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I am happy to help you plan your trip to Napa.  If you need a free winery trip planning agenda please give me as much time as you can due to the large number of requests.  I can typically turn around a custom agenda in 3 days.

Happy also to help you with restaurant and hotel recommendations, all honest and unbiased and based on my own experiences.

Cheers,

Local Wally

           

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Local Wally's Blog to Napa | NapaTouristGuide.com

Read Local Wally's Blog to Napa for up to date news, features, and stories from Napa Valley. Guest Posts Welcome!

Napa After the 2017 Wildfires - Still Good to Visit?

Local Wally

How is Napa Valley After the Big Fire of 2017?

Patland Vineyards before the fire

Patland Vineyards before the fire

You've been dreaming of a trip to Napa, you've been planning, you're ready to go - but then the Oct 2017 wildfires hit, the worst fire in the history of California, and you think - should you come or should you cancel?  And I totally get it.  Napa is romantic, Napa is lush with vegetation and vineyards, is it still good after the big fires?

And here's what I say - Yes, Napa is still GREAT after the fires.  And Yes, the wineries and the small businesses that make up the bulk of Napa need your support more than ever.  Come support the wineries you love, most of who made it through the firestorm unscathed, and buy a case of wine to help them out.  Dine in the Napa restaurants who treated you so well on your last trip, perhaps venture out to a small eatery who really needs your help to survive.  Napa depends on you and your vacation dollars to recover so don't change your plans. 

Some of my Favorite Napa Wineries are Gone....

With great sadness I learned that Patland Vineyards, one of my most favorite wineries and one that I've been sending my readers to, succumbed to the fire.  Another, Signorello Vineyards, one of the first wineries to really take care of me when I started Napa Tourist Guide, is also gone. 

The message from both of these wineries is one of thanks, one of hope, and a plea to the visitors to come back and support the valley.  If you are a winery, a tour driver, a restaurant, and you want help getting more people to visit or use your services, please reach out to me and I'll be happy to give you a free ad.  If you are a visitor thinking of coming to Napa, reach out to me and I'll help you plan your trip with a stop by stop agenda, focusing on wineries who you not only will love but need your support. 

BAY AREA PEEPS:  COME VISIT!  For most locals Napa in the Fall is too busy to visit but due to the fires the wineries are calm, peaceful, and hoping you'll make it in this weekend.  Don't forget, if you live in the Bay Area you can use the annual discount pass and get two for one's for the next 12 months - see below for link.  You can come again and again, just pop over and taste in a winery you've never been to.  With fewer crowds and an attentive staff that needs your business there has never been a better time to wine taste in Napa and Sonoma.

Napa is strong, Napa is resilient, and the community is working together and will get through this.  My heart goes out to those who lost their homes, their loved ones, their wineries....

More on Napa from Local Wally

Bell Winery Now Open after the Fires - taken 10-18-17

Bell Winery Now Open after the Fires - taken 10-18-17

Things are getting back to normal in Napa after the fires

Things are getting back to normal in Napa after the fires

NAPA AND SONOMA WILDFIRE 10-9-2017 UPDATE: SHOULD YOU STILL COME? IS IT SAFE?

Local Wally

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READ LATEST UPDATE HERE:  NAPA VALLEY AFTER THE WILDFIRES OF 2017

OCTOBER 14TH UPDATE:  The skies are blue, the air is good, the worst is over.  If you are planning a trip the week of Oct 15th just make sure you call the wineries to verify they are open.  But don't postpone or change your trip!  Napa is nearly back to normal and we look forward to seeingyou!


ATTENTION NAPA VISITORS:  A huge devastating wildfire is moving through Napa, mainly on the Silverado Trail side.  Some wineries have been rumored to be destroyed, hundreds of people evacuated.  The fires in Sonoma continue to rage out of control as well.  This is a significant and dangerous fire, now considered to be California's deadliest fire in its history.


Photo: Elizabeth Weise. The area just south of Napa and Sonoma.

Photo: Elizabeth Weise. The area just south of Napa and Sonoma.

UPDATE 10-13:  Fires still active and air quality very poor, I would avoid visiting Napa or Sonoma until at least next week.  A number of wineries and the Napa Wine Train are predicting they will be back in operation on Monday.  If you were planning on visiting this weekend I would still reschedule.  If your plans have you here next week there is hope your trip will be OK, especially if later in the week.  They are predicting higher winds again this weekend which could fuel the fire so everyone pray that this gets under control quickly. 

UPDATE 10-12:  My advice?  I would try to reschedule if you are coming in this week.  Fires are still pretty much out of control with the Silverado Trail area severely impacted.  I heard Cakebread is planning to reopen this Sunday and some wineries along Highway 29 are now open but the air quality is not great.  Signorello Winery is completely burned down, though their vines are safe and unscathed.  As of this morning the entire town of Calistoga has been evacuated This is a serious fire so think twice before coming and try to reschedule if you can.  Most locals are suggesting it will be a week before things return back to normal.

If you are planning on coming later this Fall when the fires are out you should reach out to me and let me help you pick or re-pick your winery visits.  I can help route you to wineries who have had less impact as well as wineries who really need your business to rebound.  Napa is a small community made of up locals who appreciate your business so if we all pitch in we can get through this.

Wally


Should you still come?  Is it safe to visit Napa during the Fire?

I would strongly reconsider a wine tasting day in Napa this week.  Though some the wineries along Highway 29 are still open the air quality is poor and the threat of fire very real.  However, the best source will be your hotel - call them for updates if you are planning on visiting this week.  And call the wineries you plan to visit.  Many are closed or have partial staff.

How About that Agenda You did for Me?

If I gave you an agenda you might want to reach out to me as my picks might be very different due to the fire - even after it is put out and things return to normal.  I've been told that a number of my favorite wineries have been impacted so you will want to check with me to make sure they are still open for business before you arrive.

More to come - Local Wally

 

New 2017 Napa Wine Train Discounts - Including Castillo di Amorosa Tour!

Local Wally

New Napa Valley Wine Train Discounts for 2017!

All Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train with new 2017 discounts from Local Wally!

Priority Wine Pass members now get the following discounts on the popular Napa Valley Wine Train! At $39.99 per couple it's always been a good bargain but now that you can get huge savings on the Napa Wine Train there's no reason not to get it.  Get my discount when you use this link to order and remember, only get ONE pass per couple!


Wine Train Gourmet Lunch or Dinner: (Downtown Napa) $20 off tickets pass members and up to 3 guests ($80 Savings) Reservations required please call (707) 253-2111 and mention you are a wine pass member during booking. At check-in please bring ID and wine pass to obtain special pricing.
 
Castello Di Amerosa Wine Train Tour: (Downtown Napa) $20 off tickets for pass members and up to 3 guests ($80 Savings) Reservations required please call (707) 253-2111 and mention you are a wine pass member during booking. At check-in please bring ID and wine pass to obtain special pricing.
 
Collective Tour on the Wine Train-St. Supery, Beringer, & Raymond: (Downtown Napa) $35 off tickets for pass members and up to 3 guests ($140 Savings) Reservations required please call (707) 253-2111 and mention you are a wine pass member during booking. At check-in please bring ID and wine pass to obtain special pricing.


A Taste of Napa, on a Budget - Things The New York Times Missed!

Local Wally

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Napa on a Budget

Do Napa in a Day.. on a budget!

A Short History of Napa

Napa has a long history but here's a short version.  It was 1839 when the first grapes were planted and in 1861 Charles Krug opened Napa's first commercial winery and sparked the first wave.  By 1899 there were over 140 wineries.  Success wasn't guaranteed and disease and prohibition sent Napa into a tailspin.  It wasn't until 1933 when prohibition was repealed that wineries like Inglenook, Beaulieu, Louis M. Martini and Mondavi brought Napa back from the dead.

People today take wine for granted but that wasn't always the case.  Prior to 1976 most Americans drank beer or cocktails.  Wine was fancy, extravagant, and too confusing.  But that changed with the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, also known as the Judgement of Paris and documented loosely in the movie Bottle Shock.  The French ruled the wine world back then and thought it clever to put their wines against Napa, highly confident they would naturally win.  They didn't and Napa soon exploded - and the wine industry in the US as we know it today was born.

Saving Money in Napa

Visiting Napa today is expensive.  Hotel rooms are hard to get and $300 a night is considered a good deal, even in off season, and wine tasting is on average $25 per person - most people go to 5 wineries a day so a couple can easily spend $250 just on tasting fees.  I decided to try to do Napa on the cheap, to really experience Napa like a first timer on a serious budget.  Here's what I did.

WHERE TO STAY:  For starters, I skipped staying at a hotel.  Instead I shopped the AirBnB's and found a cute cottage for less than $200 a night.  That was easily a hundred bucks a night cheaper than the cheapest hotel.  I collected the best bets for AirBnB's and put them in a separate article you can find here.

TIP:  My friend Jamie rents out a downstairs bedroom as an AirBnB.  If you want a fresh, new, and friendly place to email me and I'll put you in touch with her.  She also can drive you around if yo want to taste without worry of drinking and driving.

Best Cheap Eats Breakfast in Napa - Model Bakery

Best Cheap Eats Breakfast in Napa - Model Bakery

START YOUR DAY:  My first stop was Oxbow Public Market where I set my sights on Model Bakery.  They have GREAT breakfast sandwiches for around $6, made with their famous English Muffins.  You need this breakfast.  You need these muffins.  Trust me, skip the sit down breakfast houses and eat here instead. 

TO WINE PASS OR NOT TO WINE PASS, THAT IS THE QUESTION:  If you've been on my site you know I am a big fan of the Priority Wine Pass.  I used to promote free coupons, phone apps, passports, but no one does it better than the annual Priority Wine Pass.  It's basically a two for one pass you show on your phone, saving you $25 or more on average at every stop.  Get it HERE to get my discount - it will be $39.99 but you only need one pass per couple.  Of course you don't need to get the pass but you will be kicking yourself at the first winery when they tell you two tastings are $50 and you realize you could have both had tastings for half that price.

FIRST STOP, A TOUR:  So with the Priority Wine Pass loaded on my phone I was off to the races.  I wanted to experience Napa like a true first timer so I opted for a tour to see how wine is made.  I picked Bell Winery and did their Grape to Glass tour which is pretty fantastic.  I've been on a lot of tours and most of them have you walking through vineyards in the hot sun and make you listen to a boring presentation before letting you sip some wine.  The Bell tour is short, just enough to get a feel for production and history, and before you know it you're in the barrels room and they're popping open a bottle of sparkling.  Bell has great wines and you move all the way through the gamut until you get to deep bold reds.  It's a 90 minute experience, reservations are required, and it was half off with the Priority Wine Pass.  That made it $25 per person which is a killer deal.

The gardens at The French Laundry.  Photo Credit Gardenista.com.

The gardens at The French Laundry.  Photo Credit Gardenista.com.

CHEAP LUNCH IN NAPA:  Remember how I told you to go to Oxbow Public Market for breakfast?  Another reason why I love Oxbow as my first stop is for their cheap lunch supplies.  Don't get all fancy, a baguette, some cheese, and perhaps some deli meats is all you need for a great Napa picnic.  Don't forget the waters! 

For the adventurous and spirited head over to The French Laundry, Thomas Keller's famous high end restaurant where dinner for two will set you back a thousand bucks.  No, I'm not saying you should eat there.  Instead go across the street to their gardens and you'll find a few picnic tables and a chairs.  Be discreet and you found the perfect picnic spot.  Of course they might kick you out but that's why I said you need to be adventurous! 

My wife is a bit of a chicken so instead of risking being kicked out of the French Laundry gardens we headed over to Napa Cellars, one of the best winery picnic spots.  What makes Napa Cellars so good is that they give you two for one glasses of wine with your Priority Wine Pass, perfect for enjoying with your lunchtime snack.  Napa Cellars is $20 per person but two for one with the pass - $10 per person for a glass of wine and picnic spot, that's a good deal.

Sutter Home Winery in Napa.  Photo Credit:  Napa Wine Project

Sutter Home Winery in Napa.  Photo Credit:  Napa Wine Project

THE LAST FREE TASTING IN NAPA?  Sutter Home Winery, the folks who brought you White Zinfandel so many years ago, is perhaps the last free tasting left in Napa.  The gardens are beautiful and the wine is free so why not stop?  OK, yes, it's not going to blow your socks off but free wine is free wine.  I tried it.  I did!  And yes, the gardens are beautiful :-)

Beringer Winery in Napa

Beringer Winery in Napa

IT'S TOURISTY, IT'S POPULAR, BUT IT'S WORTH IT:  Beringer Winery is perhaps the most beautiful winery in all of Napa.  Tasting fees are $25 per person but you get two for one so it's another bargain.  Lots to see, there's a retail shop, gardens, and lush landscaping all around.  It's the perfect last stop.  I normally skip Beringer due to the crowds but really loved it here. There was live music, a fun vibe, I liked this stop a lot!

Let's Do the Math

So how much did this day cost you?  Let's assume you got the Priority Wine Pass so you got the savings.

BREAKFAST:  Less than $20 for two for breakfast sandwiches and coffees.

BELL WINERY:  $50 tour for two.

PICNIC LUNCH:  Less than $20 for two for a baguette, cheese, meats and waters.

NAPA CELLARS:  $20 for two.

SUTTER HOME:  Free tastings

BERINGER WINERY:  $25 for two.

TOTAL COST FOR TWO:  $135 + $39.99 for Wine Pass = $174.99.  That's only $90 per person! That's not bad since I didn't really cut any corners.  Heck, even the stop at Sutter Home was fun and helped me stretch the wine tasting budget. 

Dinner on a Budget?

Happy Hour at The Bounty Hunter in downtown Napa

Happy Hour at The Bounty Hunter in downtown Napa

I didn't forget about dinner.  My absolute favorite budget dining in Napa is the Happy Hour at Bounty Hunter where you can get ribs and slaw for $6 and two for one glasses of wine.  Bounty Hunter has very credible BBQ and is worth it at any price but the Happy Hour before 6PM, M-F, is place to be.

FREE ADVICE

Don't forget, you can email me if you ever want my free, unbiased advice!  I can guide you to the best of Napa on a Budget and show you the wineries, restaurants, and places I love in Napa!

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Do's and Don'ts of Napa Valley

Local Wally

Regusci Winery in Napa

Regusci Winery in Napa

Coming to Napa Valley for the first time?  Overwhelmed?  Confused?  Don't be - just follow my easy Napa Do's and Dont's and you'll be sipping wine like an expert!

DO HAVE A PLAN:  The days of driving up and down Highway 29 and pulling into any old winery that looks interesting are over.  You should have your winery stops mapped out, the first one at 10AM and the last one at 4.  Give yourself 45 minutes to an hour at each stop and make sure you google map the distance between wineries so you don't end up driving up and down the valley.

DON'T OVERBOOK YOUR DAY:  Think you can hit 8 to 10 wineries in a day?  Forgetaboutit!  Figure 4 to 5 max.  You don't want to be rushing from one winery to another.

DON'T FORGET YOUR ANNUAL WINE PASS:  There's no more free wine tasting in Napa other than Sutter Home - you know, the White Zinfandel folks, enough said on that!  Most Napa wineries now charge $25 or more per person, meaning it's very easy to run up a couple hundred bucks in fees per day.  That's why I recommend the Priority Wine Pass - it gets you two for one tastings at over 75 wineries, saving you half on your fees.  Get it here with my discount - it will be $39.99 but you only need one pass per couple.  Here's the ever growing list of wineries who accept the pass - Get the pass and I'll even help you pick out the best wineries for you if you email me with your dates.

DO MAKE RESERVATIONS:  This is especially true during the busy seasons - Summer and Fall being the busiest.  With huge crowds that rival Disneyland, waiting in line at the "come one, come all" wineries can mean long waits.  But book a reservation and show up on time and in you go like winery royalty - built in crowd control. 

Easy sipping at Inglenook Winery in Napa

Easy sipping at Inglenook Winery in Napa

DON'T DO LUNCH, DO A PICNIC:  Lunch is for suckers.  I mean, you're in Napa to taste wine, not waste two hours doing lunch.  Instead pack a picnic and make sure your winery stop at noon allows them.  That's right, not all wineries allow picnics due to regulations but here's a recently updated list of the ones who do. A little crusty bread, a little cheese, some salami, get your supplies either at Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa, Oakville Grocery, or Dean & Deluca.  And there ain't nothing wrong with just snacking on the go, dropping crumbs in your rental car as you head to the next stop.  Don't forget the waters!

DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE:  There was a time when everyone on the road in Napa probably had a bit too much to drink but don't chance it.  Either have a Designated Driver or hire someone to drive your car.  Who to hire?  Start with my friend Jamie, the gal who owns the Priority Wine Pass company.  She's my first pick not because she's my friend but because she knows all the wineries so when you walk in with her they'll treat you like a VIP.  Other drivers who have earned the Local Wally Stamp of Approval are found here.

DO VISIT THE BOUTIQUE WINERIES:  Quick, name some wineries in Napa!  I bet you came up with Mondavi, Sterling, Beringer, and maybe Castello di Amorosa, the Napa Castle.  Well guess what?  Every other first timer came up with the same names meaning these wineries will be packed.  But Napa has hundreds of wineries tucked away that offer great wine, friendly hospitality, and a Napa experience that's not unlike what you would have found twenty years ago.  Don't believe people on TripAdvisor who claim the boutiques are "second rate" - they don't know what they're talking about.  Just remember to make reservations at the boutiques and they are limited by how many people they can serve in a day so Pop In's are not allowed.

Redd Wood in Napa (Yountville) makes a fantastic steak!

Redd Wood in Napa (Yountville) makes a fantastic steak!

DO MAKE YOUR DINNER RESERVATIONS AT A RESTAURANT NEAR YOUR HOTEL:  When you're home and deciding on where to eat dinner it's easy to make the mistake of picking a place that's far from your hotel.  After all, you figure, you're only here once so who cares if you need to drive 15 miles?  Well trust me, after a day of wine tasting you're going to want a restaurant that's walking distance from your hotel or so close the air conditioner in your car doesn't get cool before you arrive.  If you do have your heart set on a restaurant that's far from your hotel, plan out your tasting day to end near your dinner destination.

DO MORE THAN TASTE WINE IN NAPA:  Don't forget that Napa has more to offer than wine tasting.  Some of the popular excursions are the Napa Wine Train, hot air balloon rides, mud baths and spa treatment, and golf.  If you plan to do any of these make sure you get the Priority Wine Pass (see above) as you can often get discounts with it.  And if you are here for more than a couple of days a side trip to Sonoma is a good getaway and a nice contrast to the more developed Napa area.

DO TIP YOUR SERVER:  It's not required but Napa etiquette is to toss in a few bucks if your wine server gave you an enjoyable experience.  And buy wine if you like it - the wineries main goal is to sell wine so go into each winery assuming you will take home a bottle or two.

DO A WINE BLENDING CLASS:  If you like wine but have a hard time describing what you like in a wine then splurge on a wine blending class.  My favorite is Conn Creek's Blending Experience where you taste 6 cabs grown in different areas of Napa and decide what you like or dislike in each one.  From there you carefully add a touch of this or that until you have a perfect bottle suited to your taste.  In the end you bottle it up, cork it, and add a label and you'll take home the perfect blend - or is it?  Do this with friends and do a blind tasting with you get home to see who made the best wine.  It's fun, educational, and you'll gain years of tasting experience in an hour and a half.  And yes, you can get a discount with the Priority Wine Pass.

Tired of the Same Old Napa Wineries? How to Taste Your Way Through Napa Like a Local!

Local Wally

Everyone stops at Mondavi Winery in Napa - But Should You?

Everyone stops at Mondavi Winery in Napa - But Should You?

Alternative Napa - Where Do Locals Taste Wine?

I totally get it - it's your first visit to Napa and the labels of the wines you see in your supermarket are haunting you.  Mondavi.  Beringer.  Sterling.  Domaine Chandon.  And that castle, yes, the famous Castello di Amorosa.  Must see, must see!  Or should you?

Sure, these are all great stops but there's another side to Napa that locals know and love and that's the smaller boutique wineries.  Don't believe what you might have read on places like TripAdvisor who claim that the smaller wineries don't have good wine.  I actually found the opposite to be true.  That's because the small wineries are hoping you buy a bottle or case so they're pouring the good stuff whereas the famous wineries have buses of people waiting to get in to snapchat and instagram their selfies.  Wine is almost secondary to the winery at some of the big names - tram anyone?

Local Napa - Maroon Winery is a sensational, away from the crowds.

Local Napa - Maroon Winery is a sensational, away from the crowds.

So where to go?  How do you visit Napa and taste like a VIP? 

Here are a few of my favorites.  First timers, go ahead and make that stop at Mondavi or Beringer but make sure you spend at least 50% of your time in these smaller wineries if you want to get away from the tourists and deeper into the heart of Napa.  For those of you who have been here before you can also email me and I'll help you pick some good ones and even help you get discounts, many unpublished, so you can taste like a VIP without breaking the bank.

Here are a few "off the grid" wineries you should be checking out.

Let me help you plan it out!  I don't charge, I don't get kickbacks from the wineries, I'm not associated with any wine shops, restaurants, or anybody!  I am just one guy who knows and loves Napa and happy to share my favorites with you, all honest and unbiased recommendations so that you don't leave Napa thinking it was a theme park.  Email me and give me your dates you will be here, the number of people in your party and whether you are a wine expert or just looking for fun places to taste.  Give me two weeks if possible and I'll get you some free Napa advice on how to taste your way through Napa like a local - on a budget, of course. 

Local Wally

What Type of Wine Corkscrew Can You Bring on an Airplane? This one!

Local Wally

There is nothing worse than being in your hotel room ready to snuggle up with a good bottle of wine only to find out that there's no corkscrew.  How to open? Well, you could do the Shoe Trick where you put the bottom of the bottle inside a shoe and slam it on the wall, but that just doesn't seem to to have style.  Or you could jam the cork and it's crumbles into the bottle.  Or you could be smart and pack a corkscrew in your bag.

But remember, there is only ONE type of corkscrew that is allowed and that's this one:

The ONLY corkscrew you can bring on an airplane.

The ONLY corkscrew you can bring on an airplane.

Note that there is no little knife to cut the foil - it's the little knife that will have you waiting as the TSA folks tear your bags apart and send you to secondary strip search.  But this little handy corkscrew, arguably equally dangerous in the wrong hands, passes through TSA with flying colors.  At least for now!

Conn Creek Winery Barrel Blending Experience: Get a Discount for Napa's Best Winery Tour

Local Wally

Getting Set up for some seriously fun wine blending at Conn Creek Winery in Napa

Getting Set up for some seriously fun wine blending at Conn Creek Winery in Napa

Napa Valley's BEST Winery Experience:  Conn Creek Barrel Blending

Every trip to Napa should have at least one BIG adventure, the winery experience that caps off your wine tasting vacation. Take the Sterling Tram? Tour the castle at Castello di Amorosa? Visit the caves of Del Dotto?  Yes, all good options but for me the BEST Napa experience is the Conn Creek Winery Barrel Blending Experience.  And yes, I have a discount but that comes later.

What I love about Conn Creek's Barrel Blending Experience is that how it makes you define what you like in your wine. I mean, I drink a lot of wine and I know what I like but if you asked me to describe it I get all befuddled.  Umm, tar?  Leather?  Plums?  Yikes, my cover as a self proclaimed wine expert is shattered. 

But not anymore.  That's because I went to the Conn Creek Barrel Blending Experience, a 90 minute "class" where you taste 6 different cabs grown in different areas of Napa.  Like a good student I took a few notes and honed in on what I liked and what I didn't like in each, which was a good thing because before I knew it I was taking my little eyedropper and mixing up a glass like I was some sort of scientist. And then after some tweaking I was kneeling in front of the barrels and carefully measuring out quantities of each to make up my own blend. I call it Local Wally Reserve Cab.  It's limited - very limited!

Conn Creek's blending seminar is super cool, a quick way to get a wine education that's valuable to everyone from newbie wine lovers trying to understand what they like to industry insiders who want to further their knowledge.  And it's fun - no stuffy classroom setting - and afterwards you go straight to the tasting bar to try all of their wines. You like wine, you'll love this experience.

30 Days Later......

After waiting a month I invited my wine blending group over for a blind tasting.  Will our wines hold up?  Will we still love them?  And who made the best?  We wrapped the wines in foil to hide the labels and surrounded ourselves with wine glasses and sipped like the experts we had become.  Surprisingly, all four bottles tasted very different from each other. 

My wine started off as big, bold and nearly over the top but as it sat open and we tasted more I noticed that the LW Reserve was the one we all gravitated to.,  Well, at least that's how I remembered it.  In truth I think all of us could defend our wine blends to the end, just like real wine makers. The winner - the one we all secretly thought was our own - started off soft and drinkable and remained complex without going over the top.  It wasn't mine.  Damn!

The tasting party continued as the rib eyes were tossed on the grill and our wines were so good that all four bottles were gone by the end of the night :-)

Local wally recommended

Everyone needs to do this.  I mean, everyone! It's fun, it's educational, and the wine tasting competition a month later lets you bring home the Napa experience for your friends and family.  And won't everyone be so impressed when you say things like how you wanted a bit more boldness so you added a drop of Petite Verdot and how the Cab Franc really sends the aroma over the top.  Oh you wine expert you.

TIP:  Save your cards with your measurements on it because if you LOVE your wine you can have Conn Creek make you up a custom case. Now that's cool!

This is the winning formula!

This is the winning formula!

Discounts for Conn Creek Blending Experience

Get a $50 discount with a Priority Wine Pass.  Get your pass here, it's $39.99 per couple so the card already more than paid for itself.  And remember, get the pass and I'll build you a stop by stop agenda to make sure you get your money's worth.  OK, sure, it's still $100 per person after the discount but figure you get to take home a bottle of Napa wine that you made - most Napa wines are at least $60 - $75 per bottle these days - and you got to taste at the bar (normally $25 per person) - and you got a wine education that you just can't get anywhere else - so a hundred bucks is really a bargain.  Highly recommended for my readers, skip the tram ride and the crowds at the touristy wineries and do the Conn Creek Blending Experience!

Links

Get the Priority Wine Pass to get your $50 Discount

More Info on the Conn Creek Blending Experience

Napa Valley and Sonoma Wineries Open New Years Eve 2016

Local Wally

Beaulieu Winery Napa

Napa Valley Wineries & Tasting Rooms
*Open New Year’s Eve

    Back Room Wines:  707.226.1378Open 10:00am – 5:00pm
    Black Stallion Winery: 707.227.3250Open10:00am – 5:00pm
    Bennett Lane Winery:   877.629.6272Open 10:30am – 3:00 pm
    Castello di Amorosa:  707.967.6272Open 9:30am – 5:00pm
    Cliff Lede Winery:   800.428.2260Open 10:00am – 2:00pm
    Chateau Montelena Winery:  707.942.5105Open 9:30am – 12:000pm
    Chateau Potelle Winery:   707.255.9440Open 10:00am – 3:00pm
    Cuvaison Estate – Napa: 707.942.2455Open1 0:00am – 4:00pm
    Cuvaison Estate – Calistoga:  707.942.2468Open 11:00am – 4:00pm
    Del Dotto – St. Helena: 707.963.2134Open 11:00am – 5:00pm (Appt. Required)
    Domaine Carneros:   800.716.2788Open 10:00am – 4:00pm
    Domaine Chandon:  888.242.6366 opt. 3Open 10:00am – 5:00pm
    Elizabeth Spencer Wines:  707.963.4762Open 10:00am – 4:00pm
    Grgich Hills Estate:  800.532.3057Open 9:30am- 4:30pm
    Hall – St. Helena:   707.967.2626Open 10:00am – 3:00pm
    Hall – Rutherford : 707.967.2626Open By Appointment
    Hess Collection:   707.255.1144Open 10:00am – 2:00pm
    Inglenook:   707.968.1100Open 10:00am – 5:00pm
    Judd’s Hill Winery:   707-255-2332Open 10:00am – 4:00pm
    Louis M. Martini:   707.968.3361Open 10:00am – 3:00pm
    Markham Vineyards:  707.963.5292Open 10:00am – 5:00pm
    Merryvale Vineyards:  707.663.7777Open 10:30am – 3:00pm
    Pine Ridge Vineyards:   800.575.9777Open 10:00am – 4:30pm
    Raymond Vineyards:   707.963.3141Open 10:00am – 4:00pm
    Robert Mondavi Winery:   888-766-6328Open 10:00am-3:00pm
    Round Pound Estate:   707.302.2575Open 10:00am – 3:00pm (last appt. at 1:30pm)
    Signorello Estate:   707.255.5990Open10:00am – 5:00pm (by Appt. only)
    St. Supery:  707.963.4507Open 10:00am – 2:30pm
    V. Sattui Winery:   707.963.7774Open   9:00am – 5:00pm
    William Hill Winery:  707 265 3024Open 10:00am – 3:00pm


*Open New Year’s Day

    Alpha & Omega Winery: 707.963.9999Open 10:00am – 6:00pm
    Bennett Lane Winery:  877.629.6272Open 11:00am – 3:00pm
    Castello di Amorosa:   707.967.6272Open9:30am – 5:00pm
    Cuvaison Estate – Napa:  707.942.2455Open 10:00am – 4:00pm
    Del Dotto – St. Helena: 707.963.2134 Open 11:00am – 5:00pm (Appt. Required)
    Domaine Carneros:   800.716.2788Open 12:00pm – 6:00pm
    Elizabeth Spencer Wines: 10:00am – 4:00pm 707.963.4762
    Raymond Vineyards:   707.963.3141   Open 10:00am – 4:00pm
    V. Sattui Winery:   707.963.7774 Open 9:00am – 5:00pm

 

Sonoma County Wineries & Tasting Rooms
*Open New Year’s Eve

    Anaba Wines:  707.996.4188Open 10:30 am – 3pm
    Battaglini Estate Winery:   707.578.4091Open 10am – 4:30pm
    Cartograph Wines:   707.433.8270, Open 12pm – 4pm
    Chalk Hill Estate:   707.657.4837Open 10am – 4pm
    Christopher Creek: 707.433.2001 Open 10am – 6pm
    Deloach Vineyards:  707.526.9111Open 10am – 5pm
    Dutton Estate Winery:   707.829.9463Open 10am – 3pm
    Francis Ford Copolla Winery:   707.857.1471 Open 11am – 6pm
    Gloria Ferrer:   707.996.7256Open 10am – 3pm
    Halleck Vineyard:  707.484.0707Open 10:30am – 3:00pm
    Hanna Winery:  707.431.4310Open 10am – 4pm
    Hartford Family Winery: 707.887.8030Open 10am – 3pm
    Hop Kiln Winery:   707.433.6491Open 10am – 2pm
    Imagery Estate:  877.550.4278Open 10am – 2:30pm
    Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens:    707.571.8100Open 10am – 3pm
    Korbel Champagne Cellars:   707.824.700010am – 4:30pm
    La Crema:   800.314.1762Open 10:30am – 3pm
    Longboard Vineyards:    707.433.3473Open 11am – 2pm
    Mantanzas Creek Winery:  707.528.6464Open 10am – 2pm
    Murphy-Goode:   707.431.7644Open 10:30am – 3pm
    Rodney Strong Vineyards:   707.431.1533Open 10am – 3pm
    Russian Hill Winery:    707.575.9428Open 10am – 4pm
    Selby:    707.431.1288Open 11am – 5:30pm
    St. Francis Winery:  707.431.8749Open 10am – 2pm
    Stephen & Walker Winery:   707.431.8749Open 11am – 7pm
    Topel Winery Tasting Room:  707.433.4116Open 11am – 5pm
    Walt Wines :  707.933.4440   Open 11am – 4pm
    White Oak Vineyards:   707.433.8429Open 10am – 2pm

 

Special Thanks to Winecountry.com for the list.  Always a good idea to contact the wineries directly to verify before coming in.