• An "Innsider's" View of Napa Valley

A Perfect Day Wine Tasting, January

Another installment in the series about putting together a perfect day in the Napa Valley.


I had a girlfriend visiting and we thought it would be nice to get away and spend some time – just the two of us. We knew we only had a few hours to hit the wineries and we wanted to hit a few places off the beaten path. It was sprinkling but the weather was actually pleasant and not windy or cold.

11:00 am

With a beautiful new tasting room – this winery is a fantastic place to take a group of friends and walk around. Etude is also home to one of my favorite pinot’s. They have a wonderfully friendly tasting room staff and were happy to answer our dozens of questions. Try their food and wine pairing for an extra treat! I need to go back and do a full tour…

11:45 am
Rubicon Estate

Formerly the Inglenook Winery and Niebaum Coppola, Rubicon is one of the most beautiful historic wineries in the Napa Valley. I know I’ve included this one before but this time we skipped the tour and just did the Coppola Tasting. How did I not know about this before? You’re ushered into a very posh private area and are assigned to your own table (ask for one of the bench seats). A server brings you an array of wines to taste and they are paired with local cheeses and bread. It was a very relaxing and comfortable way to taste Rubicon’s high-end wines. Before we knew it we’d been there for almost two hours and we had to dash off to the next place. We left with several bottles and it was well worth the $50 tasting fee.

Pina Napa Valley

We planned to go to lunch but were full of stuffing ourselves with cheese and bread – and we were pushed for time – so we headed to Pina a bit early. This place is tiny…and by tiny I mean the bar you taste at can only fit about 3 people. It’s a small, locally owned and operated winery that features some of my favorite red wines. The tasting room is in the middle of their actual operations inside the winery. Their family history is truly amazing and they have been here since the mid 1800′s. If you want to see what it’s really like behind closed doors – head here. An unexpected surprise was their delightful Chardonnay that I didn’t even know they offered! Pina is so small that it’s by appointment only, but they are really accommodating if you just call a few minutes ahead and they aren’t too busy.

Frogs Leap

Our last stop of the day was at Frog’s Leap. Their patio is available year-round and it overlooks their garden and vineyards. A spectacular view, it’s a great stop to sit outside with a good friend and relax. Their staff is friendly but unobtrusive – only interrupting for some friendly chatting or to bring your next taste of wine. They were also very flexible with our requests to switch out certain wines on our tasting list to others they had open. It was a perfect ending to our day. Tasting fees are $20 per person.

A quick day – but still a perfect one in the Napa Valley.

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