As someone who loves beer so much (and is in fact on a beer drinking journey), I am not what people call an oenophile. An oenophile is just a fancy schmancy term for someone who loves wine. In fact, I’ve been travelling around the world in a quest to try out every beer on the planet.
And this beer drinking journey has taken me to so many beautiful places where I’ve met so many people. And yet, as someone who loves to travel so much, I thought to myself, why am I limiting myself to places and experiences where beer abounds? Why not expand my love for travel and drink sampling to places known for other fermented concoctions?
That train of thought is how I found myself in Napa County, California. Known for the Napa Valley wine region, I would often wander into quality wine shop after quality wine shop, which is how Idiscovered why this place is so famous for well, wine, among other things.
Read on if you want to know how to make the most out of your visit to Napa Valley.
Napa Valley Wine Train
I highly recommend going on the Napa Valley Wine Train. It’s the perfect way to scope out the beauty of the valley, tasting wine as you chug along through acres of vineyards and stopping at historic structures. You can take the Quattro Vino Legacy Tour for a crash-course on the history of Napa Valley. And the best part is you get to do it while riding in a refurbished, antique railcar.
If you’re not into a guided tour, you can also just pick up a map and visit other historically significant sites that are not included in the tour. You just won’t get to do it from an antique railcar.
What makes Napa Valley so special are its sprawling acres of vineyards, all growing grapes that will be harvested to make red or white wine. I visited the nearby towns of Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga, and Rutherford to see more of these places. Think nature walk, but with wine.
There were a lot of smaller wineries that allowed for more intimate tours and wine-tasting services in Upvalley. The Stony Hill Vineyard for one, was a really great place I went on a tour. Located north of St. Helena, our tour guide was a granddaughter to the founders of the vineyard, and I got a real kick out of learning the history behind the place.
If you’re exhausted from the swishing, gargling, spitting in a bucket, smelling, and other seemingly highbrow acts of wine-tasting, you can take a break and grab a pint at Fieldwork Brewing Company, which is located in the ever-busy Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa.
They’ve got a wide selection of beers ranging from lagers and IPAs, to sour ales. The best thing is you can grab food from the many establishments in the Oxbow Public Market and enjoy it in their taproom. I got some grub at a French bistro called Angele and paired it with Fieldwork’s Fieldwork Dry before I went back to the hotel for some shuteye.
So there you have it—a quick and easy guide to Napa Valley! I hope you guys get to experience this beautiful place as well as I did. But even after all that wine tasting, I’m still definitely more of a beer guy.