It really surprised me just how close Napa was to San Francisco. I had really expected to drive for some time before seeing the well known countryside with visions of vineyards for miles and miles. However, very quickly as we made it out of town, the Valley appeared. It's beautiful rolling hills with rows of vines in every direction and vast space of countryside seemed to go on forever.
I had envisioned something slightly different since I had never been to Napa before, and had honestly only seen it in travel internet pictures. It was not at all what I had imagined. It was a very quaint and sedate community. The wineries were all so very different. Some more modern and touristy, while others were really small and very friendly. But each of them had one most important commonthread...wine of course ! All kinds of wine...for every taste and desire.
Myself, I am a Riesling girl. My friend had already researched which wineries in Napa might have a Reisling for me to try..... and we did find that. There were so many wineries that we did not even make it to a third of them, so my comments are only based on those which I was able to visit. This was my first visit and a leisurely trip, so we took our time and enjoyed the wine. We enjoyed the view while stopping alongside the road where I was able to take pictures of the beautiful countryside and document this beautiful place so that I could remember it in detail.
The Robert Mondavi winery is absolutely beautiful and has some very good private selections of wine that I would highly recommend trying. This vineyard has some beautiful views which makes the perfect backdrop for picture enthusiasts, so it really is a must see !
I really enjoyed our visit to the V'Sattui winery in St. Helena. http://www.vsattui.com/ This winery had the Riesling wines which I had looked forward to trying. I actually purchased several bottles of wine and they had some really good red wines as well. I would highly recommend that you do as we did and have a small picnic there outside on the grounds. We purchased some wonderful french cheese and ordered a meatball sandwich there at the winery. Along with a bottle of wine and our picnic lunch at a picnic table outside the winery....what could be more romantic ? The weather was perfect and it made for a very memorable day.
The Beringer winery is also such a gorgeous place that you should definitely visit and tour both sections at Beringer. http://www.beringer.com/
We stayed a really nice place in Rutherford...called the Rancho Caymus Inn which we really liked. http://www.ranchocaymus.com/ It's a very quiet romantic place and very close to a great restaurant within walking distance of the Inn....called the Rutherford Grill where we had the most wonderful steak ! I would highly recommend staying at the Inn and just walking the 1 block to the restaurant as we did, it's literally right next door. http://www.hillstone.com/#/restaurants/rutherfordGrill/
I think besides the great wine, great company, and the gorgeous weather, I would say that the most enjoyable part of Napa was riding around just viewing the vineyards. It's such a leisurely pace that you will enjoy taking it slow and enjoying the sites.