A First-Timer’s Guide to Napa

Birthday Celebration, California, fashion, lifestyle, Style, summer, Travel Guide

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To ring in my thirtieth birthday, and the birthdays of several of my best girlfriends, we planned a trip to Napa.  It was my first time visiting the valley and it did not disappoint!

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Light Pink Tank Top || Jean Shorts || Gold Clutch

We started our weekend of wine tasting with an impromptu visit to Frog’s Leap Winery.  We sat outside on the back porch of The Vineyard House and enjoyed a flight of their current releases.  Believe it or not, I’m not much of a rosé drinker but their pale pink La Grenouille Rougante has me converted!  And their zin is heavenly!  Possibly my favorite glass of the trip.  Frog’s Leap is everything I pictured Napa to be – elegantly quaint with rocking chairs facing the vineyards and a garden through which you can stroll.  It was a GREAT first stop!  After our time in Rutherford, we headed back to our Airbnb to cool off in the pool and head to dinner at Napkins Bar + Grill in downtown Napa.

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Floral Wrap Maxi (In blue and ivory stripes and a cream with red floral pattern, on sale here.   A high necked maxi with side slits also comes in the same print as my dress.) || Crisscross Slides last season (similar here, here, and here)

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On our first full day in Napa, we rented a party bus to shuttle our group of 10 around.  Nothing like rolling up to a classy establishment blaring our “mix-tape” and having a dance party at 10 AM!  First stop: the Robert Mondavi Winery which is extremely picturesque with its rolling vineyards, mission structures and enormous barrel cellar.  Luckily for us, one of our friends is a wine rep and due to his connections we definitely got special treatment with a private tour and tasting.  It was incredible and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of the experience.

We stopped at Gott’s Roadside before our next tasting and it was such a fun little lunch spot.  The bustling burger shack serves up delicious hamburgers, fries, milkshakes and even has a bar.  (Don’t worry, the line moves fast and it’s worth the wait!)  You order at a window and then enjoy your upscale finger food in a yard full of picnic tables under umbrellas.

Our second private tasting of the day was in the library at the Franciscan Estate Winery.  We had a quick history lesson and tour of the back-of-house courtesy of our cute, German guide and were able to enjoyed a charcuterie platter with the most amazing salted almonds… the wines weren’t bad either. 😉

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On Day 3 we hopped back on the horse on the patio at Mumm.  Given the name of my blog, you had better believe I truly appreciated the flight of bubbles!  I even tried a type of sparkling wine that I’d never tasted before, the Mumm Pinot Noir.  It was delicious and I loved having a red sparkling wine for a change.  The bubbles were exactly what we needed to kick start our second full day of tasting.  After our merriment at Mumm, we needed to refuel and stopped in R + D Kitchen in Yountville.

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Crisscross Dress old (Other fun, floral Free People styles here, here & here)  || Fringe Slides || Similar Crossbody (I also love this embellished, light pink bag) || Sunglasses

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Next on our itinerary was Darioush,  a very eclectic showroom with lots of character.  I absolutely love the Corinthian columns that come into view as you arrive.  They make such an entrance!  We had a cheeky host and too much fun sipping and snapping pics in the vines.

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Then we decided we needed one more stop to top off our day of tasting and decided to pop into Domaine Chandon.  (Pun intended.)  It was such a scenic spot to sip sparkling wine under the shade of  the trees with such close friends.  It really was an ideal afternoon!  (And just look at that bottle service from my cutie husband… what a guy!!!)

One Shoulder Top Courtesy of a Denver Designer Never A Wallflower

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As if the day could get any better, we had our final dinner in Napa at Brix and I highly recommend you go.  We brought some of the wines we collected at the various wineries and paid an uncorking fee… BYOB is one of my favorite things and I really wish we had it in Denver!  How do we make that happen?!? Before we were seated we enjoyed the backyard gardens at Brix and sipped our vino in Adirondack chairs around a fire pit.  The staff even brings you blankets for the crisp night air.  It was perfection!

The next day on our way to the airport we took the scenic route through Sonoma to Sausalito, which be warned is great for the views but hard on hangovers!  We stumbled across Bar Bocce which was so cute and had really delicious pizza.  It’s waterfront patio has a bocce ball court overlooking the bay which is pretty unbelievable.  Then on our way to SFO we were able to drive back over the Golden Gate Bridge.

My first time in Napa celebrating turning thirty with friends will be a trip we never forget!  I can’t wait to go back to wine country… and I’ve been thinking that maybe I need a career change, being a sommelier sounds pretty good. 😉

If you have any Napa questions or recommendations let me know!

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