Contact Wally

Use the form on the right to contact me.

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!

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 $50 off per couple 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.

Spend a Night at Meritage Resort and Get a FREE Wine Pass!

Local Wally

MERITAGE RESORT AND SPA: SPECIAL OFFER, HOLIDAY DISCOUNT, FREE PRIORITY WINE PASS OFFER!

Looking for a GREAT Holiday gift that's not only a good deal but thoughtful, romantic, wonderful, and shows you have style and class?  Then order the Meritage Resort Napa Deal and get the following:

  • One Night Stay at Napa's Meritage Resort: This is a full featured resort with all of the amenities, including a wine cave with spa treatment and wine tasting. 
  • A FREE Priority Wine Pass:  Get a year's worth of discounts and two for one tastings in Napa and Sonoma and other wine regions.
  • Get FREE agendas built by me, Local Wally. I'll help you plan out your day and send you to my favorite discounted wineries, including many that only offer deals and discounts to my readers. Want to taste in caves? Do a blending experience? Food and Wine pairing? I got them all!
  • AND THAT'S NOT ALL!  Get a FREE bonus of your choice, such as champagne and strawberries or cheese and fruit platters for the room. i told you this was romantic!

If buying a gift for your spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend is causing you to stress out it's time to de-stress and order this package. Only $249 to $299 depending on the day you stay.  You can also use it for yourself and treat yourself to a fun getaway.

Read more about it here! 

Local Wally Launches a New SonomaTouristGuide Site (and boy is it great!)

Local Wally

Local Wally's Sonoma Tourist Guide for free coupons, deals, and honest advice!

Local Wally's Sonoma Tourist Guide for free coupons, deals, and honest advice!

If you're spending more than a couple of days in Napa you owe it to yourself to spend a day in Sonoma. There's a certain charm to Sonoma, a laid back agricultural feel to this town that makes it a nice contrast to the more sophisticated Napa. Taste in barns, picnic just about anywhere, cheap tastings, it's a throwback to when wine tasting wasn't an expensive event but something you did on a weekend whim.  And yes, you can still find FREE wine in Sonoma and special discounts.

So check it out:  Local Wally's Guide to Sonoma at SonomaTouristGuide.com and let me know what you think. And yes, I'll build you a custom stop by stop agenda for free if you get a Wine Pass and need help picking them out.

Give Your Napa and Sonoma Wine Lovers The Best Holiday Christmas Gift Ever!

Local Wally

Looking for the Ultimate Christmas Holiday Gift for Your Napa Wine Loving Friends?  Get them a PRIORITY WINE PASS!

Here's the deal:  Use promo code WALLYSALE when ordering your pass at PriorityWinePass.com and they'll send you the physical plastic pass, excellent for gift giving and good for two for one tastings in Napa and Sonoma and other popular wine regions for only $45.   It's good for a full year so your friends can visit the wineries again and again, saving half on tasting fees and getting exclusive VIP treatment.  You only need ONE pass per couple. $45? Christmas gift - DONE!

The pass is excellent for anyone traveling to Napa or Sonoma for a vacation visit but even better for your friends who live in the Bay Area and go wine tasting multiple times a year.  They will LOVE YOU for this!


HERE'S HOW THE WINE PASS WORKS:

  1. Go to any of the 75+ wineries in Napa and Sonoma that accept the pass.  Here is the complete list:  https://www.prioritywinepass.com/wine-regions/offers-wineries/
  2. Show them the pass and get Two for One tastings!  Save on average $25 at every wine tasting stop!

As a bonus you can let your friends know that if they want a custom stop by stop agenda all they need to do is ask me and I'll create it for them based on the types of wines they like.


ORDER NOW!  HOLIDAY OFFER EXPIRES DEC 10TH, 2016! 

Click For Limited Time Exclusive Offer: FREE Wine at Kivelstadt Cellars in Sonoma!

Local Wally

Free Wine Offer at Kivelstadt Cellars

Kivelstadt Cellars FREE Wine Offer for Local Wally Readers

Did I get your attention?  I hope so because Kivelstadt Cellars has an insanely fantastic offer for my readers who have a Priority Wine Pass!  Read on, I can barely believe it myself!

  • Flash your pass and get 2 comp tastings
  • And get 20% off all wine purchases
  • AND get 50% off a growler of wine and receive the growler for free!

This offer is only good through November 2016 and to get it you must have a Priority Wine Pass and mention the HARVEST SPECIAL when you arrive.  Go ahead, name drop Local Wally as well and maybe they'll even top off that pour for you :-)

Tell Me More About Kivelstadt Cellars

Kivelstadt Cellars Tasting & Taproom focuses on engaging customers with wine in new ways. They're changing the traditional tasting room experience in every way; from their winemaking style and varieties, to their packaging and on premise consumption. They serve wine for tastings straight out of kegs which eliminates packaging waste and wine spoilage. They also offer wine to go in both traditional bottles under a cork or in reusable packaging (growlers), which offers both a monetary discount on wine to consumers and another way to eliminate packaging waste.

How to Get the Most of the Priority Wine Pass

1.  First, order it here - get ONE pass for every two people.  Use my discount link to get it for $39.99.

2.  Email me when you have it and I'll send you the promo code and then help you pick out the rest of your wineries and put them together in a stop by stop, day by day agenda - for FREE!  Honest advice, no kickbacks from the wineries, my goal is to make sure that if you got the pass because of me that you get your money's worth.

Looking for a Napa Driver? Let Priority Wine Pass Drive You Around Napa!

Local Wally

Meet Jamie, the Owner of the Priority Wine Pass

NEW! Priority Wine Pass Now Offering Private Wine Tasting Tours

If picking wineries is hard, picking someone to drive your rental car around is even harder. You don't want some college kid to drive you around, you want someone who knows the area, knows the wineries, and someone who is fun to hang out with all day. Well guess what? Jamie, the owner of the Priority Wine Pass, is now offering her driving services to my readers. That's A-MAZ-ING!

Jamie is a super nice gal who lives in Napa and knows the wineries. She'll take you on a whirlwind private tour of Napa hitting up wineries that most tourists don't know about. And trust me, when you walk into the wineries with Jamie you can expect top notch VIP service that you won't get with other drivers. You'll discover great new wineries and get special attention to boot.

CONTACT JAMIE TO GET MORE INFO!

Special Napa Tour Packages for Every Budget

No hidden fees, no sticker shock, you'll know exactly how much you'll spend when you book with Jamie. You provide the car and she will drive you to the winery locations. Wine tasting fees not included but she'll pick wineries that will give you two for one tastings.

The Napa on a budget Tour (3 hours)

  • $85 per person, 2 person minimum
  • Pickup at 930 and stop at Oxbow or nearby Market where you'll get picnic supplies.
  • First winery stop at 1030 where you'll get a two for one tasting.
  • Second winery stop at 1130 where you'll enjoy your picnic and get two for one glasses of wine.
  • Drop you back off at hotel OR if you wanted to do more tastings she will drop you off in Yountville where she'll give you a list of tasting rooms where you can get more two for one tastings. All the tasting rooms are walking distance so you can easily spend an afternoon exploring and later dining. You should be able to squeeze in 3 more wine tasting experiences, all two for one and then call a taxi for a ride back to your hotel (taxi fee not included).
  • Includes 1 Priority Wine Pass per couple that you can keep and reuse for more two for one tastings, good for a full year.
  • BONUS:  Ask for the Local Wally special when booking and get a FREE bottle of exceptional Napa chardonnay or cab to enjoy later!

The VIP full day napa tour (6 hours)

  • $165 per person, 2 person minimum
  • Pickup at 930 and stop at Oxbow or nearby Market where you'll get picnic supplies.
  • First winery stop is Bell Winery where you'll experience the 90 minute Grape to Glass tour, a wonderful introduction to how wine is made with a private tasting deep inside the winery. Two for one, of course.
  • Second winery stop at 1230 where you'll enjoy your picnic and get two for one glasses of wine.
  • Third stop is an Exclusive VIP tour at AuburnJames where you'll do a bit of wine and cheese tasting along with additional pours from their top of the line cab, a $125 bottle of wine. Two for one again.
  • 2 more winery stops, two for one tasting fees, selected based on your wine tastes.
  • Drop off at hotel OR Yountville if you wanted to do more two for one tastings on your own.
  • Includes 1 Priority Wine Pass per couple that you can keep and reuse for more two for one tastings, good for a full year.
  • BONUS:  Ask for the Local Wally special and get a FREE bottle of champagne that you can enjoy later that evening.

Expect the unexpected like barrel tasting or tasting in a cave!

How to Book a Tour with Jamie

That's easy. Just email her and let her know the dates you want her to drive you and she'll confirm availability and set up your pickup times.  Why let any old driver take you around when you can get VIP treatment when you walk in with Jamie from the Priority Wine Pass? This special offer is for my readers only so check it out!

Remember - EMAIL HER for more info!

You Wont Believe this Exclusive Discount Offer at Auburn James Winery!

Local Wally

Auburn James Winery in Napa - Exclusive Local Wally offer!

Local Wally's Exclusive VIP Discount Offer at Auburn James Winery in Napa

Get a Two for One tasting, a special VIP pour of their Bella Vista Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($125 per bottle, baby!), a cheese platter, a personal private tour, and lots of personal attention.  The tasting alone is normally $35 per person but you get two tastings and all the extras for the same price - but only for a limited time.

What?  You've never heard of AuburnJames?  That's the point! While everyone is lining up at the bar and fighting for a spot at the big name wineries you'll be casually sipping a very exclusive wine, tossing a bocce ball, kicking back and enjoying every minute. Compare this experience to what you might find at one of the big touristy wineries - you know, big crowds, fighting for elbow room at the bar, and the obnoxious guy who seems to show up at every winery you visit. Egads, get out of there and get into AuburnJames!

HOW TO GET THIS DEAL

1.  This offer is included with your Priority Wine Pass.  To get a pass go here to order.  It will be $39.99 but you only need one pass per couple. And remember, the Priority Wine Pass gets you two for one's all over Napa and Sonoma so your savings are just beginning.

This offer is only good during Harvest 2016 but if you can get your pass and make your reservations for anytime in the next year. That's right, even if you are coming next Summer you can get this deal - as long as you buy the Priority Wine Pass now and book your reservation this Fall.

2.  Call to make reservations and ask for the LOCAL WALLY AND PRIORITY WINE PASS HARVEST SPECIAL.  That's it, easy as pie!  This is an exclusive offer that you won't find on anywhere else but you must ask for it - "Harvest Special!!"

3.  You want to picnic?  Let them know when making your reservation and they'll have a Dean & Deluca box lunch waiting for you.  No, you can't bring in your own food but who cares if Dean & Deluca is catering???

Taste inside their quaint cottage.

ABOUT THIS WINERY

AuburnJames wines begin in the Spring of each growing season when Jim & Matt walk the vineyards discussing what each would like to achieve for the club membership for that vintage. The plan is then written in pencil and Mother Nature makes the changes that she deems necessary for the vintage. At harvest, fruit is carefully selected from each block within each vineyard. These relationships with independent growers throughout Northern California enable AuburnJames to enjoy the best fruit that many of the AVAs have to offer. From great fruit, and Jim’s artistry, AuburnJames has been able to produce award winning wines year over year.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Expect to spend around 90 minutes here if you do the tour, tasting, cheese pairing and VIP pours. Maybe add a few minutes if you plan to play some bocce ball or relax in the gardens. Maybe allow an entire afternoon and open a bottle and just forget about your other plans! This offer is good for Harvest 2016 and may expire without notice so get your pass and make that reservation to lock in this deal!  Tastings are at 10, 12 and 2.

Get a FREE Discount for Tram Ride and Upgraded Tasting at Sterling Vineyards

Local Wally

Sterling Winery Vineyards FREE Coupon!

I often get asked which winery to go to that offers more than just wine tasting, something that's a bit of an adventure. Maybe you have non-drinking age kids, maybe you want to give your designated driver a break, maybe you just want to do something completely different. If that sounds like you then Sterling Winery might be the ticket.

Tram at Sterling Vineyards

Climb aboard the tram for a breathtaking ride to the top of the mountain where you can take a self guided tour through the winery and then relax in a seated tasting on the patio surrounded by pine trees and a glorious view. But don't pay full price!  Instead you can use the free coupon below and get a free upgrade. No catches, no gimmicks, no tweeting or jumping through hoops, just mention the ad and you are good to go, though I'm sort of a worry wart so I recommend you print it or save it on your phone and show it when purchasing your tickets.

Did You Want More FREE Napa Wine Tasting Deals?

I have them! Local Wally was the very first website to collect and give away all of the free Napa wine tasting deals on one site. Today there are a number of competing sites but none of them offer what I do - free unbiased advice to help you plan your trip. I'm not a corporation, I don't have a staff of writers, I respond to every email personally and don't charge for my assistance. And I never recommend stuff I don't like! I'll help you pick wineries, restaurants, and even help you plan out a Napa on a Budget trip.

So Email me and get more free Napa wine tasting deals! And enjoy your tram ride at Sterling Vineyards!