We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Smaller wineries, less-pricey restaurants

Level Contributor
50 posts
22 reviews
Smaller wineries, less-pricey restaurants

Our trip to the wine country is fast approaching..Less than 2 weeks! I'm trying to create a loose itinerary. While on vacation, we don't like to be tied to a schedule. We're staying at Lavender in Yountville.

I've read and learned so much about the Napa Valley in these forums. I appreciate all your great advice!

We've picked out a few wineries we'd like to visit...Chateau Montelena, Domaine Carneros, etc.. But we would enjoy visiting smaller wineries. There are so many to choose from. Any suggestions?

Also, restaurant suggestions? We'd like to save our $$ for wine (and things like the mortgage when we are back home to reality!). Any suggestions for nice places to eat without being in the price range of French Laundry and the others that are popular in these forums? This trip is for our anniversary, so we'd like something special. Doesn't have to be French. Just romantic ambience, good food and service.

We're very excited about our trip. Looking forward to some friendly suggestions!



Louisville, Kentucky
Destination Expert
for Louisville
Level Contributor
2,141 posts
303 reviews
1. Re: Smaller wineries, less-pricey restaurants

We stopped at Zahtila and the owner gave us a map of small wineries along the Silverado Trail and a few suggestions. We really liked that! You should do a little research ahead of your trip as some require reservations and some have expensive tasting fees. Go to the winecountry.com website and read some of their winery reviews from newsletters. I loved William Harrison winery and Vincent Arroyo in Calistoga. Add Dutch Henry to that as well. How many days will you be there? If you are at Chateau Montelena, it's fun to take that road over to Sonoma Valley. Beautiful drive. If you have several days, it's nice to visit both areas. One of my favorite restaurants is in Calistoga- Wappo's. It's not the luxury romance type place, but the food is great and it's reasonable. Maybe you could do lunch at Auberge du Soleil? Expensive, but not as bad at lunch, plus you have those great views over the valley on the porch. We did that once and skipped dinner...just had bread and cheese and wine. Happy anniversary!

Level Contributor
50 posts
22 reviews
2. Re: Smaller wineries, less-pricey restaurants

We have reservations at Auberge for lunch. I'm very excited about it. This will be our special anniversary meal. Having lunch will give us the daylight to enjoy the view. We were given a gift card to Dean & Deluca that we'll use to buy goodies to snack on in our room if we get hungry in the evening.

AND, I think I've (at long last) gotten our itinerary all smoothed out.

One more week...can't wait!!

Thanks for your advice!


Level Contributor
324 posts
45 reviews
3. Re: Smaller wineries, less-pricey restaurants

Chappellet has a beautiful tasting, in good weather you go outside and stand right in the vineyard. Very casual yet informative, book in advance. Also the drive up there is breathtaking, a windy road past Lake Hennessy off Silverado Trail.

If you don't mind spending $25, you can get a taste of the fabulous and very special Quintessa with some delicious cheese and crackers. No yahoos in Quintessa, very classy.

Fume is a wonderful restaurant in Yountville, I also love the All Seasons Cafe in Calistoga, more casual bistro-style. BTW, Calistoga is my favorite town, much less crowded than the rest of the Valley, especially during the week. If you have time for a mudbath at Indian Springs, you'll never forget it. It's like going back in time. Just walking past the line of palm trees up their driveway relaxes me!

For a terrific lunch on the fly, eat where the locals do at Taylor's Refresher. It's just a roadside stand, but great burgers and salads, and CHEAP. A Napa institution. Or, stop at the Oakville Grocery for a picnic lunch to eat at any of the wineries that has a nice parking lot!

4 posts
4. Re: Smaller wineries, less-pricey restaurants

If you like sparkling wine (I see you're going to Domaine Caneros) do try Gloria Ferrer the scenery is spectacular. Iron horse is north of Sonoma and is very good as well. I actually got turned onto it by asking those working at wineries where a good place was and so many always stated Iron Horse. There are many smaller wineries, it just depends on where you're going. In Russian River area; Porter Creek(good wines), Roshambo(cool atmosphere),Rochioli(?)(Great Pinot Noir - if there tasting it - call ahead), Acorn (you need to call ahead for a tasting appointment)

In Healdsburg area: Lambert Bridge (Rockpile Zin), Unti (need appointment) - too many others to really name.

In Napa area: Chateau Potelle (on Mount Veeder - hard to find, but worth it), Goosecross (in yountville - you can get a buy one get on tasting coupon on website), Miner(interesting wines) - I still have many I haven't visited.

In Sonoma/Kenwood/Glen Ellen - Shug (free tasting), BR Cohn, and Ledson (very cool plus good wines).

Just some of my favorites, but sometimes the best thing is to just stop in to places and taste. It's more like an adventure in that way. Sometimes you're disappointed in the wine or atmosphere or (gasp) both. But, every once in a while, you find a great wine or great place and that is satisfying and fun. Hope you have fun on your trip!

5. Re: Smaller wineries, less-pricey restaurants

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 23 August 2009, 12:50