One of my favorite destinations on our trip to California was Napa Valley. This is the second time I have visited Napa and it will definitely not be my last. There are many cities to visit within Napa county but our destination for the day was St. Helena. It is home to one of my favorite places, Beringer Vineyards.
The beauty of the region is breathtaking, rolling hills, acre after acre of grapes, olive tree orchards, and grand mansions of the many wineries. I learned from my brother that olives like the same poor soil conditions (rocky and volcanic ash based) as wine grapes so olive trees are also abundant in this region.
The Rhine House on the Beringer estate was built in 1884 by Frederick Beringer and today is both a wine tasting library and a gift shop. There are many other buildings on the estate including the “old winery” and a visitor’s center.
The grounds of the estate are so pretty and relaxing, it makes you want to sit in the sun and sip a glass or two of wine even if it is not yet noon (it was noon in Kansas City which was good enough for me)! In 2004 when we traveled to Napa for the first time, Beringer was introducing their Sparkling White Zinfandel and it had not even been distributed to stores yet. One tasting of that and it became and still is my favorite wine. Not too many months later this wine became available locally, but since I was at the motherland I simply had to have some.
I did not get away from the Beringer Winery without longing for one of everything they sold in their gift shop. I did come home with these fun candles made to look like wine corks. I think they look perfect on our bar.
Another stop was at the V.Suttui winery where we picked up lunch at the incredible Italian deli and marketplace. We enjoyed tastings of hand-made cheeses and dipping oils while looking over the selections of salads, sandwiches and pastas. After selecting a loaf of crusty bread, artichoke spread, salami slices and a container of marinated olives we laid out our feast on a table on the front lawn of the winery. Many other diners were having a bottle of wine with their lunch but we might have had just a little too much at Beringer’s so we made do with soft drinks and water. Just thinking about this perfect lunch makes me want to go back to Napa very soon.
It was harvest time at V. Sattui and we saw large crates filled with grapes and the crushing machine, although they were not processing while we were there.
Even if you are not a fan of wine, Napa Valley is a beautiful, fun and relaxing trip. I am already planning my next trip which will include a stay at one of the many Inn’s, a visit to the Calistoga Spa and a guided tour either by limo or train of the region. This is a MUST-GO destination.