No big surprises here, but if you're in the mood to shop, you might find a name brand bargain in wine country. The Napa Valley Premium Outlets are everything you'd expect from an outlet mall, offering well-known brands like Coach, Lucky Brand, Gap and Guess. With 50 or so stores to choose from, shoppers can easily lose track of time here. Less than a five minute drive from downtown Napa, the outlet mall is a good spot to pick-up an extra sweater, pair of shoes or that must have piece of your travel wardrobe that you forgot to throw in the suitcase before leaving home.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: If you like brand name shopping with your wine tasting, you'll enjoy spending time at the Napa Premium Outlets.
Dana's expert tip: There isn't much food to be found at the Napa Premium Outlets, so eat before you come to shop.
Art enthusiasts and collectors should save time during their Napa Valley getaway to visit Ca'Toga Art Gallery. Located in downtown Calistoga, along the main drag of Lincoln Avenue, the gallery is set back a bit off the street, so it's easy to walk right by if you don't know where you are going. Step inside and it's obvious it's not your typical vacation town art gallery. Owned by artist Carlo Marchiori, the barrel-vault ceiling has been turned into an enormous canvas, showcasing the Ptolemaic Constellations. Once you finish gazing above, take time to look down to your feet. The terrazzo floor is a chart of the pre-Copernicus' universe. The gallery features one-of-a-kind paintings, ceramics and more. The gallery is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Get some shopping taken care of and a taste of Napa Valley history at V Marketplace. Formerly the Groezinger Winery, it was built in 1870 by German-born vintner Gottlieb Groezinger. It operated as a winery until 1955, but today it is home to specialty shops, cafes and restaurants. Domain Home & Garden carries home décor and garden finds, V Wine Cellar boasts a collection of more than 3,000 wines and Lemondrops sells everything a well-dressed kid could hope for. And don't miss the chance to watch confections being made in the glass kitchen at Kollar Chocolates. V Marketplace buildings are restored, but the charm remains. V Marketplace is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places with the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Located on Highway 29 in Saint Helena, just north of downtown, Cairdean Estate does a nice job of offering something for every Napa Valley visitor. Redolent Mercantile sells men's and women's fashions alongside jewelry, accessories and products from around the world. Brasswood Bakery sells kitchen goods, accessories and gift items. Since no one likes shopping on an empty stomach, they also serve house made breads and pastries, baked fresh daily. Salads and sandwiches make for nice picnic lunches to eat on the grounds or take to go. Drinks include coffee, beer, wine and fun "Boozy Bakery Cocktails," and if you're in the mood to do a full wine tasting, Cairdean Estate's tasting room has reds and whites to try.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Park once and you can shop, taste wine and grab a bite to eat.
Dana's expert tip: On-site Rosgal Gallery is open by appointment only, so if that's on your wish list, be sure to plan ahead.
Shopping is just one on many reasons to visit The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in St. Helena. Once the largest stone winery in the world for the processing and storage of wine, the Greystone Cellars property dates back to 1889. When you enter the building two things jump out; the many flags in the 90-foot atrium that represent the major wine producing countries of the world (and CIA campuses) and the Spice Islands Marketplace. The Marketplace is like a candy store for anyone who likes to cook, or have someone cook for them. Cookware, bakeware, and kitchen gadgets in all colors shapes and sizes are on display along with more than 1,700 cookbook titles.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: CIA sells fun and handy cookware and kitchen gadgets along with unique space and local specialties.
Dana's expert tip: CIA offers weekend cooking demonstrations. Tickets are $20 and get would-be chefs 10% off most purchases.
When you first walk by Woodhouse Chocolate on St. Helena's Main Street, it looks like a jewelry store. It's not until you take a closer look that you realize the gems here are edible. The elegant shop is a chocolate lovers dream. Beautifully displayed, along with an assortment of traditional bite-sized chocolates, Woodhouse also creates fun chocolate figures that can range from seasonal favorites to animals including alligators and zebras. Hot chocolate lovers should ask what flavors they are pouring. The list of mouthwatering choices is long, including dark hot chocolate, chile and spice, caramel cappuccino, Madagascar, nutmeg, peppermint, and quatre epices.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: The chocolates are made in a kitchen adjoining the store. It doesn't get much sweeter or fresher than that.
Dana's expert tip: Woodhouse Chocolate typically offers at least two dozen flavors of filled chocolates to choose from. Give yourself some time to browse and decide.
It's hard not to be a little overwhelmed the first time you walk into Dean & Deluca in St. Helena. The gourmet grocery store is a feast for all of your senses offering just about anything you could want from picnic lunches to kitchen wares and unique gadgets. Wandering and tasting your way through the store can take some time, so plan accordingly. Along with a deli, coffee bar complete with assorted pastries, and chocolate and candy counter, you'll find coffees, teas and even body care products. If you're hunting for a special bottle of wine, Dean & Deluca has 1400 California labels to choose from.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Dean & Deluca has things for everyone - foodies, cooks and wine-enthusiasts - all under one roof.
Dana's expert tip: Dean & Deluca is a great place to stop by to pick up items for a picnic at a nearby winery.
Fun and colorful, Rabbit Rabbit Fair Trade is the type of store you go to when you need a gift for that person who has everything. It's also a fun place to go when you want to treat yourself. You'll see things you won't see anywhere else like custom jewelry, home décor and paper goods including journals and cards. The store has a nice selection of items to fit every budget, but Rabbit Rabbit Fair Trade is also dedicated to ensuring fair pay for its third world artisans. All purchases get wrapped for protection, but in a beautiful manner, making traveling with gifts easy.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Rabbit Rabbit Fair Trade offers a colorful selection of unique merchandise from around the world.
Dana's expert tip: If you don't take a bag for your purchases, you get a piece of chocolate.
If you aren't hungry when you walk through the front doors of Atelier by JCB, you will be by the time you take a few steps to the cheese case. The more than 120 cheeses are just the beginning. Along with products locally sourced from Napa and Sonoma, you'll find products from around the world, including charcuterie, pastas, caviar, smoked salmon, mustards, honey, spices, specialty teas and chocolate. More than 1200 different products, representing 250 brands are showcased in a way that's easy to digest. The Atelier is adjacent to the JCB Tasting Salon, which along with pouring wine flights also sells a collection of luxury goods ranging from Baccarat (crystal) to Christofle (silver) to Bernardaud (porcelain). The Surrealist Boutique is a private lounge for wine tasting and showcasing custom-designed jewelry by JCB's Jean-Charles Boisset.
When most folks think of Oxbow Public Market, they think of food and immediately get hungry. Eating well in Oxbow is a given, but shopping in between bites can be a whole lot of fun too. From custom ground spices at Whole Spice Napa Valley to locally made chocolate at Anette's and handcrafted gifts and rare and specialty teas at Napastäk. It's not hard finding gifts and must have souvenirs at Oxbow Public Market. Open seven days a week, merchants start opening at 7:30 am and many stay open until 9:30 pm, making squeezing shopping into a packed Napa Valley visit as easy as possible.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Oxbow Public Market offers gourmet food and shopping all under one roof in downtown Napa.
Dana's expert tip: You can find souvenirs and gifts and squeeze in a spirits tasting at Napa Valley Distillery.