so, you’re visiting napa for the weekend… day 1

(This post is part 2 of 3 for the perfect weekend itinerary…)
Day 1: St. Helena/ Rutherford/ Yountville

Breakfast in St. Helena:

Grab a coffee from the Model Bakery. The Model Bakery is straight out of a stage set; baking the most beautiful iced cookies, cakes, and brownies. Their pannini sandwiches are as beautiful as they are delicious. Be sure to cross the street and check out Martin Design. Erin Martin has style and taste for days, with her signature aesthetic, amazing books and curiosities.
If you are looking to discover the next cult classic, like Scarecrow or Hourglass, then…. R-U-N, don’t walk, to ACME Fine Wines, just a short walk away. ACME is a local treasure where boutique and virtual wineries sell their teeny production wines, and offer the most incredible selection of impeccably edited wines for their wine clubs. This is not to be missed.

Note to self: Every Friday night from 5- 7pm, some of the finest small vintners in the valley pour their wines.

While in St. Helena, you want to check out:
The Napa Valley Olive Oil Company— established in 1962, this enchanting discovery delights anyone looking for the REAL DEAL. The Particelli family runs this old fashioned Italian market out of a little, white washed barn, seconds from town; and sell an amazing selection of olive oils, sausage and olives. I love giving the olive oil ($15) to my house guests.


Late Lunch: Gott’s Roadside née Taylor’s Refresher…

The Gott brothers’ burger joint is INSTANT NAPA to me—and a modern day slice of AMERICANA, that makes everyday of summer feel like the 4th of July! For us an early lunch at Gott’s, at least once a weekend, is a high priority and serious business, requiring precision timing– as our children wait breathlessly for the 12:30 passing of the wine train. I covet the regular burger with extra special sauce, the sweet potato fries, and the espresso bean shake, made with Double Rainbow ice cream.

The trick to Gott’s is all about timing: either go for an early OR late lunch. But do yourself a favor, don’t show up between 12- 1:30.

Swanson Salon & Swanson Sip Shoppe in Rutherford
The Swanson Salon is a destination for people who share a love for food, wine and travel!

The Salon has spent the last ten years perfecting the Napa tasting experience by celebrating the many ways people enjoy + live with wine, while seeking out the most delicious purveyors of gastronomic delights to pair with our finest and favorite vintages. Inspired by the old salons of Paris + the liveliest of dinner parties, the Salon offers three seated tastings daily, and is lead by a salonière (keeper of the salon). The tasting experience is interwoven with storytelling, wine insights and lots of conviviality! This July we proudly open the Swanson Sip Shoppe, the little sister to the Salon. If you are in town, please come!

Swanson Sip Shoppe in Rutherford

The Swanson Sip Shoppe is a candy store for adults: reinventing the rituals of fine wine, reviving the night cap, offering special wines, clever gifts and decadence with a wink. An informal and cheeky adventure, where our finest vintages are presented in special sip-sized pours: glass “Dixie” cups, mini-Reidel Os, and tiny cordial glasses. Sip Shoppe’s tastings include perfect morsels of Vosges Haut Chocolat chocolate, domestic Tennessee caviar, house-made sorbets, and stinky cheeses – inventively offered.
sip shoppe images

Our Signature Tasting: The Salonière

Our most notorious, coveted and bewitching elixirs.
A case study of the IT wine…
swanson vineyards
Angelica. 1865’s IT wine… haunting heirloom of the gold rush.

Alexis. An expression of today’s IT wine… from our estate-grown Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon.

Enjoy this diabetic coma in our little courtyard, or poolside at your hotel particular!
Cocktails + Dinner: The Auberge du Soleil, in Rutherford
The Auberge is a serious favorite in both winter (at the bar) and summer (on the patio). In the winter, my husband + I LOVE to park ourselves at the bar, next to the fire, with our Scrabble board, a hamburger, and a delicious bottle of wine. Now, summer is a whole new world… I specifically like the expanded bar patio, with its’ bird’s eye view of the valley, perched in the hillside. In my opinion, this is a MUST for anyone’s 2-day itinerary!! The bar menu is perfection and infinitely less expensive than the Dining Room menu and is informal and light. My favorite is the twilight hour, for a glass of rose, followed by a long, lingering dinner. Lingering is the operative word here, as there is just so much to take in— the views, light, sounds, company, conversations around etc…

{photo credits: acme fine wines, nicole mcintosh bruce}

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One Response to so, you’re visiting napa for the weekend… day 1

  1. Wendy Braun says:

    Love all your recommendations! Auberge du Soleil is one of our favorite spots for a drink and a view when we visit Napa. And the Swanson Salon is incredible!!!!!!!!! No place on earth quite like it.

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