Taking off to Napa, I had no idea of what to expect. For some reason the acronym ROYGBIV had been stuck in my head for a couple of days before I left for this trip, so I decided to go with that and find my ROYGBIV inspiration in Napa. Honestly, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The prime colors in this area are all earth based: clay browns, stone grays, rusty metal reds, and an abundance of olive greens and purple grapes. Everything is bleached by the sun and dusted by the soil, so finding vibrant rainbow colors was challenging. I persevered though, and share with you my rainbow hued memories.
Miles of French oak wine barrels at Cakebread Cellars.
I loved walking around the quiet residential streets of St Helena, off the main highway thoroughfare that many of the tasting rooms are located off of. There were great examples of every different style imaginable from Spanish Mission, Cottage Bungalow, Mid-Century Ranch to cutting edge modern. This modernized farmhouse was one of my favorites, complete with a front lawn bocce court.
No shortage of vintage trucks still working the fields.
The gorgeous gardens and back patio at Brix Restaurant. The amazing array of outdoor patio areas gave me so many ideas for my impending backyard project, it's not even funny! The bar has been raised high, I just have to check in with the reality of maintaining these lovely outdoor rooms...
A beautiful pool set into the olive and wine groves at Black Stallion winery, see what I mean about a high bar?
Colorful olive oil bottles at Dean and Deluca. This stuff wasn't local , but I couldn't resist that color! The local olive oil, though, is delicious - eat up!
Seems fitting to end on violet, for as far as your eye could see were purple grapes loading down the vines. The harvest is only weeks away, so there was a general feeling of anticipation everywhere you went for a culmination of a great growing season, despite the state's drought. I learned a ton about what it takes to make wine, tasted some fabulous varieties, saw breathtaking countrysides and the food, wow - I just can't say enough about it! Here's my top choices if you're heading that way:
Wineries to visit:
- Sequoia Grove :: small with a great, welcoming ambiance
- Sullivan Winery :: contemporary redwood and copper with a beautiful courtyard
- Vine Cliff Winery :: ledge vines with an amazing barrell cave
- Cakebread Cellars :: modern woody farm buildings with a great story
- Hall Winery :: over the top modern building with large scale art inside and out
Places to eat:
- Goose and Gander :: great cellar bar and outdoor patio
- Farmstead :: the onsite farm drives everything they serve
- Tra Vigna :: great italian dishes and a generous patio
- Brix :: some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces I've seen
- Auberge du Soleil :: treetop setting overlooking the valley, decadent desserts