Activities & Events
From immersive olive oil tastings to good, old fashioned rubber-meets-the-road adventuring, there are a host of fun ways to get out and experience Napa Valley.
On Golden Pond
875 Rutherford Road, Rutherford | (707) 302-2575
One of our favorite Napa days was spent roaming groves of blooming olive trees, tasting ten varietals of liquid gold and lounging with giant goblets of red wine at the luxuriant Round Pond Estate. Prolific producers of both premium olive oils and delicious wines, Round Pond is the total tasting package, an opportunity to learn, savor and relax.
The Olive Mill Experiences commence with a look at the Round Pond operation, from the crops to the hulking stone ground mill production process. Then comes the best part: the tastings. A guided tour through flavors from grassy to spicy to buttery, this is a real immersion in what a difference great olive oils and vinegars can make for food.
Across Rutherford Road is Round Pond’s stately main manor, whose impeccably designed interior spills out onto a sunlit stone terrace with panoramic vineyard views. That you can taste their easy-drinking Rutherford wines while basking in such loveliness is simply the radiant finishing touch on a remarkable sensory feast.
Pedal & Picnic
One of the most delightful ways to navigate Napa’s serene backroad vineyard trails is on two wheels. Many of the hotels are hip to this preferred mode of transport and offer a pair of cruisers with your room, but there are plenty of rental options should you need them. Napa Valley Bike Tours rents a variety of bike styles (tandem, anyone?) in 2-hour and full day increments, and St. Helena Cyclery in downtown has a sweet stable of Trek bikes for your pedaling pleasure. Both of the bike shops can help you chart your course by providing a trail map to nearby wineries, setting you up for a perfectly picturesque lunch. Before you hit the road, design your own picnic at one of the premier local food shops. Not only is Oakville Grocery cute as a button, it offers some of the finest specialty salads and sandwiches in the area. And in St. Helena, Sunshine Foods is a different kind of market, with all of the high-quality produce and hard-to-find goodies you’d expect from a foodie town favorite. Finally, W.J. Giugni Grocery Co. is one of the best Italian delis around. Get there pre-noon to have your sandwich made on the cult favorite Dutch Crunch bread – it sells out early and often!
Smell The Roses (And The Oyster Leaf Spinach)
6601 Washington Street, Yountville | (707) 363-9552
3801 St. Helena Highway, Calistoga | (707) 942-4575
So far-reaching is Thomas Keller’s considerable influence on the current food landscape that he eclipses any celebrity chef’ designation. But the multi-course dinners and cookbooks and products all stem from a passion for the very finest ingredients. Go to the source (and see your future dinner in its natural habitat) at The French Laundry Garden across from its namesake restaurant on Washington Street. Study the pristine rows of both common produce (radishes, cabbage), and those of a more exotic variety (Fairy Tale eggplant, white strawberries), or simply have a seat on the bench and appreciate the simplicity of a lovingly tended plot. The Bothe-Napa Valley State Park hiking trails continue the outdoorsy side of our itinerary, their sloping routes offering a different look at the Valley’s environs. With its top-of-the-world views, The Coyote Peak Trail is well-worth the time investment, and the historic Bale Grist Mill also deserves a peek.
Get Thee To Greystone
2555 Main Street, St. Helena | (707) 967-1100
The august stone structure of The Culinary Institute at Greystone first appears from the St. Helena Highway as a formidable castle-like landmark, a buzzing hive of activity for weekend hobbyists and future top chefs alike. Whether you’re a baker with a passion for pain, or a wine enthusiast looking to perfect your palate, The CIA offers a wide-ranging curriculum that whets your appetite for a greater food and wine appreciation. Even if you can’t commit to a class, give Greystone a visit – its beautiful campus and place in the annals of Napa Valley history are worth a closer look. Hop on a 30-minute tour that includes the Greystone Herb Garden and the Vintners Hall of Fame or watch a live cooking demo. Dine at any one of the on-site restaurants which include the wine pairing-centered menu in partnership with Wine Spectator, a student-served farm-to-table restaurant featuring CIA farm produce, and an illy café starring intoxicating fresh-baked bread and pastries.