Local Wally's BUDGET 2 for 1 Napa Itinerary - NapaTouristGuide.com
Follow Local Wally for a day of 2 for 1 and VIP tastings at Napa's most amazing wineries. Napa on a Budget!
Napa Wine Tasting Agenda on a Budget
How to Wine Taste in Napa for Cheap
There was a time when your first stop in Napa wasn't the ATM. Back in the 70's and 80's wine tasting was either free or cheap enough that you didn't give it a second thought. But today it's standard to pay $20 to $25 per person for a flight, meaning that a day of tasting for two can easily run up to $200.
But don't worry, there is a way to do Napa on a Budget. Just get a Priority Wine Pass and visit wineries that offer two for one tastings and discount deals. Here's how it works - visit any of the 75 featured wineries in Napa or Sonoma, flash the card and get their deal. Will you love it? Do you love wine? Yes, yes!
Big names, boutique wineries, free tastings and discounted tours, that's all part of the Priority Wine Pass experience. So come with me and let's go Napa wine tasting... on a budget!
Get a Priority Wine Pass To Get These Offers
Don't be confused by other wine "passports" that limit you to a small section of Napa Valley or phone apps that make you tweet when you'd rather be tasting. Only the Priority Wine Pass offers discounts at over 75 wineries in Napa and Sonoma as well as other popular wine regions. My readers get the pass for only $39.99 (normally $125) when they use coupon code localwally at PriorityWinePass.com. It's good for a year, and take advantage of the deals like the ones in the agenda below. Just get one pass per couple and never pay full price for wine tastings again!
Recommended Tour: Bell Wine Cellars
Do the Grape to Glass Tour, 2 for 1 with Wine Pass
A hidden gem, Bell Wine Cellars is a small, family run winery near Yountville. Their Grape to Glass Tour takes you from the vineyards to the production area and then back to the barrels where you'll sample some of the most amazing wines in Napa - I'm not exaggerating, I love their wines!
Start with a sparkling and then move through the spectrum until you get to their deep cabs. Unlike some wineries where the tasting rooms look more like retail shops, Bell Wine Cellars lets you taste inside their production facility next to the barrels. The smells of a working winery are intoxicating and the wines at Bell might be the best you'll taste. If you have time you should not miss their 90 minute tour. Email the winery for reservations.
Want a custom agenda based on your wine tastes and experience? Just ask, it's free! That's what Local Wally is all about, giving unbiased and honest advice to help you plan your trip to Napa and Sonoma.
Stop 1: Hagafen Cellars
Let's Kick This Off with a Taste of Sparkling, 2 for 1
Hagafen Winery is a small, family run winery that's the perfect first stop. Their wines tend to be slightly sweeter which is exactly what you want early in the morning. Come on, you want to ease into this - Big bold reds will come later!
Sparkling wine fans will be happy to know that there's always one on their tasting menu, an excellent way to start your day. Nice little tasting room friendly staff and, wait for it, kosher wines. OK, so it still tastes like wine but that's cool it's kosher.
Their wines have also been featured at White House events from Reagan to Obama so you know it's the good stuff and the grounds are picture perfect. Watch out for the chickens!
Stop 2: Andretti Winery
Get a Two for One at Mario's Winery
Here's where our best laid wine tasting plans start to fall apart but how could you drive past Andretti Winery and not stop? Lovely winery with a gorgeous setting, an old world sort of charm, and how cool is it that this is Mario Andretti of racing car fame's winery?
There's no racing stuff here, just a winery that looks like it's been transplanted from a village in Italy. Small and intimate tasting room, nice grassy area and patio, very laid back and a hidden gem.
This is an optional stop so watch your time as there are plenty more great stops ahead. But one sip? Can it hurt?
Stop 3: Grgich Hills Estates
Judge Paris For Yourself (spoiler: Mike wins)
Grgich Hills Estate has earned a permanent spot in Napa history by being part of the famous 1976 Judgement of Paris blind tastings, the story told in the movie Bottle Shock. The wine maker behind the winning chardonnay was Mike Grgich, then working at Chateau Montelena, who opened his own award winning winery a year later. Chardonnay lovers, this is your stop.
What I also like about Grgich Hills Estates is that the tasting room hasn't changed much since it opened, an intimate experience that's a sharp contrast to the newer wineries that try so hard (too hard?) to attract the large crowds. Grape stomping during harvest, two for one tastings with your Wine Pass.
Stop 4: Napa Cellars
Let's Do a Picnic with 2 for 1 Glasses of Wine!
Get serious, you don't want a serious wine when you are having a picnic. That's not a slam on Napa Cellars, the folks behind popular Ménage à Trois wine. It's just that most wineries with picnic grounds require you to purchase their wines so those doing Napa on a Budget need to be aware of the prices before setting down that blanket.
Wine Pass holders get a two for one tasting or two for one glasses, just perfect to go along with your picnic lunch. Napa Cellars is home to three different labels so you're certain to find something you like. Get your picnic supplies from Oakville Grocery down the street.
TripAdvisor Review | Napa Cellars Official Site
Stop 4 Option: Auburn James Winery
Visit Napa's Best Unknown Winery for Lunch and Wine
If you're not coming in picnic weather or if you just want to taste some of Napa's best wines without breaking the bank then skip Napa Cellars and go to Auburn James instead. Not many people know about this reservation only winery but those who do know that Auburn James has some of best wines in the entire valley, from luscious whites to deep bold reds.
You'll taste in their cottage, a near private tasting experience with Rachael or David pouring for you. And while you can't bring in your own food ask and they'll have Dean & Deluca box lunches ready for you. When booking ask for the Local Wally special and you'll even get a free cheese platter and an extra sip of their most exclusive wine. An outstanding experience, visit them before they blow up big.
Stop 5: Conn Creek
Make Your Own Wine Blend - The Best Blending Experience
While all the tourists are lining up for a tram ride or trying to get the attention of a server at the bar you can be learning about the nuances of wine, the impact that climate and soil makes to the flavor, and ultimately what you like - or dislike - in a wine. Once you nail that down you get to blend your own cab, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and then bottle it up to take home with you. That's the Conn Creek Blending Experience, highly recommended for both newbies and those in somm training.
At $100 per person after the Wine Pass discount it's not cheap but considering you get to take home a bottle which would normally cost you at least $60 it's money well spent - and a lot of fun! It's 90 minutes, requires reservations, a fantastic experience.
BONUS: Brian Arden Winery
Optional Stop: 2 for 1 Tasting
A new winery in Napa, Brian Arden has a clean, contemporary tasting room with a modern feel. This is a small winery run by family members along with three dogs making fewer than 5,000 cases a year. You can feel the passion of the winery come through when the server starts talking about the wines. As for the wines, Brian Arden makes everything from whites to reds, including sparkling wine, rose, and big reds.
Outside seating is just perfect for a summer day and the view from the bar is not too shabby. If you have time try to squeeze in a stop at Brian Arden. You'll love this stop!
Last Stop: Dutch Henry
Visit a funky, fun and friendly winery, cave tastings
I like ending the day at Dutch Henry, a cool and funky winery up near Calistoga. The tasting room is simple and unadorned, the outdoor area has picnic tables, chickens, and bocce ball. The entire experience is a bit like hanging out at a friends house, assuming your friend owns a winery, of course.
Get a two for one with your wine pass then buy a bottle and go outside. That's a pretty good plan - do a flight and buy a bottle to take outside to enjoy. It's laid back, it's fun, and it's a great alternative to the bustling and crowded tasting rooms that the "other" guides send you to. And how cool is it that your Wine Pass got you a cave tasting?
Is the Priority Wine Pass Worth It?
Without the Wine Pass you would spend over $200 per couple for this day of tasting. With the pass you save over $100. Factor in the cost of the card ($39.99 with promo code localwally) and your first day savings is at least $60. And because the card is good for a year you'll save every time you use it, on average $100 per day based on five winery visits. So yes, no doubt that the Wine Pass is worth it. No hassles, no coupons to clip, no tweeting on your phone app, just flash the card and get free wine! Order your wine pass now using coupon code localwally.