Honestly what was getting me through those final weeks of my pregnancy was daydreaming about spending most of my summer weekends in wine country, ha! I’ve been living vicariously through Ashley Kane (San Francisco based writer and blogger behind the chic lifestyle site: Brunch on Chestnut)’s many wine country escapes as she plans for her wedding at Meadowood next month. Her recent bachelorette weekend had me craving a girls’ wine tasting trip asap. With the long, warm holiday weekend upon us, today’s wine country guide courtesy of Ashley feels especially timely! She mentions so many of my personal fave spots as well but also a handful of new-to-me spots that have me very excited to plan a day trip soon. I’m craving those rolling vineyard views, warm summer days with a glass of something crisp and cool in my hand, wine country picnicking with friends, Napa spa getaways and of course the looks to go with all of the mentioned. Be sure to bookmark this post for your next trip to Napa or Sonoma!
1. Where can we find you ;)) … Napa vs. Sonoma::
I love Sonoma for quick day trips since it’s so easy to get to from the city, but Napa county has way more of my favorite spots. We love areas like St. Helena (getting married there next month!), Yountville, and Oakville.
2. Favorite (perhaps more under-the-radar wineries) in Sonoma::
Cuvaison. It sits right behind Domaine Carneros and is just such a beautiful property and the wine is delicious… and then not as under the radar but some favorites are Chateau St. Jean, B.R. Cohn, and Ram’s Gate.
3. Favorite wineries in Napa::
4. Do you have a favorite spot to stay in wine country if you decide to make a weekend out of it?
The dreamiest resort we’ve ever stayed up there is Meadowood straight up magic. I also love Carneros Resort & Spa for special occasions. North Block Hotel in Yountville because they are located right on the main strip so you can walk to all the best restaurants like Bottega and Bouchon and tasting rooms (like Hope & Grace). North Block is dog-friendly, too!
5. Fave restaurants to grab a bite when in wine country (both low-key for picnic pick-ups and fancier if it’s a special occasion?)::
We stop by Carneros Deli often on the way to our wine club, it’s a total hole-in-the-wall spot but they fantastic sandwiches. We also love Oakville Grocery, Dean & Deluca, and VJB (insane paninis) for picnic stops. I have so many favorite restaurants up there… Charter Oak and Farmstead in St Helena. Bouchon and Bottega in Yountville. El Dorado Kitchen and Tasca Tasca in Sonoma (on the square). Barn Diva and Chalkboard further up in Healdsburg.
6. Any other not-to-miss spots or shops when in wine country, especially for those who may be making a weekend out of it?
I always tell people to go to places like Yountville, Healdsburg, or Sonoma Square because there’s a lot to do and it’s easy to get around. I have guides for each! Yountville is a smaller town that you can walk with several wineries within 5-10 min drive. Healdsburg square has amazing food and tasting rooms like Banshee! Sonoma Square has lots going on, too, like Pangloss Cellars tasting room (one of my all-time favorite tasting rooms, so chic and good) and delicious restaurants like Girl & the Fig.
7. Go-to wine country look?
I like to be comfortable when up in wine country. This time of year I usually opt for an easy dress or top/skirt, sandals and a hat!
8. What’s your summer glass of choice?
If it’s super hot out, a crisp Chardonnay (recently back on the chard train thanks to Alpha Omega)… but Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is the way to my heart.
9. Your recent bachelorette looked like so much fun! What does a day in wine country look like with your girlfriends compared to a day trip with your fiancé? (ie:: Do you and Matt have any special spots?)
It was so much fun, I want to do it all over again! Having a girls weekend up there was way more mapped out with lots of tastings and meals scheduled. I loved staying at an Airbnb with a pool, too, it made it that much more of a relaxing escape.
Matt and I usually go either for a day trip to our wine club Scribe with our pup, or we will stay 1-2 nights at a hotel and will have a couple of things booked but like to relax and go with the flow.
Our special spots… definitely Meadowood where we’re getting married! We had one of our early anniversaries there. Farmstead was another anniversary spot, where we decided to do our rehearsal dinner. Our wine clubs have become a big part of our lifestyle together, too. We come up 2-3 times a month in the spring and summer. We are members at Papapietro Perry (the one in which I will never leave because they make the best pinots ever), Scribe, and Alpha Omega.
10. You’re getting married at Meadowood this summer (a personal fave spot of mine!)–how did you decide on Meadowood and what are you most looking forward to?
I was envisioning renting a private estate because my vision for our wedding day was an elevated backyard garden party. We were staying at Meadowood one weekend when we had a few estate venues to check out, and Matt asked Meadowood if we could see the venues while we were there. I really didn’t think it would be where we landed, only because we had just seen a resort option and I didn’t want it to feel like you’re at a resort, I really wanted that intimate, charming backyard feel. I had never seen the area they took us back to and within a few minutes, I was in tears. I felt this relieved, calming feeling as I visualized our day unfolding there. A few days later, we were booked!
The outdoor space is enchantingly beautiful, peaceful, and green! I just can’t wait to see how everything comes together… and I am just ready to marry my guy!
Images:: Ashley Kane