Napa Valley Weekend Getaway Itinerary
Napa Valley offers the perfect weekend getaway to relax, drink wine, eat great food and enjoy beautiful views. There are over 500 wineries in Napa Valley which gives an overwhelming amount of options to choose from. This Napa Valley weekend getaway itinerary features some of the top wineries that you should visit during a weekend in Napa Valley. Continue reading to learn about the best time to visit Napa Valley, where to stay in Napa Valley, and more tips for visiting Napa Valley.
Best Time to Visit Napa Valley
The best time to spend a weekend in Napa Valley depends on what you are looking for. Each season has different advantages and disadvantages, but no matter the season you visit I am sure you will have a great weekend in Napa Valley.
Fall: If you want to visit during the best weather and when there are more activities, I recommend coming during Harvest season which is August-October. This is is also the busiest time in Napa Valley so hotels can be more expensive.
Winter: In the winter the weather can be chilly and rainy, but you will see the least amount of people compared to the other seasons. The high at this time is usually around 50 degrees and the vines will be bare.
Spring: In the spring you will get good weather but the vines will still be bare. It won’t be as busy as during the fall.
Summer: Summers can get hot in Napa Valley with temperatures up to 90 degrees. During the summer there can be wildfires in the area which could affect your plans.
Where to Stay in Napa Valley for a Weekend
There are many accommodation options to choose from for your weekend getaway in Napa Valley. On Airbnb you can find private rooms, apartments, and entire houses to rent. If you prefer to stay at a hotel, you can find a range of hotels on booking.com in Napa. The price of hotels varies largely depending on the season, so if are looking for cheaper options you might want to consider visiting in the winter. The prices are significantly higher for accommodation during Harvest season in the fall. Downtown Napa is a good spot to base yourself for the weekend as it is close to the wineries in the south and is walkable so you can enjoy nice evenings walking around.
How to Choose a Winery to Visit in Napa Valley
With so many wineries in Napa it can be hard to decide on which wineries to visit during your weekend in Napa Valley. Some of the factors you could consider to choose a winery include the grape variety they specialize in, the price of a tasting or tour, and the views and unique architecture of the winery.
By Grape Variety
The wineries in Napa Valley produce different varieties of wine depending on the area that they are in. In the south part of Napa, called Carneros, the wineries are known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In the north part of Napa the wineries are known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the more heavy-bodied wines.
You can find a big price range for wine tasting in Napa Valley. One way to choose the wineries is by how much you are willing to spend on wine tasting. Wineries can have different prices depending on the tasting flight you choose (white, red, reserve) as well as the location where you do the tasting.
By Views and Architecture
Each winery in Napa Valley has an exciting and unique architecture. You might be interested in checking out a winery for its nice views and the experience of the unique building. For example, Domain Carnerous has a nice Chateau and beautiful views of the surrounding valley.
How to Get to Napa Valley
Napa Valley is located 60 miles north of San Francisco. The closest airports to Napa Valley are OAK (60 miles, 1 hour 15 min), SFO (70 miles, 1 hour 30 min), and SJC (95 miles, 1 hour 35 min). I recommend flying into one of these airports and renting a car for the weekend to get to and around Napa Valley.
How to Get Around Napa Valley
The easiest way to get around Napa Valley is to drive if you have a sober driver. However, if you are planning to do a lot of wine tasting, the best way to get around Napa Valley is to use Uber or Lyft. If you have a big group of people you could also consider reserving a shuttle service or booking a wine tour.
Tips for Visiting Napa Valley
- Make sure to research the wineries ahead of time and make a reservation if they have the option to make one. You don’t want to be stuck without a reservation on a busy weekend in Napa!
- Stick to your budget. Napa can get expensive so research the prices of wine tasting and tours ahead of time and know how much you are willing to spend.
- Consider drinking a glass of wine or splitting a bottle of wine with your friends instead of wine tasting at some vineyards, as this can sometimes be cheaper and you can still enjoy wine and the beautiful views.
- If you have had too much wine or want to save money, you can always split a flight with one of your friends!
Napa Valley Weekend Itinerary
Fly into OAK, SFO, or SJC and drive to Napa Valley. Spend the evening walking around downtown Napa and get dinner at one of the local restaurants. You can find a variety of restaurants in Napa including Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean, French, Spanish, American and more.
On your first full day of your weekend in Napa Valley, visit wineries in the south part of Napa, which are known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This region is called Carneros and is only about 15 minutes from downtown Napa. The wineries here aren’t very spread out so it is easy to visit several of them.
Next on your Napa Valley weekend itinerary, visit Domain Carnerous, a popular winery known for Pinot Noir and sparkling wine. The chateau where the winery is located is beautiful and elegant, inspired by a chateau in Champagne, France. Wine tasting at Domain Carnerous is one of the best things to do in Napa Valley and a highlight of this Napa Valley weekend getaway itinerary. Don’t forget to make a reservation on the Domain Carnerous website ahead of time. The wine tasting is done at individual tables, all with great views of the surrounding vineyards. You can choose from their selection of tasting flights including a sparking wine sampler, a red wine sampler, and a Pinot Noir sampler. If you are getting hungry you can add a pairing such as a cheese plate or charcuterie plate. Check the Domain Carnerous website for the latest flight and pairing prices.
Continue wine tasting during your weekend in Napa Valley at Artesa. This unique winery was built by a Barcelona architect to blend with the surrounding landscape. The winery is located on a hill with water features and panoramic views of the valley. Artesa is known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. You can make a reservation for wine tasting and see the latest prices on the Artesa website.
Looking to explore another wine region in the California? Check out this article for the best weekend getaway in Temecula.
Dinner and Explore Downtown Napa
Downtown Napa is small but has a range of restaurants and wineries. Enjoy a nice dinner and then checkout a couple of winery tasting rooms if you are up for drinking more wine.
Finish your weekend getaway in Napa Valley exploring the vineyards in the north. These vineyards are more spread out and a longer drive from downtown Napa than the vineyards in the south. The vineyards here are known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and the more heavy-bodied wines.
Star your last day in Napa Valley with a traditional Sunday brunch: Eggs, pancakes, french toast, mimosa, or all of the above. You don’t want to wine taste on an empty stomach!
Castello Di Amorosa
A Napa Valley weekend itinerary is not complete without visiting Castello Di Amorosa. This winery in Calistoga makes you feel like you have been transported to Tuscany. The 121,000 square foot castle took 15 years to build and was built from stone and brick imported from Europe. At Castello Di Amorosa I recommend doing a wine tour to learn more about the wine making process and have a more intimate wine tasting experience in Napa. On the tour you will also learn more about the history of the castle and Darrio Sattui, the founder. There are several tasting and tour options that you can reserve on the Castello Di Amorosa website.
Sterling Vineyards is situated on a hill with views of the valley below. Your visit will start with an aerial tram ride up to the hill where the winery is located. Then you will begin a self guided tour to learn more about the winemaking process, with wine tasting along the way. This is a great winery to visit if you want to learn more about winemaking but want to go at your own pace. At the end of the tour you will take the aerial tram back down, getting to see the great views once again. The aerial tram and self guided wine tour at Sterling Vineyards will be one of the highlights of your weekend getaway in Temecula. You don’t have to make a reservation ahead of time, but you can do so on the Sterling Vineyards website and choose from a few tasting options.
Finish your Napa Valley weekend getaway itinerary at Beringer Vineyards. Beringer Vineyards estate is the longest continuously operating winery in Napa, and was designated a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. The Rhine House is a unique building with stained glass windows and interesting architecture. You can spend time walking around the estate, do a wine tasting, have a picnic with a bottle of wine, or relax with a glass of wine. You can see the most up to date prices and make a reservation ahead of time on the Beringer Vineyards website.
More Wineries to Add to Your Napa Valley Weekend Getaway Itinerary
If you have more time, you could add these wineries below to your Napa Valley weekend getaway itinerary. To see a longer list of Napa Valley wineries to choose from, you can refer to the Visit Napa Valley website.
- Chateau Montelena Winery is a beautiful castle winery in St. Helena.
- V. Sattui has the same founder as Castello Di Amorosa, so you know it will be good.
- Stags Leap is a beautiful estate known for its Petite Sirah.
- Clos Pegase has unique architecture and 20,000 square feet of caves holding aging wine barrels that you can explore.
While in California, you could add more time to your trip and drive down to Big Sur to create the ultimate road trip. Big Sur is located 3 hours south of Napa Valley. Check out our Big Sur Road Trip Itinerary.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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