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Sharing our July Itinerary

Louisiana
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Sharing our July Itinerary

Hi everyone! This will be our 4th trip to Napa Valley next month, and we will be traveling with our friends for their first visit. We tend to lean more toward unique experiences, small scale wineries, and things we can't easily purchase back home. We are also members of 3 wine clubs, so we are definitely visiting those wineries and hope to find another good fit while we are here! This trip is pretty quick as compared to our normal experiences where we stay and play a while.

I find Tripadvisor to be invaluable when planning our trips, so I thought it would only be fair to share our itinerary in hopes that it will help someone else. Enjoy!

7/18

Arrive in Sacramento

Late afternoon tasting at Hall or Raymond once we arrive in Napa (no reservations - hoping all goes well with our flights with no delays!)

Check in to Rancho Caymus Inn (looks quite lovely after the renovations!)

Dinner @ Mustard's Grill

7/19

10am tasting @ Amizetta

Lunch at Oxbow Market

1:30pm tasting @ Biale

Possible drop in at Judd's Hill

4pm tasting @ Elyse (wine club members)

Dinner - take-out from LaLuna Market & Taqueria to enjoy by the pool for the evening

7/20 - Heading over to Sonoma

10am tasting @ Pride Mountain (couldn't book the summit)

Noon tasting w/ picnic lunch @ DeLoach (wine club members - cashing in points!)

Possible stop at Benovia

3:30pm tasting @ Dutcher Crossing (wine club members)

Tour grounds at Coppola

Dinner at Brix

7/21

View grounds at Castello di Amorosa

11am Chef Bites tasting @ Brian Arden

1:30pm tour & tasting @ Schramsberg

Possible stop at Prager Port

Sunset Wine Pairing Dinner @ Jamieson Ranch (with the winemaker - what a way to end our trip!)

Drive to SMF and fly home just after midnight

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Napa Valley
Napa Valley
California
Sacramento
Sacramento
California
Napa
Napa
Napa Valley, CA
Rancho Caymus Inn
Rancho Caymus Inn
115 Reviews
Rutherford, CA
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
Brix
Brix
992 Reviews
Napa, CA
10 replies to this topic
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1. Re: Sharing our July Itinerary

Sounds very well thought out! You are sure to have a very successful trip! 🍷

Louisiana
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38 posts
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2. Re: Sharing our July Itinerary

Thank you!

One update... I was able to secure a Bouchon reservation for dinner in place of Mustard’s. Thanks to the food fairies for shining some love on us, we will finally get to dine there!

Louisiana
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3. Re: Sharing our July Itinerary

A few thoughts after our first day!

First off, yay for no travel issues! We made it in time to stop by Hess before checking in to our hotel. Hess was enjoyable! The drive up was not too bad, the tasting with Gus was great, and the art museum was rather extensive and interesting. Very eclectic. We bought 6 bottles and two tasting fees were waived. I definitely recommend!

Our hotel is the newly renovated Rancho Caymus Inn. I am shocked this place isn’t charging double what we paid. It is just beautiful! The room amenities are top notch, rooms themselves are beautiful, and a nice breakfast is included. We upgraded to the premium king room, which comes with added living room area. So worth it! Best of all, LaLuna is across the street. Wine tastings by the outdoor fireplace Thurs - Sat evenings. Can’t say enough good things.

Dinner at Bouchon was delicious, but the service from our waitress was really poor. There was a couple next to us who ordered pretty much every fancy thing possible, giving themselves about 8 different courses, drinks galore, dessert,.... and we felt like stepchildren as our same waitress almost ignored us. She never asked for our drink orders. We stopped her and offered that we needed cocktails. Things came out very slowly, all the while we watch the couple next to us living it up. Again, when our drinks were empty but we are eating entrees, she wouldn’t even turn to us as she addressed the other table. This guy had to be someone special that we didn’t recognize because she was bending over backwards to please them. She finally checked on us as we were almost done eating and asked if we needed anything else. This was maybe the third time this evening that she spoke to us. I told her no, that we would’ve loved drink refills when our food arrived, but it was a little late now. I told her we felt like our service had not been good. I have to hand it to her. She told the managers who quickly came to us very apologetic. They wanted to make it right for sure and gave us pastries from the bakery to take with us. We were just over it at that point! Thankfully the food was delicious. They also didn’t make us feel like we were crazy for being unhappy with the service. They owned it.

Last comment for now.... the construction on Hwy 29 at night is just awful! All in front of Mondavi, they shut it down to one lane for a very long distance. Both ways we were stuck sitting and waiting about 15-20 min for them to let our side go. I don’t know what time they start shutting it down, but by 7pm it was already way backed up. We will stick to the Silverado trail in the evenings!

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Rancho Caymus Inn
Rancho Caymus Inn
115 Reviews
Rutherford, CA
Silverado Resort and Spa
Silverado Resort and Spa
4,280 Reviews
Napa, CA
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1,007 reviews
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4. Re: Sharing our July Itinerary

I enjoyed your report... too bad about your meal at Bouchon. We had a very positive experience there. That was good you expressed your concerns and they were addressed. 🍷

St. Helena...
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5. Re: Sharing our July Itinerary

Thank you very much for posting about the construction in Oakville on Hwy 29. I've been caught in it too a couple times, after 11pm (40 minutes!) and also at about 6pm (15 mins). I checked the CalTrans project site and it only warns about overnight lane closures, but as we both experienced, it can happen whenever they please, evidently.

Suggest that visitors check the local traffic map for current conditions - zoom in on Oakville:

localconditions.com/weather-napa-california/…

Thanks again for adding this to your travel report!

Louisiana
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6. Re: Sharing our July Itinerary

Amizetta far exceeded our expectations! The view was breathtaking, and the wine was divine. We joined their wine club and look forward to enjoying more and visiting again in the future. It had such a welcoming feel. We met the owner and one of the sons who now helps run the business and serves as winemaker. It’s safe to say, we felt like family there. Our host Roscoe was awesome! We sampled a future reserve cab straight from the barrel and will receive the final product in our wine club shipment.

Lunch at Oxbow was perfect. It’s a great way to meet make different taste buds happy!

Blake was good but not great. Our host Tom was a dry, interesting character. I guess I expected more from the experience, but it was a solid tasting in a vineyard setting. No complaints.

Elyse has certainly grown since our first tasting there 11 years ago! Our host was taking on 3 different tastings between the patio and indoor bar, so it didn’t feel as low key as In the last. We’ve been in that wine club and are so happy to have helped contribute to their growth. I do miss the more intimate tasting experience, but the wine continues to speak for itself. We love Elyse!

Louisiana
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7. Re: Sharing our July Itinerary

Our final thoughts from the rest of our trip:

Pride Mountain - book it! We couldn’t get the summit experience and in no way felt like we were on the cheaper tour. We had a great host who gave us lots of insight into their winery and production. They have a cool story for sure with half of the winery in Napa and half in Sonoma. The caves are massive. We tasted bottles and a future in the caves while wandering through. One $30 tasting fee waived for every two bottles, so we happily cashed in on that deal and took home their divine wines! They’ve got a good thing going up there.

DeLoach - we cashed in our wine club points for a nice picnic experience with any wine choice for us and our guests. Their grounds are nice with the gardens and newer tasting room. It’s a good solid tasting with some nice photo ops, including a fun wall of frames in the garden area and a few live animals.

Truest Hurst - we had some time to kill and they were kind enough to let us buy a bottle to enjoy by the river. I love their light wines, and it was a nice place to rest and hang out in the red adirondacks. They said these are now usually reserved for wine club members, but it was a weekday... thank you, Truett Hurst! We bought more to take with us too.

Dutcher Crossing -we had our seated wine club member tasting. These are some of our favorite zins. We loved checking in and tasting some new pours. Great covered setting out near the vines. We feel like family when we go there and recommend them if you’re in the area!

Mustard’s dinner - no complaints! Good service and yummy food. Glad we were able to fit it in!

Brian Arden - we booked the chef bites tasting. No joke, this chef knows what he’s doing! This was a full on meal, and everything was delicious. The wines were even tastier! The place oozes with freshness and love (even romance! There is a definite love story told here and Brian doesn’t hide it.). Brian came in to say hi while we were dining. We couldn’t get enough and joined the club. I’m happy to be on the front end of this winery because they will be around for a while. Book the chef bites!!

Schramsberg - I’ve looked forward to visiting there for a while, but it felt very stale as compared to some of our other experiences. The caves were really cool with all the bottles. Our host was.... interesting. We felt rushed through the tasting and were out the door within 1hr, tour included. Kinda bummed but glad we had an old school tour. Would not do it again.

Jamieson Ranch - the sunset dinner was a lovely ending! It was great to have a sit down dinner with the winemaker. She told stories and explained things as we went along. The food was good, wines were decent, and overall we were pleased. They sent us home with a cute bag of goodies, which was lovely.

We said goodbye and took a red eye back home. Until next time, Napa!!

Mentioned in this post
Napa
Napa
Napa Valley, CA
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
St. Helena...
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for Napa Valley
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8. Re: Sharing our July Itinerary

Thank you very much for your thoughtful and detailed trip reports!

Boston, MA
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9. Re: Sharing our July Itinerary

I loved reading your trip reports and I’m sure they will be helpful for anyone planning a trip. We, too, did the Pride Mountain tour when we visited last month and it was a highlight of our trip.

Cleveland, OH
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10. Re: Sharing our July Itinerary

I also appreciated your trip report and hope to use some of your ideas for 'next time.' Interesting about Schramsburg, because it seems to be the darling of these forums. Personally, we had a very so-so experience at Pride, so I would never recommend it. I guess the host can really make or break one's experience.

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