Travel Guide: Napa/ Sonoma

Happy Thursday! 

I wanted to share with you our Napa/Sonoma Travel guide! Rhys and I recently (#rhysently funny inside joke) just got back from wine country for our Mini Moon.

How to Spend three days in Napa: 

We flew direct from Chicago to San Francisco and rented a car, by the time we traveled west and drove up north to Napa we were exhausted. We stayed at the Andaz, which is perfectly centralized in downtown Napa. For dinner, we called ahead and ordered Italian from Oenotri and ate it in bed. It felt so nice after a long day of traveling, to just relax. 

Wine Country Tips: 

  • Don’t go to more than three wineries a day! Rather spend a longer time at the ones you are at. If you find a wine you have really enjoyed during your tasting, get a glass or a bottle and hang out on their beautiful grounds! 
  • Food: I was so impressed with everything we ate while we were there, do your research, save our travel guides and make reservations!
  • Getting around. There are a couple of ways to get around, but make sure to be safe and if you aren’t okay to drive don’t! The cops were definitely out patrolling the area. 
    • Wine Tours: There are so many tours you can do that will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel. Rhys and I just wanted to go at our own pace, so we didn’t opt for any winery tours. 
      • Here are some that were recommended to us:
        • Cinnamon’s Wine Tours – Small local company with knowledgeable drivers and excellent service. The hourly rate for an SUV is $85 per hour with a 6-hour minimum. Mercedes Sprinter for $125 an hour that seats up to nine people with a 6-hour minimum.
        • Noble Wine Tours: This team knows a lot about the history of Napa and Sonoma. They always carry a camera to capture special moments throughout the day!  An SUV is $90 per hour with a 6-hour minimum, they also have Sprinters for larger parties:  7 people $105/hour, same hourly minimum, and 13 passengers for $150 an hour.
        • Legacy Wine Tours: Another smaller transportation company. SUV for $90 per hour with a 6-hour minimum and $45 refuel charge.
    • Ubers: Our concierge told us that ubers were sparse. When we looked on the app, it did look like they would take longer to get to you but it’s definitely doable. 
    • Renting a Car/ Hiring a Driver: You can rent a car and then hire someone to drive your car. We were quoted $50 per hour for someone to do this. You can always designate someone as the driver too, switching off days if you don’t want to pay that. Luckily for Rhys, I was sick the entire time so I only had a little to drink and was able to drive our car. 
    • Hiring a driver: This is definitely the most expensive option and can definitely add up. See some of your options above!
    • Wine Clubs: You don’t have to join every wine club at every winery! We only joined one and then bought a bottle from each winery we liked and brought them home with us. 

Where we Drank:


Everyone told us that Napa was really commercial. For our first full day, we focused more on the Napa/ St. Helena region. There are so many wineries in this region, honestly, it was so hard to pick where we wanted to go. I gathered lists from friends, colleagues and the internet. Sharing the ones we went to!

Long Meadow Ranch
This was the only winery we went to that we did a tour, but I loved it. It was only Rhys and me, plus two other couples. It was more intimate and we didn’t have to wait for a large group of people to pack into a bus. During our tour, we also did our tasting. During the tasting, you got a tour of their wine caves and they paired the wine with meat and cheese. After that, we went to their restaurant for brunch and everything was insanely delicious. We did join their wine club and just received our first shipment!

Darioush Winery 
Beautiful grounds at Darioush and we got to try five different wines, as opposed to four at some of the other wineries. We decided just to sit at the bar for the one-hour tasting and then walked around the grounds after.

Domaine Carneros 
WOW! What a place! Felt like I was right at home haha. Instead of doing a traditional wine tasting like every other winery we had been going to, I did a sparkling wine flight. This was right up my alley!


Since we stayed in Downtown Napa we got to explore that a little more. We drove through downtown Sonoma but didn’t have time to stop. They really do feel like two different worlds. Sonoma is much more quaint and definitely has some more character. Napa’s downtown is definitely more built up with newer construction.

Ram’s Gate :
Ram’s gate, wow the tasting room and the room for their club members was so beautiful. At this point, I think we both just wanted to relax and not rush through a tasting. We bought a bottle of their Cabernet Sauvignon and sat by their pond. During the summer they have live music by the pond, but we missed that by one weekend. 

Viansa Sonoma:
This winery was recommended to us by some of our friends! What worked out perfectly is that it was a six-minute drive from Ram’s gate. From the second we walked into Viansa they were playing Chicago by Frank Sinatra it felt like we were right at home. Along with their wine tasting, they have a cute store and a little market so we bought meat and cheese and sat on their patio overlooking their grounds. Stacy also visited when she and Kyle went on a Mini Moon to Sonoma, you can see her post here!

Cline which was on my list, but we didn’t make it there was actually just across the street from Viansa Sonoma. 


If you are looking for something other than wine or olive oil tasting, there are a lot of other things you can do in Napa! ATVs and lunch, wineries by bike, fish flying, golfing, horseback riding, river wine tours, paddle boarding, Napa Valley Wine Train or hot air balloon rides. We narrowed it down to the Napa Valley Wine Train or the hot air balloon. We ultimately chose the hot air balloon because it had been something I have wanted to do for so long and thought it was more of a once in a lifetime experience!

Napa Valley Wine Train: If you stay in downtown Napa you can walk to the train and if I ever go back to that area I will definitely choose this experience. You can do half or full-day tours and it seems like most of the experiences come with a meal. There’s something about this that just takes me back in time and would want to get dressed up with all my girlfriends or a romantic date night with your significant other.

Hot Air Balloon Ride 
Hands down this was the best thing we did in Napa! The wineries were fun, but this is an experience I will never forget. Soaring into the sky in a Hot Air Balloon ride has been one of the top things on my bucket list for a very long time. I am so excited that Rhys and I got to experience this adventure together as husband and wife! 

The take-off was slow and smooth. Since I am a little scared of heights while we were up there I made sure to look out and not down. As we were slowly climbing into the sky, the sun was rising just over the mountains and the wineries. It was so beautiful! 

We chose our adventure with NVA Loft. Everything was very organized, from the time the driver picked us up promptly at 6:15 am to the take-off, landing and pick up from the landing spot. Highly recommend it!

Where we ate:

Boon Fly Cafe:

Start your day with boon fly’s donuts or any item on their breakfast menu and you will thank me! I had one mini donut, but truly I could have had an entire dozen. I also continued to eat a delicious fat burrito and Rhys had their Salmon Flatbread. Must Eat: DONUTS!

Angele is situated in downtown Napa right along the river. Such a quaint spot with indoor and outdoor seating. I was feeling pretty sick this night so I stuck to French onion soup and bread. Rhys enjoyed the soup as well, along with their Branzino. 
Must Eat: Since I wasn’t feeling great this night the French onion soup was perfectly delicious!

Farmstead at Longmeadow Ranch: This might have been one of my favorite meals. We split a meat and cheese board, a burger and chicken wings. I am not a big wings person, but I am still thinking about how delicious they were and I wish I could find somewhere in Chicago that made something so delicious! Must Eat: Smoked Chicken wings with Alabama white sauce.

Restoration Hardware in Yountville:
There is an enormous RH in downtown Chicago that we have gone to a couple of times. The large chandeliers and the entire atmosphere is a dream, so when Rhys told me there was one in Yountville I knew we had to go. Just a 15-minute drive north of Napa. 
Must Eat: Burrata with heirloom tomatoes, Genovese basil pesto, and charred sourdough.

Gotts: Every time we go to California it seems like In-n-Out is a must eat, but last time we had it I wasn’t totally impressed. There are two locations, we ordered from the one located in downtown Napa. Must Eat: Literally anything on the menu!

Graces Table:

Right downtown and two blocks from where we stayed at the Andaz Napa. I had chilaquiles, something that I ALWAYS get when I see it on the menu because it’s not something I have all of the time. Rhys had the fish tacos and onion rings. An odd choice for breakfast, but whatever floats your boat! Must Eat: Chilaquiles!

Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery:

Both part of the Thomas Keller restaurant group. Rhys grabbed a coffee at the bakery before we went to dinner. I kept eyeing some of their delicious baked goods and we were able to try the bread at dinner which was divine. If we stayed in Yountville I definitely would have gone to the bakery for breakfast to eat one of the croissants. Must Eat: Duh the french onion soup and a lot of other things on their menu, but we just did a light dinner this night because we had been eating all day!

My Napa Outfits:

Thank you for stopping by, as always let us know if you ever try any of our recommendations! We really enjoyed eating and drinking our way through Napa and hope you do too!

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