Napa Valley: 10 Places to Raise a Glass

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    Drink in a Gorgeous View While Sipping Napa Wine

    Napa Valley is home to more than 400 wineries, most of them family-owned. It can be a daunting task to choose which to visit, as each has its own particular charm and history. The terrace and the adjacent tasting room of the Silverado Vineyards, perched high on a hill in the heart of Napa Valley, offer a commanding view over the valley-- a perfect spot for an afternoon sip.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

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    Ride the Aerial Tram of Sterling Vineyards for a New High

    Half the fun of visiting Sterling Vineyards is getting there. An aerial tram glides you 300 ft. up the hill to the winery, the architecture of which was modeled after that found on the Greek island of Mykonos.  After a self-guided tour of the winery, you can sip several varieties of Sterling wines on the terrace as you admire the panoramic views of the mountain ranges flanking the valley.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

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    Go Back in Time for a Medieval Wine Tasting Experience

    Wine tasting in a recreation of a 13th century Tuscan castle is certainly a Napa experience to remember.  If you’ve ever been to Italy, you will marvel at the authenticity of the Castello di Amorosa, which critics tout as one of the most unique wineries in America.  The castle was built using original medieval bricks and artifacts from Europe and features a dramatic courtyard, moat, drawbridge, torture chamber, and great hall decorated with exquisite frescoes.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

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    A Romantic Wine and Dine on a Vintage Train

    The thrill of experiencing the beauty of the valley while fine dining on a vintage train is what keeps the Napa Valley Wine Train one of the area’s most popular attractions. You can choose from a variety of lunch and dinner options, some of which include winery tours. The cuisine is definitely gourmet, and you can savor your favorite vintage as you roll by the vineyards where they were produced.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

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    Pedal Your Way Through Napa's Wineries

    More and more visitors are renting bikes to experience Napa Valley from a whole new perspective....from the seat of a bike. Guided wine-tasting bike tours are available, but you can also opt to do your own thing and rent bikes for a wine tasting tour at your own pace. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

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    Where to Find the Perfect Cabernet

    Visitors from around the world visit the private reserve tasting room at the Beaulieu Winery in search of the perfect Cabernet Sauvignon. For more than 100 years, the winery has produced some of the most collected American Cabernets under the "BV" label.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

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    A Romantic Winery For Everything from Picnics to Weddings

    You'll feel like you are under the Tuscan sun at V. Sattui, a romantic, Italianate winery that is one of the most popular wine stops on the Highway 29 Wine Trail. This is a perfect place for a proper Wine Country picnic, with lovely picnic grounds and a huge delicatessen available onsite. There are also six different wine tasting options. It is also one of only two wineries licensed to host weddings in Napa Valley. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

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    Enjoy a Glass of Bubbly Surrounded by Lush Gardens

    Domaine Chandon sparkling wines have their own stellar reputation internationally, but what most visitors may not realize is that a visit to the winery in Yountville, California includes not only a fine tasting room and terrace, but the opportunity to enjoy a tour of a lovely botanical garden. Bubbling fountains, lush vegetation, bridges and footpaths invite walkers--and tasters--to this venue year-round.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

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    Taste Wine in the Heart of the Earth

    Tasting wine at the Trinitas Tasting Room at the luxurious Meritage Resort in Napa is a unique experience, as the room is part of an estate cave located 40 feet underground. The "cave," which took 18 months to bore and construct, also features a luxurious spa where you can experience a variety of therapies in a true hushed environment, directly under the vineyards.    

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

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    After a Day of Tasting, It's All About the Beauty of the Valley

    Happy hour takes on a whole new light when enjoyed on a hill overlooking Napa Valley. Pack some snacks, raise a glass, and enjoy a picnic as the sun sets on a perfect day. While vibrant sunsets over Napa Valley are a photographer's dream, that same sun over this heavenly valley produces some of the most prized wines in the world.  

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

About Joanne DiBona

You'll never see Joanne without a camera or two strapped around her neck as she travels around the world to unearth new and exciting destinations to share with her readers. Her professional career includes a long tenure in communications for the San Diego Tourism Authority, where she wore many hats. By far her favorite role was as scenic photographer for the region.  When she’s not adding fresh images to her Scenic Photos website, Joanne can be found singing with her Italian band or whipping up fresh pasta in her kitchen. Joanne is a member of the esteemed Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).

Read more about Joanne DiBona here.

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