On Tuesday night we headed to Napa.
We stayed at Avia which (I believe) is the newest hotel downtown. It’s a lovely, modern hotel with awesome beds and bathrooms. Our room was very quiet, but that could be simply because the hotel wasn’t very busy. They still have some issues to work out, but none of them impacted our stay – like the wood floor in the lobby was being torn up to fix some buckled boards, the fireplace in the dining room was being dismantled to be repaired, and then a couple silly things like them automatically charging us for a tin of swedish fish from the mini-bar when neither of us so much as touched them. They also kept locking our fridge which was annoying since they leave one shelf open for guest use.
I will say that mid-week rates were very competitive. If a person were to pay peak season rates I would fully expect all of the above issues to be cleared up.
We only made a few winery stops. The first was Castello di Amorosa
. It was okay. The workmanship was impressive, the design is at least relatively true to castles I’ve seen in Europe. Therein lies the rub – if you’ve been to Europe and toured a bunch of castles this is only mildly interesting. The wine was okay, it didn’t wow us. The price for entry seemed steep even after we saved $16 with a coupon from Napa Visitors Center. To see 2 levels of the castle and taste 5 wines was $16 per person. A reserve wine tasting of 6 total wines (only 3 were reserves) was $26. They also offer a guided tour that takes almost 2 hours. My comment to R was, “if this was Neuschwanstein it would be worth it.” In fact I’ve toured Neuschwanstein twice.
We made a quick stop at Duckhorn because we were buying their wine a lot at business dinners in Montana.
Our last stop was Quixote. It was recommended to us by the folks at the visitors center with mention that the winery was designed by Austrian architect Hundertwasser. I’ve seen the exterior of a couple of his buildings in Europe and was really shocked to find out he had a building in the United States. I really enjoyed seeing the building AND their wines were really good.
Neither of us had been to Napa for over 10 years. A few tips if you haven’t been to Napa recently either:
– most of the wineries charge for tasting now, stated price range is $10-$40
– many of the wineries either recommend or require reservations
– do stop in at the visitor’s center. We found the staff to be very helpful and they may even offer you coupons for places you express interest in.
– do check the prices at Avia Napa. We would stay there again.
– if you like Asian food do try Annalien (no website) in downtown Napa for contemporary Vietnamese cuisine. The restaurant is owned by friends of ours and I wished I had taken photos so I could show you the food. 🙂 It was delish.