Napa Valley is one of the best places for picnics on the planet. Just think about it; with its great food, wine and scenery, why not enjoy lunch in the great outdoors at one of our lovely wineries or peaceful parks?
First, the food. There are several gourmet markets, food stores, delis and restaurants from Carneros to Calistoga were you could buy all the fixings you need for the perfect picnic. Some of my personal favorites include NapaStyle with tasty panini and salads in Yountville, Genova deli, eateries at Oxbow Public Market, Vallerga’s Market in Napa, Addendum at Ad Hoc in Yountville, Oakville Grocery, Dean & DeLuca and many others. Or you might choose to pick up a complete picnic basket from one of the many local hotels restaurants and wineries including V. Sattui Winery, the only winery with a deli in the county.
Second, the location. Napa is home to some of the most beautiful parks and here are some of my favorites include big Kennedy Park in Napa, and Skyline Park in the foothills east of Napa, Yountville Park, Lyman Park in St. Helena, Bale Mill and Bothe-Napa parks north of St. Helena, Pioneer Park in Calistoga, and Robert Louis Stevenson Park on Mount St. Helena.
Some of my favorite wineries that welcome picnickers include:
- Michael Mondavi Winery in bucolic Carneros Valley north of Highway 12 welcomes picnickers to lunch on its deck.
- Charles Krug Winery recently opened a deli with limited sandwiches, pastries and coffee. Enjoy a meal while relaxing on the lawn in St. Helena.
- Stag’s Leap’s Judd’s Hill, Monticello, Reynolds, William Hill, Clos du Val and Pine Ridge.
- Mid-Valley’s Folie a Deux/Napa Cellars, Franciscan, Rutherford Grove, Alpha Omega, Caymus and Sullivan have picnic tables, but the pinnacle is Rutherford Hill above Auberge du Soleil, with killer views.
- Around and in St. Helena, Martini offers a nice quiet garden, Ehlers has picnic tables in a grove off the highway, Hall, St. Clement and Casa Nuestra invite picnickers, the latter with goats to entertain the kids, too.
- To the north around Calistoga, Frank Family, Bennett Lane, Cuvaison and Summers Estate are good bets, too.
- If you’re up for more of an expedition, some especially pleasant sites are in the hills east of Napa Valley, including Nichelini, still owned by the same family after more than 130 years, RustRidge, which even has a small B&B and thoroughbred horses, Somerston, Kuleto and Pope Valley wineries.
- Some wineries also offer special programs with food parings or even out-and-out meals, but that’s a subject for another piece.
- Visit The Napa Valley Vintners’ web site (napavintners.com) for a complete list of wineries than permit picnics, as well as more info on those I’ve mentioned above.
If you picnic at a winery, keep in mind you’re expected to buy a bottle of their wine, of course. Most will lend glasses and open the wine, but it’s always a good idea to call ahead and make reservations as most wineries as their picnic spaces are limited. Some require appointments.
If you are looking to move to one of the best areas for picnics on the planet, Napa Valley, please to contact me at 707-738-4820 or email [email protected]. As a top producing Realtor® in Napa Valley, I have access to some extraordinary wineries, vineyards, estates and homes in Napa, Yountville, Saint Helena and Calistoga that are not on the open market. The inventory is extraordinary right now and each and every property has spectacular views. I look forward to helping you buy or sell your property in this beautiful part of the world.