Wine Tasting in Napa Valley
We started our Saturday morning at Golden Haven Hot Springs Resort & Spa located in Calistoga
A few days before our departure, it was recommended to the ladies to eat healthy meals and drink lots of water! This would help prep our bodies for the mud baths! Remember, when it comes to wine tasting, you never have to finish your tastings. Pour bins are available, and you never have to think that you're insulting the winemaker by not completing. That's why it's called wine tasting! Swirl, sip and run the flavors through your mouth, then spit! What I loved most about our driver, Ms. Daisy was how accommodating she was. Whenever we needed to make a pit stop for snacks or restroom breaks, she never minded.
Important Note: You might be wondering, how did I do all of this research? I found an excellent website dedicated to wine tasting in Napa Valley. You can use their search filter and narrow down the wineries, based on your preference. Since I knew what the ladies liked, I picked each winery according to each person. I made sure that each winery selected, at least each person would have a favorite pick! Click here for their site.
Next, how did we figure out our driving situation?
I narrowed it down to three options:
1. You can drive your own personal car (if you are coming from somewhere nearby), or pick up a car rental at the airport and choose one of your friends or family members as a designated driver. We decided to use a car rental, and we picked it up from Enterprise at Oakland Airport and proceeded to our hotel in Napa Valley, then had Ms. Daisy pick us up in her SUV for our wine tasting excursion.
2. You can still rent a car, and once you arrive in Napa Valley, you can go to the same car rental company and add a designated driver for hire! I thought this was pretty neat. On the Napa Sonoma Wine Tasting Driver website, you have the option to add a driver for a small fee to the car rental, or you can have them use their car. We used Enterprise for our car rental to get us to Napa Valley from Oakland Airport, then had Ms. Daisy be our designated driver for the weekend in her SUV.
3. You can hire a driver directly from Napa Sonoma Wine Tasting Driver. The site does require a deposit, and once you book the driver, you'll get an email or text from them, and they will work out the details with you. Our driver, Ms. Daisy, offered to book our tastings, but we told her that we already knew the wineries that we wanted to visit, so we emailed her our itinerary before arrival. The drivers are pretty impressive, so even if you decide to wing it once you arrive, they can always plan it out for you. Either way, it's your choice!
Insider tip: Whenever you find yourself dealing with large groups, an itinerary is a must! I like having things planned with large groups in advance because it gives people time to give back their feedback, as well as keeping the team together. Below, is a sample itinerary that was sent to the ladies a few weeks before our departure for their review:
6:05 AM Depart SeaTac Airport
8:05 AM Arrive at Oakland Airport & pick up car rental
9:30 AM Arrive in Napa Valley & pit stop to Oxbow Public Market
10:30 AM Drop luggage off at Hotel and have an early lunch
12:00 PM Depart for wine tasting
We’ll be picked up by a personal driver to take us on (approx. 6 hours) an excursion through Napa Valley for wine tasting and pairings.
6:00 PM Arrive back at Hotel
7:30 PM Depart for dinner at Oenotri
7:00 AM Depart for Golden Haven Hot Springs Resort & Spa
Mud Bath, Hot Springs Mineral Jacuzzi, and Blanket Wrap (approx. 1 hours), after the treatment we’ll be able to enjoy the pool and jacuzzi. The resort is pretty good at dealing with large groups. Once you have decided on the spa package that each person wants to have done, they will send a PayPal link, and you can have each person submit their payment (if you decide to pay separately). I call this efficiency! I recommend booking your spa appointments at least two months in advance.
11:00 AM Depart from Golden Haven Hot Springs Resort & Spa to Hotel
12:00 PM Depart from Hotel for wine tasting
We’ll be picked up by a personal driver to take us for the rest of the afternoon (approx. 6 hours) on an excursion through Napa Valley for wine tasting and pairings.
6:00 PM Arrive back at Hotel
7:30 PM Depart for Birthday Dinner & Celebration at Celadon
11:30 AM Check out of Hotel
12:00 PM Brunch at Tarla Mediterranean Bar & Grill
2:30 PM Depart in Car Rental From Napa Valley to Oakland Airport
6:30 PM Depart Oakland Airport to Sea-Tac
12:00 PM Darioush Winery, Napa Valley
1:30 PM Cliff Lede Winery, Napa Valley
3:00 PM Hill Family Estate, Yountville
4:00 PM Domaine Chandon, Yountville
12:00 PM Rutherford Hill Winery, Rutherford
4:30 PM Domaine Carneros, Napa Valley
Accommodation: Embassy Suite Napa Valley, California
This place is pretty impressive and here is why. First off, they offer a complimentary daily happy hour, all types of appetizers, tea, coffee, soft drinks, mixed drinks and of course wine, and breakfast. I will say, for being the one person in the group with dietary restrictions, i.e., gluten-free, no red meat or dairy, I was able to enjoy myself when it came to food at this hotel.
All and all, our girls trip to Napa Valley got done on the weekend, and it was awesome! The two things that I would highly recommend, a private driver (no drinking and driving)! You don't want to risk a DUI and be booked in county jail for the weekend, because that would suck. Secondly, book all wineries in advance!