The Napa Valley is home to many of the best things in life: fine wine, haute cuisine, and luxe accommodations. And one need not venture beyond the cozy town of Yountville to experience it all. Choose your hotel, park the car, and enjoy the freedom provided within this walkable 1.5 square mile hamlet that features outdoor art, an abundance of wine tasting venues, iconic restaurants, boutique shopping, and a choice of lodging options. Some of our favorites:
A Yountville mainstay for more than four decades, the Tuscan inspired Napa Valley Lodge stays ahead of the wine country hospitality curve by offering a variety of included amenities such as the offer of sparkling wine at check-in, fresh-baked cookies in the afternoon, and a bountiful buffet breakfast each morning. The large swimming pool is an ideal spot to unwind after a hectic day of winetasting.
The LEED platinum-certified Bardessono is proof that a resort can provide unmatched luxury while maintaining energy and environmental efficiency. Utilizing salvaged tree wood, natural linens, and bath products, and ‘smart’ technology for heating, cooling, and water systems, Bardessono wraps its guests in ‘green’ grandeur. A variety of garden water features accent four building structures that house 62 stylish suites, each with large outdoor patios and balconies. Spacious bathrooms feature large soaking tubs and separate showers.
Welcoming guests with interiors of stone, rich wood, and cozy fireplaces throughout, Hotel Yountville is a gracious retreat anchored by a glorious Heritage Valley Oak. Eighty romantic, spacious guest rooms surround the central pool and its towering Italian Cypress trees. Guests can enjoy exclusive tastings of complimentary wine from local winery partners in the after- noon, and in the morning, one- of-a-kind breads and pastries from nearby Bouchon Bakery.
Stroll and sip to your heart’s content; a multitude of tasting rooms line Yountville’s streets. Jessup Cellars, part of the Good Life Wine Collective, was among the very first to embrace Yountville as a wine tasting destination. A guest- centric philosophy ensures that visitors are made to feel special. Up to 40 can be comfortably seated at safe distances in a lovely outdoor courtyard where flights of their small lot, handcrafted wines are served.
Also part of the Good Life Wine Collective is Handwritten Wines, a ten-minute walk from Jessup. Located in a spectacular new building, Handwritten wows with unique tasting experiences such as the ‘Bread & Butter’ tasting that pairs six wines with artisanal butters from around the world, Bouchon Bakery breads, sliced Jamon, and artisanal cheeses.
Elegant Chandon has long been a favorite of wine country visitors, and there is no question why. In addition to its tasty sparkling wines, available by the glass, the flight, and bottle, Chandon features gorgeous, park-like grounds with lush green lawns, sculpture gardens, and ponds. Guests are invited to wander, flute-in-hand.
The team at venerable Hoopes Vineyard has introduced a new concept with their Oasis by Hoopes. This regenerative farm, animal sanctuary, garden, and vineyard welcomes one and all to experience the region’s agricultural bounty. Wine is, of course, part of the appeal, but so is the purchase- by-appointment organic farmers market, where items are picked and harvested according to each individual order.
Enjoy the wines of eight different winery partners within Heron House, a unique and curated tasting destination. Featured are Bench Vineyards, Eponymous Cellars, Hobel Wines, Lindstrom Wines, Myriad Cellars, Steltzner Vineyards, Switchback Ridge, and Zeitgeist Cellars. Choose from three different flights of four wines each and enjoy on their private patio, steps from Washington Street.
RH Yountville takes its cues from its luxury lifestyle parent company and kicks things up a notch to integrate food, wine, art, and design. The exceedingly stylish compound features posh courtyards with limestone fountains, massive fireplaces, and heritage olive trees. The various buildings include two design galleries, a winetasting patio, and the breathtakingly beautiful, indoor-outdoor, chandelier-laden restaurant serving favorites such the RH Burger, Lobster Roll, and Truffled Fries.
Culinary icon Thomas Keller continues to add to his Yountville portfolio with La Calenda, located on the former Hurley’s site. Named after the traditional Oaxacan parade that celebrates community festivities, La Calenda’s cuisine combines authentic Oaxacan flavors with fresh and artisanal ingredients presented in a fam- ily-friendly environment. Chef de Cuisine Kaelin Ulrich Trilling credits his mother Susana Trilling, a celebrated cookbook author and Oaxaca-based cooking school proprietor, with his delicious mole sauce.
R+D Kitchen offers modern American comfort food, with a splash of sushi. There is some- thing for everyone on this menu, from meatloaf, to barbecue ribs, to tuna tartare. With a bustling outdoor patio and cozy fire pit, the casual ambiance is ap- propriate for both couples and families.
Located at Stewart Cellars and featuring an outdoor courtyard, Southside Yountville is both a coffee house and café, serving breakfast, lunch, coffee, and to-go items. Convivial and community-oriented, this location is one of three through- out Napa. Try the Avocado Toast, or the Rock Shrimp Tostadas. A Kids Menu features Biscuit & Jam, Grilled Cheese, and Eggs & Toast. And the Wrecking Ball brand coffee can’t be beaten.
In any season, the sun shines brightly in the Napa Valley. Shade yourself with a selection from Montecristi Panama Hats. This family-owned business imports high-quality genuine Panama hats from Ecuador, each handcrafted by skilled master weavers. Theirs is the most extensive inventory of Panama hats in the United States, featuring styles for all occasions, from the classics to the latest modern styles.
Having worked in kitchens across the country for nearly 17 years, Chris Kollar decided to sweeten his culinary talents by becoming a self-taught chocolatier. Inspired by European chocolate making techniques and flavors, he traveled extensively to study and learn. His skills are on full display at Kollar Chocolates, where customers can watch the chocolate-making process through a large glass show window.
V Wine Cellar is your one-stop Napa Valley wine shop, featuring 4,000 square feet of retail and tasting spaces, a lounge, and an outdoor cigar patio. Known as ‘the place people in the know like to go,’ V (as it’s known amongst locals) is like visiting your best friend’s home, but with the greatest wine. Stop by, put your feet up, and enjoy Napa Valley’s very own living room.
Article By Fran Miller