Napa Itinerary: Napa Adjacent

domainetat.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When staying in Napa, consider visiting these nearby wineries that are easily accessible to day-trippers.  Whether located within city limits or in the hills and winding canyons just further afield, they make great options for those looking to remain down-valley during their Wine Country stay.  
hesscolecart.jpgThe Hess Collection Winery
A spectacular twenty-minute drive from downtown Napa, The Hess Collection is a destination every Napa Valley visitor should make at some point.  Housed in a circa-1903 stone winery, the spot is internationally renowned for its museum-like, world-class contemporary art collection (viewing is free!) and culinary programs.  Even better: It's situated adjacent to the spectacular Mont LaSalle Monastery; we find it difficult to imagine a more idyllic picture than the one created by these two historic structures tucked cozily into Mt. Veeder's lower canyons.  While at Hess, we recommend indulging in the Wine & Cheese Tasting in the garden, where guests relax under wisteria vines while tucking into myriad gustatory delights.
Open daily 10am to 5:30pm; by appointment for groups larger than nine * (707) 255-1144
Special Tasting Offer

Domaine Carneros by Taittinger
Just a fifteen-minute drive west of Napa will take you to the lovely Domaine Carneros, home to the US sparkling wine headquarters of famed French Champagne producer Taittinger.  The bubbles alone are worth the visit, though architectural fans will swoon for the spot's signature château, modeled - bien sûr! - after its 18th Century counterpart in France.  The best part of the visit is undoubtedly the table service the Domaine offers to all guests; in cooler months we recommend grabbing a table indoors in the salon, while in warmer months scoring a table on the terrace is the way to go.  There's little more romantic than sipping award-winning sparkling while overlooking the Carneros region's seemingly endless undulating vineyards.  
Open daily 10am to 6pm * (707) 257-0101

valleygate.jpgValley Gate Vineyards
From Napa proper, an easy 15-minute drive to the southeast takes you to Valley Gate Vineyards, located at the southern edge of the Valley in Jameson Canyon (literally the gate to the valley).  There, the winery's three-story wooden structure recalls a gracious Montana ranch house, though the spot's pours are signature Napa.  Sidle up to the bar in the 3,000 square-foot tasting room to enjoy sweeping views over vineyards and San Pablo Bay - alongside, natch, sips of the winery's rich Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.  Lighter selections including Pinot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier lend levity to the lineup while proving the potential of this emerging south valley region.  
Open daily 10am to 5pm by appointment * (707) 254-8673
Special Tasting Offer

Wineries of Napa Valley
Pairing wine tasting, educational programs, concierge services and Wi-Fi access, this downtown Napa destination proves you really can have it all in Wine Country.  Offering pours from more than a half-dozen local vintners, Wineries of the Napa Valley provides a convenient way to taste a host of valley wines in one spot, making it an ideal stop for visitors looking to explore varied vinous options within city limits.  And, thanks to the spot's casual atmosphere, friendly service and community-oriented approach to business, it feels almost as though you've been going there for years.  Be sure to check out the spot's online events calendar prior to your visit; with events like Meatballs & Merlot, you won't want to miss out!  
Open Sun 11am-7pm, Mon-Tue 11am-6pm, Wed-Thu 10am-8pm, Fri-Sat 10am-9pm * (707) 253-9450