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Napa/Sonoma sites

Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.
– Ernest Hemingway

$1 - €0.91
Photo by Jim Sullivan / Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa

Banshee Wines Tasting Room

  • Healdsburg, Winery
  • 325 Center St.
  • Healdsburg, CA, 95448
  • +1-707-395-0915
  • Website

The Ace Hotel of tasting rooms, with vinyl albums playing and manly vintage decor. It's cozy yet sophisticated, and ever-so hipster: the namesake of their Mordecai red blend is the falcon from The Royal Tenenbaums.

Calistoga Hot Springs

  • Calistoga, Spa, $$$$ $$
  • 1006 Washington St.
  • Calistoga, CA, 94515
  • +1-707-942-6269
  • Website

When the eating, drinking, and extreme leisure begins to take a toll, take a restorative dip in the healing mineral waters. Hotel guests and public patrons test the three pools set at 80, 100, and 104 degrees. Somewhere along the way, you’ll find the temp should be just fine.

Castello di Amorosa

  • Calistoga, Winery, $$$$ $$
  • 4045 N. St. Helena Hwy.
  • Calistoga, CA, 94515
  • +1-707-967-6272
  • Website

From wine to architecture, Italian style is rampant in the region, and nowhere is the evidence as strong as on the grounds of this winery. To say it was inspired by medieval castles would be an understatement as it was constructed using the same methods and materials they used back in the day. Moat included.

Cooks and Books and Corks

  • Howell Mountain, School/Class/Workshop, $$$$ $$$
  • Angwin
  • CA, 94508
  • +1-707-965-9409
  • Website

Don’t leave learning new culinary skills up to osmosis. Sign up for hands-on cooking classes, cheese making intensives, salami and sausage workshops, or brush up on bread baking at this kitchen classroom and wine shop just northeast of St. Helena. 

Doran Regional Park

  • Sonoma, Beach, $$$$ $
  • 201 Doran Beach Rd
  • Bodega Bay, CA, 94923
  • +1-707-875-3540
  • Website

Redwoods, beaches, and a five-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway. Bring a bottle from the tasting room you visited earlier and post up among the yuppies and hippies.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

  • Sonoma, Winery, $$$$ $$
  • 300 Via Archimedes
  • Geyserville, CA, 95441
  • +1-707-857-1471
  • Website

Spend a day in Sonoma learning about viticulture, swimming and sunbathing, and dining on oversized portions at a winery run by the godfather himself.

Read more on Fathom: My Respects to the Godfather's Grape Patch

The French Laundry Garden

  • Yountville, Parks and Gardens, $$$$ $$$
  • 6440 Washington St.
  • Yountville, CA, 94599
  • +1-707-944-2380
  • Website

There are so very many ways to get in on Chef Thomas Keller’s scene. Finagle a reservation at the French Laundry, belly up to the bar at Bouchon Bistro, or pop by Ad Hoc and hope for fried chicken. Another idea? Check out his roots at the French Laundry garden.

The Hess Collection Winery

  • Napa, Winery, Museum, $$$$ $$
  • 4411 Redwood Rd.
  • Napa, CA, 94558
  • +1-707-255-1144
  • Website

This winery is unique in that it houses an exquisite collection of art, so you can sip wine and browse art in the same visit. 

Jimtown Store Boxed Lunches

  • Healdsburg, Parks and Gardens, $$$$ $$
  • 6706 State Hwy. 128
  • Healdsburg, CA, 95448
  • +1-707-433-1212
  • Website

With 24 hours notice, the picnic pros behind the counter of the quirky, quaint general store will pack up box lunches of sandwiches and baked goods or created full spreads of cheese and charcuterie to go. Head over to Jack London State Historic Park and stay awhile.

Lancaster Estate

  • Healdsburg, Winery, $$$$ $$
  • 15001 Chalk Hill Rd.
  • Healdsburg, CA, 95448
  • +1-707-433-8178
  • Website

This winery is a dramatic showpiece built into the earth, all darkness and spotlights, with tastings conducted in a round room at a round table. Stroll through the vines that line the rolling valley, and tour the owner's villa, which has an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, showers with skylights, and a pool overlooking the valley. Don't want to leave? It's available for rent.

Liana Estates

  • Napa, Winery, $$$$ $$$
  • 2750 Las Amigas Rd.
  • Napa, CA, 94559
  • +1-707-302-1160
  • Website

If only every winery offered yoga. At this experience-centered estate, your vinyasa flow also features panoramic vineyard views and an ocean breeze, followed by a local Carneros Bento Box and a glass of wine. Other events include morning brunch and a sunset tasting. Scenic doesn't even begin to describe it.

Napa Valley Vine Trail

  • Various Locations, Parks and Gardens
  • Website

A 47-mile route running from Vallejo Valley up to Calistoga will bring ambitious bikers/hikers through parks, past vineyards, and over rivers. While the whole trail is still in progress, parks of the Oak Knoll section connecting Napa to Yountville is now open. Rent a bike from downtown Napa and start peddling.

St. Francis Winery

  • Sonoma, Winery, $$$$ $$$
  • 100 Pythian Rd. at Hwy. 12
  • Santa Rosa, CA, 95409
  • +1-707-538-9463
  • Website

Stop by on a whim — self-guided tours of the vineyard are free and open to the public — but be sure to book ahead for the family-owned winery's real raison d'être, the wine and food pairing.

Sterling Vineyards

  • Calistoga, Winery, $$$$ $
  • 1111 Dunaweal Ln.
  • Calistoga, CA, 94515
  • +1-707-942-3345
  • Website

An all-white building perched on a mountaintop and the only way up is in a gondola. Once you disembark, you are immediately handed a glass of wine. Sniff, swirl, repeat.

Table Rock Hike

  • Calistoga, Sports and Recreation
  • Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, Hwy 29
  • CA, 94515
  • +1-707-942-4575
  • About

The trail starts seven miles north of Highway 29. Drive up or take a nice long walk — the views from the top are certainly worth it.

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