As crazy as this sounds, I don’t consider myself an itinerary planner. Usually I let my husband and/or mom decide what we do. I share my specific interests and we chat about our plans, but I’m happy letting them find all the great spots and leading the way! When it came time to plan our St. Helena wineries itinerary, however, I was the only one to do it, so I did a bit of homework and came up with a day of three wineries, delicious coffee stops morning and afternoon, and a delectable and convenient lunch situation! Not bad considering I’m not usually doing it! Besides the convenience of each stop and the order we visited them, these three wineries were a perfect combination. Though just a little over seven miles between beginning and end, these St. Helena wineries each had their own character, no two alike, and the wines of each were so unique from the other. In just a short geographical span, we got a wonderfully diverse taste of the local wines!
Though we stayed in Napa, I really wanted to wander north up the St. Helena Highway for some great wines and some small town cuteness. Our first stop was Bouchon Bakery in Yountville. If you want an overload of cute town, Yountville is where you need to be! And if you need some delicious coffee and an indulgent morsel, Bouchon should be high on your list. There’s a great parking lot across the street. You walk in, order your goodies and enjoy them in the small courtyard just outside between the bakery and the Bouchon Bistro. Before your day of wine tasting begins, I’d recommend wandering down Washington Street – the main drag in town. North of the bakery is French Laundry which has a stunning garden and greenhouse just across the street. There are benches and a nice walking path to really enjoy it all! After you’ve properly enjoyed a quiet morning in Yountville, get in the car and head to the first wine tasting of the day…
Durant & Booth
Durant & Booth is a wine tasting room in a stunning setting. The building is an old family home that been completely redesigned on the interior for a very modern, art deco vibe. I couldn’t get enough of it! Everything from the decadent chandeliers to the eclectic colors of seats and pillows, there’s a surprise at every turn. Wine bottle labels were designed by a New York artist and to complete the experience are postcards of art in the home. In fact, if you fill out the postcard (many with stories and ALL with eccentric art), they’ll mail it for you! Talk about fun! We really enjoyed many of their wines, but we had two favorites. The first was the 2014 Blanc – a white blend of Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Roussanne, Greco di Tufo. Emily picked this one out to try and it ended up being a favorite that I brought home! Our other favorite was the 2012 Reserve – a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot. Where the Blanc is mild and “breezy” (see what I’m talking about here), the Reserve is bold and great for a rich dinner!
After you’ve enjoyed your wine tasting, you’ll want to head next door to Oakville Grocery (see our visit and get all the details here) to get your lunch. You can eat on the picnic tables in the courtyard or in the tasting room is there’s space. Or you can grab lunch for another stop down the road!
St. Supéry Estate
Just a mile up the road is St. Supéry Estate. Drive down the picturesque driveway to the parking lot and tasting room. You’ll get into the wine tasting swing of things doing this “driveway drive” if you haven’t already (just check out the last picture below)! The winery offers tastings as well as curated experiences – all by appointment. We did the Five Bordeaux Varietals & Your Five Senses experience, which focused on the five varietals that make up a Bordeaux. We tasted finished versions (ready for drinking) of each varietal which were paired specifically with cheeses, almonds, and dried fruits that enhanced each of the flavors. We also got to ask tons of viticulture questions and enhance our wine knowledge even more. There’s also a beautiful home on the property, which will take you momentarily to the homes of the South with huge porches and the nearby magnolia tree!
Fantesca Estate & Winery
And for a truly lavish wine tasting experience, request an appoint at Fantesca Estate & Winery. The 10-acre estate boasts picturesque views and an exclusive experience. Wander paths by the vines, walk into the cave, and taste the wines on the beautiful property. Because it’s family owned, there are little details everywhere with a story behind them. Fortune Corkies? The owners’ daughter idea to write fortunes on the corks. They also have an “All Great Things” series of wines produced each year. The series is based on a Winston Churchill quote. Members of Fantesca collect each of the bottles to complete their set. I told you it was an exclusive experience…
While a day full of wineries was certainly fun, I encourage you to drive responsibly if you plan to do so on your own! Lexus very generously loaned us a car for the trip. If everyone in your party wants to indulge in the wine tastings, you should absolutely hire a driver. Have fun and be safe!
Thank you to Durant & Booth, St. Supery, and Fantesca wineries for hosting us on this St. Helena wineries itinerary. And thank you to Lexus for loaning us the 2018 NX300h(hybrid) for our trip to Napa! As always, all opinions are my own.