The email said, “You’re invited to help create the best 3 days of your life.”
With an intro like that, how could anyone refuse?
What we had the best of intentions to do was to road cycle every morning, followed by cooking amazing meals and then lounging about by pools in the afternoon with some wine tasting mixed in. See, after all that road biking in the mornings, we would be tired and worn out and oh so deserving of the extra glasses of wine that night.
What we actually did was sleep in every day, lounge about the house in an unmotivated fashion until we cooked amazing meals, went wine tasting, lounged by pools and drank more wine than we deserved because we hadn’t done anything that day to warrant drinking extra wine.
However, no one cared in the least and we were all sublimely happy.
On our first afternoon there, one of the ladies arranged for us to relax by her AMAZING pool overlooking picturesque vineyards as the sun set.
But wait – it gets better.
On top of that, she hired friends of hers who are masseuses to come give us hour long massages and oh, yes, just wait, it gets better!
In between giving us massages, lounging by the pool, drinking wine and laughing as the sun went down, they cooked us a huge meal of authentic Vietnamese food.
On the 2nd day, we had grand plans to get up and go road biking but instead we slept in, lounged around, read books, had a late ladies lunch and then visited my good friend James, who is the Assistant Winemaker at Patz and Hall, a small winery with superb Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.
That evening, we had a girls dinner at the house where Jessica who has secret powers as an amazing chef whipped up a most ridiculous dinner of bruschetta on grilled bread, pasta and Caesar salad with home made dressing.
It should go without saying that there were many bottles of wine consumed.
Our last day, we had grand plans to go road biking again but instead opted to visit Jessica at her vineyard. We had some time to kill so we wandered about the grounds of Beringer for a bit. I tend to dismiss Beringer wines on the whole simply because of their massive popularity but I would highly recommend a venture around their Historic property. The Beringer vineyards are the oldest operating vineyard in the area and some of the structures date back to 1850!
Jessica works Sullivan Vineyards, an amazing little boutique vineyard smack in downtown Rutherford. The home and property on which it stands are breathtaking and the history behind the family owned vineyard is fascinating. They have some awesome value wines (my favorite was their dry rosè, Pink Ink).
Want your own Napa Valley Girls Weekend?
- The fresh, charming and bright Calistoga Wine Way Inn is a no frills location with rooms from $99 within walking distance of downtown Calistoga.
- The roads in Napa are gorgeous for road cycling but you’ll want to stay off the main highway. Check out this list of popular road biking routes or head into Vino Velo, owned by the Clif Family to get their take on the best cycling route for you. They offer free maps with the best rides of various distances on them and a staff that is knowledgable about cycling in the area. While you’re there, pick up some bicycle themed stuff (I walked out with some gorgeous wine glasses with bikes on them) or some of their tasty jams, nuts or olive oils. Don’t skip a tasting of bread dipped in olive oil and rolled in the pistachio dukkah – it’s to die for.
- In nearby Calistoga there is a ton of hot springs to relax in. Head to the mineral water pools at the Calistoga Spa Hot Spings after 7 p.m., when the entrance fee is only $10. Bring a picnic dinner and some wine to enjoy poolside.
- The Rutherford Grill is always a staple: not too pricy, with a killer wine list and something on the menu that everyone will love. I’m a sucker for their homemade veggie burger, which to this day is still the best veggie burger I’ve ever had in my life. Bold statement, I know. I will say, they almost lured me in this time with the Butternut Squash Enchiladas but I held firm to my thirst for that burger, which I’ve been dreaming about eating again ever since I first visited in 2009.
- Oenotri is unbelievably delicious. From their fresh homemade pastas, to their inventive salads to the unbelievably perfect thin crust pizzas, it was everything I needed from my lunch that day. If you order one of each salad and one of each pizza for the table, you won’t be disappointed.
- Cakebread has always been one of my favorite go-to wines. Their stainless steel aged Chardonnay is well known. Their tastings are by appointment only as well.
- Frog’s Leap will always hold a place near and dear in my heart and not only because their Zinfandel is such a killer wine. Their tasting is unique, extremely in depth and full of quirk and character. By appointment only.