In DESTINATIONS, TRAVEL, USA

So I took a trip out to Napa Valley, California with An aka MTL Food Snob. Let me just make something clear:

  1. Napa Valley is considered one of the world’s top wine regions
  2. I know so very little about wine

Luckily for me, Napa is also a popular tourist destination, so I could expect that there would be some other things to do besides drinking and talking about wine all day, right?

Hello, Napa Valley #VisitNapaValley @roundpondestate

A photo posted by Andrew Gunadie (@gunnarolla) on

Winery Tours

Our first stop was Round Pond Estate. This experience was close to what I’d expect: a sit-down affair where we’d try wine with complementary food pairings. Beautiful scenery, hot hot hot day.

Also important to note: this was not the kind of tasting where you use a spitoon! I definitely had to take a few fake sips since I was driving us around. Safety first!

I know the basics of red and white wines, but I was intrigued to learn that melange is a thing. I also learned that I need to expand my vocabulary, because I struggled to come up with any way to describe the wine that didn’t involve the word bold (see the video above).

In addition to wines, Round Pond also manufactures olive oil, so we made a quick stop across the street where I had a very informative chat with one of the employees there. We also caught the attention of a newlywed couple who are also avid YouTube watchers – so you know we were on top of that #selfpromo

Our next stop was Jericho Canyon in Calistoga. This was a much different experience, as we got to meet with the owners themselves and ride an ATV through the grounds. What a beautiful vineyard and a lovely family – they actually checked out some of my videos before meeting, and were very supportive. Great people all around. And we found out that they had a connection to…

The Napa Valley Wine Train

After a quick tour of another winery, it was time to board the Napa Valley Wine Train!

The train was a great chance to unwind and enjoy a multiple course gourmet meal with your wine! There isn’t much to say about the view, since the sun set by the time we were into our journey. There are different packages available – like a Murder Mystery experience, which would explain some of the costumes that we saw that night.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BESbYcAqLMr/

The Meritage Resort & Spa

We spent one night at The Meritage Resort & Spa but unfortunately due to our packed schedule, we didn’t get to enjoy much of it. As one would expect from a resort hotel, you could probably spend a whole day relaxing by one of their pools, getting a spa treatment, or even taking advantage of the bowling alley before heading out to explore the nightlife.

Aloft Balloon Rides

Napa Valley is beautiful – full of lush vineyards, mountains, and palm trees – so it only makes sense to try and see it from above. About ten of us packed into a basket and took off into the sky. We caught some beautiful views of the sunrise over the hills, and our balloon conductor (?) had some fun stories to share. It’s great meeting people who are clearly passionate about their work. Especially when your safety is in their hands. L O L

We capped off the experience with a delicious breakfast/brunch. I probably won’t do another balloon ride in my life, but I could definitely go for another one of those meals! #emotionaleater

Up up up can only go up from heeeere~ @nvaloft #VisitNapaValley

A photo posted by Andrew Gunadie (@gunnarolla) on

Conclusion: I had a good time and I didn’t even need to get drunk.

Overall, this was a fun experience with a variety of different things to do. The crowd is definitely a bit older, but given that everyone’s drinking throughout the day, you’ll be hard-pressed to have to deal with anyone unfriendly #tipsy #adulting

There are so many other things to do in Napa Valley, from spa treatments to arts & culture to sports & fitness! It’s definitely a great place to relax and if so inclined – get hammered! If I had the chance to come back, I’d definitely take some time to chill by a pool, check out more of the local restaurants, and see what the nightlife is like. With the amount of (affluent) tourists around, I’m sure there is always fun to be had.

It’s ok though – I actually prefer taking these quick trips because it means that we’ll always have a reason to come back. Thanks so much to Visit Napa Valley for hosting us, and to all their partners for their generosity and hospitality.

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