First Trip to Napa

First Trip to Napa 1

Neil and I took our first trip to Napa Valley on Tuesday, 8/27. We went with my brother and his girlfriend who were in town visiting. We decided to go to 2 wineries that would be pretty different but close to each other.

Our trip lead us to Calistoga, CA, which was about 1.5 hours from San Francisco. The drive out there was beautiful; with mountains, vines, warm weather and the signs of familiar wineries.

We began our day at Sterling Vineyards, (, with a tram ride across the valley! The tour was self-guided and allowed us to set our own pace. There were so many beautiful views that we couldn’t stop taking photos. Five wines were pre-selected to taste, with stations throughout the property. This allowed us to really take in the scenery. I usually prefer white wines, due to the fruity aromas, and Sterling had some pretty bouquets!

We stopped for lunch at Bosko’s Trattoria ( to prep for some more wine tastings. We all agreed that this was a nice place for lunch in Calistoga and it was only a few minutes down the road from the wineries! Also for those of you with dietary restrictions, they offer gluten-free pizzas.

After lunch we headed over to Castello di Amorosa. ( We were all in awe of the castle upon arrival! It had authentic medieval architecture, building materials and antiques imported from Italy, and a torture chamber and tower that we could visit. We signed up for the guided tour and were treated like royalty! Our guide Nick, shared history of the Sattui family, the task to build a castle with all imported materials and lots of wine knowledge. There were only about a dozen of us on the tour so it was very personalized. We would definitely recommend it! After our barrel sample, we were brought to a private tasting room for our choice of 5 wines. It was fun to try out the California wines with the Italian influence.

The wine we chose to buy was called Zingaro and was a blend of Zinfandel and Primitivo. Some of you may be thinking these are the same grape and we did too at first. But were told that although they are related, they do have some different characteristics. It was not as spicy with a nice complexity, we’ll definitely be using it for an upcoming Wine and Cheese Friday!

Our trip to Napa was lots of fun and I’m sure we’ll be out here again soon with our next visitors.

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