PLAY & SHOP: It’s tempting to leave your car parked during your stay and visit what’s within walking distance. But if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, there’s a lot to see and do a short drive from downtown.
Cairdean Estate sits north of town at the base of Spring Mountain. Taste delicious wine and indulge in tempting foods (see DINE) in the epicurean village they’ve created. In the open, modern tasting room, try interesting wines like these 2011s: Rosé Wine Napa Valley, Carneros Pinot Noir and the Cabernet Franc from their estate Acquaintance Vineyard in Coombsville.
Drive to the peak of Spring Mountain and discover Charbay, the “Still on the Hill” as it’s affectionately named. Run by the family’s 12th and 13th generations, the family has hand-distilled spirits since 1751. The grounds and the interior of the cozy tasting room are decorated with classic copper pot stills (one still in use). From a diverse selection of wines, brandies, spirits and ports, savor the Green Tea Aperitif, Pomegranate dessert wine and the Still House Port. (Due to California law, spirits can’t be poured, but there’s plenty to purchase.) Appointments encouraged.
Travel south of downtown and you can’t miss the thirty-five foot tall polished stainless steel sculpture of Bunny Foo Foo (a character in a children’s poem) that welcomes you to Hall Wines. The Halls have combined their passion for wine, art, architecture and the environment in their everyday operations. During a visit, taste wonderful wines (like the 2011’s “Craig’s Cuvée” Red and “Ellie’s” Cabernet Sauvignon and the limited WALT 2012 “The Corners” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir) and stroll the lush grounds and gardens.
It’s hard to miss the modern architecture of the Flora Springs tasting room that resembles the Estate’s hillside caves. Named for the family matriarch and the natural springs on the property, their estate vineyards are organically farmed. Choose a place at the long bar inside or head out back to the casual courtyard or rooftop lounge with views of the vineyards. Have fun with the 2011 Sangiovese and these 2012’s: the Ghost Winery Cabernet Franc and the 2012 Poggio del Papa red blend.
Before heading back downtown, consider a hike in Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. It’s a 1,900 acre park with over 10 miles of trails.
Along Main Street, you’re guaranteed a good time at Orin Swift Cellars. High energy abounds here as does great wine. All of the wild labels (except the Palermo) are made in house. Favorite wines include the 2013 Abstract (a Grenache blend), the 2012 Papillon (red blend with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon) and the 2012 Mannequin (white blend with 48% Chardonnay).
After a busy day, nothing is more relaxing than a visit to a spa – and with a stay at the Wydown, comes a complimentary pass to Health Spa Napa Valley. There’s a fitness center, outdoor pool and hot tub and soothing treatments from which to choose.
Main Street is a treasure trove of art galleries and boutiques – and a wonderful place to window shop. Try some of these fun shops: Toss, Steve’s Hardware & Housewares (707-963-3423) and Woodhouse Chocolate.
OTHER ESSENTIALS: Special Events: Napa Valley Restaurant Month (Throughout February); St. Helena Chamber of Commerce; Napa Valley Tourism
PATTY BURNESS can be found @pattygb