Slip into connoisseur mode and prepare to be impressed by this valley dweller.
Named for a river rather than vineyards, Napa’s an independent spirit, adept at indulging gourmets and oenophiles, but also expert at keeping it real. Settle a little and prepare to have some preconceptions challenged.
Touring the tasting rooms is town rule number one. Take a clean palate and take it easy; this isn’t a bar crawl, no matter how merry and generous the sommelier can seem. You’ll find fine wine paired with gourmet snacks, so there’s no threat of drinking on an empty stomach.
Up the ante with a travelling tasting tour. The Napa Valley Wine Train rolls out of McKinstry Station in Downtown Napa, wends through the wineries to Calistoga, and brings you home replete and happy in time for dinner.
Feeding masses of superior expectations is second nature in Napa. Award-winning chefs by the kitchen-load call the town home, and Michelin is almost a local family name. Californian warmth is a restaurant staple, with nobody serving up intimidation. Feel free to order grilled cheese knowing not an eyelid will be batted – though you’ll never taste a sandwich quite so good.
Kayak or paddleboard the river to work up an appetite. Take a walk out of town and get to know the countryside where Napa cultivates its reputation. Soothe occasional over-indulgence with a wellness tour; almost as many spas as wineries reside around these parts.
Shop bohemian couture, intriguing crafts, and seriously cool kitchenware; an odd combo anywhere else, but signature eclectic here. Local culture can’t be easily pinned down either. Expect anything from ballet and barn dancing to art walks and arthouse movies, and squeeze in a country music gig or two. Whatever you do, Napa won’t disappoint.