Here's to Mom: Our Must-Do Mother's Day List

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by Courtney Cochran

NAPA VALLEY / SONOMA, CA

Once a year (seems it ought to be more often, no?) we pay tribute to that special woman who had the good sense to bring us into the world - and, once we'd arrived, to guide us through life's many travails and triumphs with aplomb. This year, we encourage you to consider our list of Must-Do Mother's Day activities in planning your Sunday celebrations.  Because wine, like mothers, improves with time, we think it's only fitting that you pair these two delights come fête-time.

yogaVineyardsWebsite.jpgYoga In the Vineyard
San Francisco sommelier-turned-yogi Christie Dufault offers delightful Mom-and-me experiences in her buzz-worthy new "Yoga In the Vineyard" retreats. Held amidst the vines in vinous hotspots including Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Santa Cruz, Dufault's classes emphasize being in the moment and celebrating the senses - activities made all the easier thanks to inclusive Biodynamic® wines and organic meals. Call for custom retreats; gift certificates available.

St. Supéry Behind the Scenes
Sundays from 11am-12pm Rutherford's St. Supéry offers cellar tours designed to give you the inside scoop on the winemaking process from crushing to bottling. Wrapping with a barrel tasting of estate grown reds, it's a rewarding way to pair a little education with your wine country exploration - something Mom will no doubt appreciate (while noting your grown-up savvy, ahem).  St. Supéry's sweet staff and beautifully appointed tasting room should be icing on the cake.
chandonBottle.jpgÉtoile's Bubbles and Brunch
If a stunning setting and award-winning fare top your Mother's Day wish list, then look to Yountville's Étoile restaurant at Domaine Chandon. As the only fine dining restaurant within a winery in Napa Valley, Étoile stands out not only for its location but also for its Michelin star.  And with a special prix-fixe Mother's Day menu boasting fresh spring fare alongside delicacies like Pâté Foie Blond and optional oysters and caviar, Étoile looks like a very appetizing choice.
Note: Mother's Day three-course menu offered at $75 per person, wine pairing $35 per person.

Cheesemaking at Relish Culinary
As a self-described foodie, you're no stranger to the delights of a well-appointed cheese tray.  So why not take your gastronomic savvy (along with Mum's, bien sûr!) to the next level with a cheesemaking course from Healdsburg's Relish Culinary? Taught by guesting frommage luminaries like pizza pro John Franchetti (Mozzarella and Burrata), courses are interactive and satisfying (snacking is encouraged). If you'd rather leave the cheese to the pros, consider another class: options run the gamut from canning to sausage making.  

Tea, Please: Crown & Crumpet
With its hot-pink décor and welcome-to-the-dollhouse/Vivienne-Westwood-is-my-decorator charm, San Fran's Crown & Crumpet in Ghirardelli Square may just be the ultimate spot for tea à deux come Mom's Day.  Serving excellent tea sandwiches, crumpets and no shortage of potted libations, it's a smart - not to mention stylish - alternative for those who'd rather not drive to Wine Country. Note: Thanks to Marcia Gagliardi at Tablehopper for the tip-off on this one.

solageWebsitePic.jpgMassage for Mom (and Me!): Solage Calistoga Spa
A drive through Wine County's rolling hills and bucolic vineyards is the perfect prelude to a day of relaxation with Mom at the award-winning spa at Solage Calistoga (voted Voted #1 Spa in the Americas by Conde Nast Traveller).  Upon arrival, enjoy brunch for two at the spot's contemporary chic Solbar restaurant, then indulge in matching Solage Massages followed by Signature Mudslides. Wrap things up with a dip in the spa's geothermal mineral pools ($495 for two).

You Be the Winemaker: Castello di Amorosa
Pioneering wines, SuperTuscans are cuvées that combine elements of traditional Tuscan winemaking with non-Tuscan grape varieties and New World techniques.  Along with Mom, learn the secrets to blending these world-class wines at Calistoga's dramatic Castello di Amorosa, an astonishingly accurate recreation of a Tuscan castle in Wine County. Held in the private Royal Apartment, blending lessons include a tour of the winery and chocolate treats ($68 per person).

Beautiful Views at Mumm Napa
Dubbed one of the best tasting rooms in America, Mumm Napa stands apart not only for its luxe, seated tasting experience (on the patio with jaw-dropping valley views, natch), but also for its superbly curated selection of fine art photography.  Art-inclined moms will appreciate private collection works such as whimsical garden sculptures by Phillip Glashoiff (debuting May 1) as well as special exhibits like "Paris Icons," a collection of James Scholz's stylish photos of the City of Lights.

hallWinesWebsitePic.jpgFamily Affair: Mother's Day at HALL St. Helena
Starting at 1pm on May 9, St. Helena's HALL Winery (soon-to-be home of Napa's first Frank Gehry-designed winery) will pair its signature elegant Cabs with the likes of sweet treats, live music and "mini massages" by Samagse Massage, a mobile massage and spa service - all in celebration of you and Mom. At just $20 per guest ($15 for wine club members), this party gets props for its flair and affordability!

Art, Meet Wine: The Hess Collection
The delightful contrast of a 19th-Century stone winery encompassing a stellar contemporary art collection is enough to excite any art-loving mom.  Match up the experience with gorgeous Napa Valley views (the winding drive is so worth it) and a tasting of The Hess Collection's world-class wines and you have the makings of an unforgettable Mother's Day.  For the ultimate cap to the experience, consider the Wine & Cheese Pairing ($30 per person). Hello, heaven.

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