Wine Tasting Vacation | Napa Valley, CA

Todd and I love taking wine tasting trips but we always seem to return to what we know best, Paso Robles. We have our favorite wineries that are always a must, but we made a pact to always try one new place each time we visit.

We have talked about venturing out beyond the Central Coast wineries but never made it happen. I guess we are just really comfortable with what we know, and if the wines are good, why change it?

Our opportunity to bust out of our comfort zone came when a fellow photographer from Kansas City asked me to photograph her and her new husband while on their honeymoon in Napa. We were really excited about this chance to finally check out a very popular wine tasting region.

As soon as our bride booked us Todd began searching for places to stay. He found a great deal through at the Silverado Resort. It really seemed too good to be true that we could afford a stay in this place but the timing was right and we got a good price for it. The only problem, when we arrived they did not have a record of our booking. After about an hour of trying to figure it out we decided it was best to scrap the reservation we had made altogether and just book a whole new reservation with them. The benefit of doing this…they upgraded us to a suite for the price we would have paid for a regular room. This made it all worth it!

When we arrived my immediate reaction was, “This reminds me of ‘Somewhere in Time!” One of my favorite movies. I was so excited to explore the ground and soak it all in.

Silverado Hotel
Cell phone picture of our arrival at the resort.
hotel room
Cell phone picture of our suite.

After Todd and I got settled into our room we walked over to the bakery on the grounds and bought a bottle of wine and some stuff to make sandwiches back in our room. We just enjoyed the fireplace and our first night in.

The next day we decided to stay on the grounds and really take advantage of everything it had to offer. I decided to treat myself to a massage at the spa while Todd opted to hang out and enjoy a cigar from their cigar bar. We met up after my massage and had lunch on the patio of their restaurants. We then headed over to the bar, we were the only ones there, and the bartender mixed us a few drinks to try on the house. I had my first ever Cosmopolitan and Todd tried an Irish Mule, which was really good.

We left the bar and decided to make our way over to the Mansion’s patio. The mansion is where you check in. There are also meeting rooms and a bar. We spent the rest of the day, and night, sitting on the patio meeting the most fascinating people! We had a gorgeous view of the golf course.

silverado resort golf course
silverado resort golf course

The next day we roamed around with our clients, now friends. You can see our adventures with them here.

Our final day we spent exploring a few more wineries on our own. We visited the ONE winery that was a MUST on my list…Castello di Amorosa!! This place was AMAZING!! It is a true Italian castle. Everything is authentic. The materials that were used, the way it was built, and the rooms are all true to an ancient castle in Italy. It was gorgeous. Scroll through some of my favorite images from this winery.

castello di amorosa
castello di amorosa
A real castle had hogs and so did this one! Three to be exact!
castello di amorosa
castello di amorosa dining room
castello di amorosa courtyard
castello di amorosa chapel
castello di amorosa door
I have a love for really cool doors!

Down in the cellar of the castle is the gift shop and tasting rooms. It is AMAZING down here. We had so much fun roaming around. You can pay to take a tour of the entire castle, complete with the torture chamber. We didn’t take a private tour but maybe someday we’ll go back for one.

The owner of the castle owns another winery, V. Sattui. It is smaller but still very traditional Italy.

v. sattui winery

Our take away from this experience…Napa has some BEAUTIFUL wineries and they are surrounded by even more beautiful scenery but the wineries themselves, other than these two locations, were quite pretentious and not very welcoming. It is very touristy and you feel like a tourist, compared to Paso Robles wineries where you feel like family. We will go back someday but we will be very choosey about which places we visit. We have heard that Sonoma and Calistoga are much more welcoming and more like what Paso is to us.

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