012 First St., (707) 255-4645, lucerooliveoil.com.
7. Try the Flight of your Life
1313 Main has an extensive by-the-glass program, pouring 60 wines. The Flight of Your Life allows visitors to taste Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru, Château Pétrus, and Colgin IX—without having to buy a bottle. The flight will cost you a cool $300, but these wines are rarely—if ever—offered by the glass. It’s all made possible by a new gadget called the Coravin, which accesses wine without removing the cork.
“Our focus is the notion of affordable luxury,” says restaurant director Jordan Nova. 1313 Main St., (707) 258-1313
8. Hit the Market
Sure, you’ve been to Oxbow Public Market for a lovely lunch of oysters on the half shell at Hog Island Oyster Company or to snag tomorrow’s breakfast from The Model Bakery. But locals also love:
Napa Valley Distillery for tasting handcrafted bitters. Another favorite at the distillery is the Napa Valley Vintage Reserve vodka, a rare spirit made from local sauvignon blanc grapes. The distillery’s newest spirit, Old Hollywood Gin, is made by infusing the botanicals in the gin. 610 First St., (707) 226-9269, napadistillery.com.
Whole Spice is rich with jars of fragrant and exotic spices, from blood orange peel granules to smoked sea salt. The zhug blend is great in olive oil, and the Napa Valley rub is perfect for grilling chicken, lamb, or steaks. 610 First St., (707) 256-0700, wholespice.com.
The Poor House offers an eclectic mix of Wine Country tableware, linens, and furniture in a boutique setting. 610 First St., 1046 Mckinstry St., (707) 294-2066, poorhousenapa.com.
Cate & Co. is the place to go for a gluten-free carb fix, especially its scrumptious cinnamon rolls. This sandwich and bakeshop is the brainchild of Catherine Bergen, who also owns the C Casa taco stand at Oxbow. 610 First St. (707) 226-1940, oxbowpublicmarket.com/mer chants/cate-co.
Anette’s Chocolates shows off delicacies that are house-made in downtown Napa. 610 First St., (707) 252-4228
9. Catch Dinner and a Show
The hottest thing happening in town is the debut of City Winery Napa. With locations also in New York and Chicago, City Winery is a hot place for revelers to wine and dine while catching a show.
The restored Napa Valley Opera House has long been a favorite stop for intimate concerts. Now that City Winery is in charge, it just got a lot cooler. Summer highlights include 10,000 Maniacs and Al Stewart. 1030 Main St. (707) 260-1600, citywinery.com/napa.
10. Pull up the Sheets
Grab a large suite at the Westin Verasa, just a stroll from downtown. We love the pool and bocce courts. But the real reason to stay here is the Michelin-starred restaurant, La Toque, run by chef Ken Frank. Not only do we crave going there for a sumptuous, multicourse, wine-paired dinner, but Frank oversees all of the hotel’s menus, so your breakfast and lunch and room service will be just as divine as dinner. 1314 Mckinstry St., (707) 257-1800, westinnapa.com.