Boarding Pass September: Napa, California
Sep 25, 2014 11:46AM
● By Dia
Traveling to Napa Valley should be on any wine lover’s bucket list. However, even those who aren’t wine connoisseurs can still enjoy a vacation in Napa, California, the valley’s namesake. The vineyards are a spectacular sight set against the backdrop of the valleys and hills. As a bonus to sommeliers in training perhaps, from mid-August through late October is grape harvest time. Visiting during the fall gives you the opportunity to see vintners in action. With more than 400 wineries in Napa Valley, it may be hard to choose. However, starting in a city such as Napa, and then branching out is a good place to start.
For an intimate winery experience, be sure to visit Chappellet in Napa. With the vineyards and winery located on the same property, touring not only becomes a lesson in history, but a tangible experience as well. Situated on Pritchard Hill in Napa, Chappellet was the first winery to plant vineyards exclusively on high-elevation hillsides. Chappellet’s Estate Vineyards reach an elevation of 1,800 feet at their highest. However, it is the variety of elevations and soil types that allow the vineyards to produce mountain grown wine that is sought after internationally. In other words, they know their grapes and what makes them great – even if that means pairing them with others. Certain wines are made using a specific type of grape; however, others use a combination of grapes – called varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon is actually a varietal, and one of Chappellet’s most treasured wines. For a tasting of their Cabs or perhaps a Chardonnay, it is best to call ahead to schedule a tour. Chappellet.com
Where to stay
Lodging in Napa you have your pick of hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts. If you are looking
for an all-inclusive location complete with amenities such as a fitness center and spa, staying at a resort should be on your agenda. Enjoy the beautiful outdoors of the upper Napa Valley Canyon while staying at Calistoga Ranch, a luxury resort just north of Napa in Calistoga, California. The resort sits on 157 acres and includes secluded lodging in a wooded setting, a private restaurant, a fitness center and yoga deck, and of course a pool. Auberge Spa, the resort’s signature amenity, uses the natural mineral waters of the region in a variety of relaxing and healing treatments. You can choose from 50 free-standing lodges complete with cedar decks and floor to ceiling
windows in a variety of floor plans to meet your specific needs. Calistoga Ranch’s has devoted 140 acres of the resort to hiking and other outdoor activities, such as biking. If you are searching for an all-inclusive and relaxing stay on your Napa vacation, this is theplace. CalistogaRanch.com
If, however, you’d rather have a more cozy experience on your Napa Valley vacation, choosing one of the quaint, but luxurious B&Bs located in the area might be a better option. Just as stately, but on a smaller scale, Churchill Manor Bed and Breakfast located in Napa is the perfect getaway for those seeking a unique approach to lodging.
This historic 1889 mansion has all the features of a 19th century home. Each room is named for a wine region in the Napa Valley, called apellations, and the furnishings are typical of old-world craftsmanship. When not relaxing in your room, take advantage of the gathering places in the main part of the house, such as the parlor or sunroom. If being outdoors suits you more, experience the rose gardens speckled with fountains. With Churchill Manor’s close proximity to historic downtown Napa, you’ll find that amenities are just a short walk or bicycle ride away. ChurchillManor.com
There’s only one way to properly experience the landscape of Napa Valley, and that’s in a hot air balloon soaring high over the vineyards. There are a variety of balloon tour companies in Napa Valley, and a few that are based in Napa itself. Although hot air balloon packages vary, most tours are typical of the following.
The flights usually take off in the early morning. (Who wouldn’t like to see the sun rise over the valley?) Many tours also provide a preflight breakfast as part of your package. You can fly with a group to enjoy the thrill, or choose an intimate flight for two, which are perfect for special occasions such as proposals or anniversaries. Balloon tours are very popular and there are quite a few companies that provide the service. Many are unique in that they have a specific route they take that often is proprietary. Make sure to ask the tour companies where they specifically fly and over what areas of the Valley. CalistogaBalloons. com, BalloonRides.com, NapaValleyBalloons.com