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Vintage Napa Valley

California’s classic wine country is always on the menu

It’s morning in California’s Napa Valley, and though most people haven’t yet poured their first cup of coffee, you’ve risen with the sun and are ready to explore. Fortunately, knowing your penchant for early starts, we have reserved something special: a coveted spot at Ehlers Estate’s intimate “Start Your Day” tasting experience. At the historic Saint Helena winery, visitors watch morning’s golden light illuminate the surround­ing mountains as winemaker Kevin Morrisey walks through the estate’s vineyards and speaks about his passion for organic winemaking. Later, in the tasting room, you sample some of Ehlers’ finest vintages, paired with flaky pastries from Thomas Keller’s French-inspired Bouchon Bakery in nearby Yountville.

Though Napa Valley will never be short on charm, having someone who understands your preferences and tastes can mean the difference between a good getaway and an extraordinary experience.

With so much in the valley to explore, our wealth of firsthand experience is key. From the town of Napa in the south to Calistoga in the north, the valley claims a chain of distinct communities, each with its own diversions and vibe, and to visit just one would be a shame. It’s not just about the wine (though that wouldn’t be a bad thing). But here, also, seasonal cuisine rules, haute hotels spoil, and activities from mud baths to hot-air balloon rides beckon. How to decide? We can help, but following are a few of our favorite ways to wine and dine your way through the valley.

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