I am wondering what the best option is for a trip to Napa. We love wine and will be flying up from LA to San Fran mid April.
We (2 people) want to get collect ideally from the airport go up to Napa do wine tasting then hopefully go to French Laundry. Stay the night an get a transfer back to San Fran.
Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks Bridge
Coming over from New Zealand!
Thank you for reaching out with your question. Napa is an easy trip from San Francisco and I know you will love it!
I would recommend contacting Napa Shuttle for your transportation. They will pick you up at the airport and take you around to where you want to go. Since it's a private service, you can stop at any wineries you want. Click here to visit their site for details. You can also call them at 707-648-2222.
In addition, you can set up a second request the morning after you arrive to have them drive you back to San Francisco.
You could also use a shuttle service to get to Napa and then hire a car service to get you around. It would save you a little money, but will take a little more time as they usually pick up several people. One option is Lorrie's Shuttle. You can get quotes online for their services. Click here to learn more.
Wineries to Visit
You will find more than 400 wineries in Napa. They produce a variety of wines. The region is known for their Cabernet Sauvignon and their Chardonnay. However, you will also find Pinot Noir, Merlot, and a wonderful selection of sparkling wines.
If you aren't sure which wineries to visit, you can click here to check out my list of my 15 favorites. Some on this list have amazing wines and others are known for their gorgeous views of the valley. Most wineries offer walk in tasting options. You will only need to make appointment for the higher end wineries such as Opus One and Spring Mountain Vineyards.
The French Laundry
The French Laundry is an excellent choice for both lunch and dinner. They require that you make a reservation in advance as they don't offer walk in seating.
They start taking reservations one month before the date of your dinner. I would call them immediately as the tables are usually booked within the first few minutes of the reservation line being open. They start answering calls at 10am PT and you can reach them at 707.944.2380.
If you are unable to reach them on the day they start taking reservations, it's unlikely you will be able to get in. It's a very popular place and I really hope you are able to get reservations. They rarely disappoint.
Places to Stay
I also wanted to give you a few recommendations on places to stay. You will find a variety of accommodations in Napa. My favorite option is to find a lovely boutique hotel and/or bed and breakfast. There are SO many great options. The only down side is that some require that you stay at least three nights.
You can check out my list here and see what you think. I prefer the small towns of Calistoga and St. Helena over Napa. They are beautiful small towns. However, you will find better nightlife in Napa.
If you are unable to find a boutique hotel that allows you to stay one night, then you will find several great resorts and hotels in the area. They are spread out all over the region, so you can find some off the beaten path as well as some right in the heart of the city of Napa.