A Weekend Getaway to Napa Valley – Wine, Sunshine and Music

Napa Valley may be one of our favorite weekend destinations to date, outside of the Washington walls. Take a short plane two hour plane ride into San Francisco, then an hour drive north to Napa Valley. We recommend driving north along CA-37 towards Sonoma, then to Napa Valley so you can experience both the crisp Chardonnay’s and the BIG REDS people have been talking about. As you drive north, you’ll instantly fall in love and be captivated by the endless fields of grapes, picturesque rolling hills, and breathtaking views.

View of the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco from Lands End. Turn your head in any direction and you’ll see stunning ocean side views that are out of this world. Along the hillsides, you’ll be able to see wildflowers, old shipwrecks, and lookout points.

We decided to stop at the first winery we could see and go for our first tasting, and that happened to be Ram’s Gate. The Ram’s Gate Winery is a gorgeous winery located in the Sonoma Valley right at its entrance to the area. The setting brings classic elegance, luxury and a beautiful architecture design. Ram’s Gate Winery is located right at its entrance as you drive into Sonoma Valley, it’s hard to miss with it’s huge, contemporary chic sign.

Ram’s Gate Winery sources grapes from over nine of the most esteemed grape growers in Sonoma County. Most of these grapes are kept separate from each other throughout the winemaking process from vine to bottle, resulting in individual vineyard-designate bottlings with the integrity of each vineyard site preserved in each wine.

Did you know, there are 450 wineries in Napa Valley alone, ranging from grape varietals including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, among others. You can expect about a 15 degree increase in temperature from San Francisco so dress light.
Here’s a view of the back side of the vineyard. Guests can take their wine glasses and go on a walk around the like or even setup a picnic on the grass and relax. With 80 degree weather, it really is the perfect way to sit back and enjoy the nature.

Close look at some of the grapes on the vines.
Crisp Bakeshop has become a popular spot for locals for American baked goods and locally sourced coffee. Crisp has been running for 2 years now with a strong focus on sustainability and truly being LOCAL. All ingredients including their coffee is from Equator Coffee beans which are grown and purchased within 90 miles from the Sonoma County.
What makes this place really tick are the master pastry chefs behind the curtains. Executive Chef Moaya Scheiman and partner Pastry Chef Andrea Koweek’s who previously worked for Thomas Keller for 15 years. Along with baked goods and coffee, locals can purchase custom wedding cakes and dessert displays for wine country events.


Meet the owners.


We highly recommend staying at the Andaz Napa in downtown Napa. It’s hip, modern, sophisticated, service is incredible and the beds are heavenly. There’s free, fast wifi everywhere in the building, jars of fruit infused water, and decor you would not believe. The hotel is situated in the heart of Napa, so you’re in walking distance to everything, small shops, restaurants (check out Morimoto), bars, and only a short drive to a myriad of wineries. Once you check in, you’ll be greeted and be offered a complimentary glass of wine, how can you beat that.

Domaine Carneros is a singular winery best known as a small grower-producer of methóde champenoise sparkling wine, Pinot Noir, certified organic estate vineyards, and a breathtakingly beautiful château. The chateau is breath taking.


View from the chateau.


When in Napa, make sure to visit Domaine Carneros and try their Sparkling Sampler, you will not regret it.  Each sparkling wine uses pristine grapes from their organic estate vineyards, distinct sparkling wine styles and meticulous méthode champenoise.


Interested in some good sushi? Head over to Morimoto for contemporary Japanese cuisine located in downtown Napa Valley. The menu infuses traditional dishes with Western ingredients and preparation techniques. For $135, you can get your hands on the Morimoto Special which comes with around 48 pieces which comes out to around $3 a piece.

What’s so great about Napa Valley? The MUSIC and the WINE (and beer) of course. The good news is we got both at this year’s BottleRock Napa Festival hosted at the Napa Valley Expo. The venue had three stages with 60 plus bands, see below for full line up from this year.
ANCHOR & THE BELL
BARENAKED LADIES
BEN SOLLEE
BLUES TRAVELER
CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN
CRACKER
DE LA SOUL
DEERHUNTER
DELTA RAE
DOG DAY KING
ED KOWALCZYK
EMPIRES
ERIC CHURCH
FULL CHIZEL TRIO
GIN BLOSSOMS
GRASS CHILD
HEART
HOWIE DAY
HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF
JAMES OTTO
JEALOUS ZELIG
JON BATISTE AND STAY HUMAN
KARL DENSON’S TINY UNIVERSE
KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS
LL COOL J
LETTERS FROM THE FIRE
MATISYAHU
MATT AND KIM
MAYER HAWTHORNE
MEXICAN INSTITUTE OF SOUND
MICHAEL THOMASON BAND
MINER
MOON TAXI
MOONALICE
MOONALICE
NO AGE
NOAH GUNDERSEN
NOEMA
OFF THE CUFF
OUTKAST
RAILROAD EARTH
RAY BERTOLINO AND THE FORGET ME NOTS
ROBERT DELONG
ROBERT EARL KEEN
SARA RODENBURG
SCHEDULE 2014
SHELBY LANTERMAN
SIELLE
SMASH MOUTH
SPIN DOCTORS
SUBLIME WITH ROME
SWEET BURGUNDY TRIO
TV ON THE RADIO
TEA LEAF GREEN
THE BLACK ANGELS
THE CURE
THE FRAY
THE SILVERADO PICKUPS
THE STONE FOXES
THEE OH SEES
THIRD EYE BLIND
VICTORY
WEEZER
We had an absolute blast at the event. The weather was perfect, averaging in the 80’s most of the week, refillable water stations, plenty of seating, and a ton of food options. Overall, the crowd stayed fairly well behaved over the few days we were there. We will definitely be planning a trip back to Napa Valley and the BottleRock Festival.

As you may have expected, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, mid-80’s all week with a slight breeze. What better way than to have some ice cold beers. And yes, the folks at BottleRock stepped up their beer game this year.



LL Cool J rocked the stage this year by bringing some of his old school hits.



The Fray takes the stage and wows attendees this year with a packed crowd.



See you next year BottleRock! It’s scheduled for May 29-31, 2015 at the Napa Valley Expo for a three day festival this time. They are expected to have a new lineup of all-star artists, from new discoveries to chart-topping headliners. Relive the fun from this year’s festival!

Written by Charles

Charles Koh founded EatSeattle, and has continued to use his expertise as editor-in-chief to guide the website’s growth over the last five years. Koh’s experience focuses on digital marketing and social media, and has been a part of several companies, some of which he created, specializing in both areas over the course of his career. Koh was previously with Google and Zagat where he helped expand and grow communities worldwide.

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