Visiting Wine country during the spring and summer seasons is pretty much a mandatory part of living in the Bay Area. While areas of North Bay are still recovering from last year’s devastating wildfires, there are plenty of exciting locales that are open for business and ready to show you the absolute best of what wine country has to offer: scenic beauty, topnotch dining and of course, world class wineries.
Located at the top of Napa Valley, Calistoga has a reputation for its friendly community, laid-back atmosphere and world-famous mineral hot springs that are known to offer a slew of powerful health benefits. With a quaint downtown full of charming art galleries and incredible restaurants, this area of Napa Valley is home to a variety of amazing wineries, picturesque vineyards and charming hotels. A quintessential destination for any wine country enthusiast, you haven’t really done Napa Valley until you’ve done Calistoga and here are some of our favorite spots to wine, dine and stay during your next visit.
While Calistoga has a host of notable wineries to visit, Clos Pegase remains a classic and absolute ‘must do’ during your trip to Napa Valley. Known for their award-winning estate wines and awe-inspiring Mediterranean architecture, Clos Pegase offers guests much more than just a traditional wine tasting in a vineyard setting. Instead, they take it a step further, offering a variety of curated wine-centric ‘experiences’ that are all uniquely designed to cater to the specific interests of any visitor. Guests can choose options that include guided tours, specialty tastings and even the chance to chat with wine experts to get an in-depth understanding of the wine making process and learn the history of the Close Pegase winery. Estate Manager, Jona Mendoza–Fabiani, has focused on creating these unique experiences as a way to offer something new and exciting to their visitors. ‘The wine sells itself, so I want to focus on giving our guests a personal experience.’ If you feel less like learning and more like lounging, you can opt to enjoy a wine tasting on the outdoor patio and take in the stunning view of the adjacent vineyard.
Recommendation: For an experience that you truly will never forget, take the Connoisseurs’ Cave Tour, which includes a tour of the estate grounds, wine making facilities and Clos Pegase’s famous wine caves.
Few things fuel a healthy appetite like an afternoon of drinking wine, so when it is time to refuel for another tasting or relax at the end of the day, the right restaurant is the perfect complement to your wine country adventure.
Veriason, a new French-fusion hotspot in downtown Calistoga, offers an assortment of contemporary dishes made from fresh and locally sourced ingredients in a relaxed, yet upscale and stylish setting. Light bites include a delightful cheese and charcuterie plate (all meats are made in-house), and sweetbreads with sunchoke puree, wild mushrooms and leek ash emulsion. Entrée highlights include Liberty Farms duck breast a l’orange with farm greens and duck liver mouse and a beautifully executed coq au vin with bacon lardons, oak roasted mushrooms and braised shallot. In addition to their regular menu, exciting specialty menus highlight the very best in local fare and wine offerings including themed nightly events like Bubbly Mondays with champagne and fresh oysters and Throwback Thursdays with Vintage Napa Cabernets for sale at their original prices. If you’re in the mood for spirits instead of wine, Veraison’s cocktail program (designed and overseen by Owner and General Manager, Dan Kaiser) is quite impressive, and features a host of expertly crafted and thoughtfully prepared classic cocktails, made with a Veriason twist.
Recommendation: Try the ‘V Martini’ made with Ketel One vodka, local verjus and pickled grape.
UpValley Inn & Hot Springs– A newbie on the boutique hotel scene, UpValley is located on a serene stretch of Lincoln Avenue, and a very short walk to downtown Calistoga. UpValley is currently completing a major renovation and upgrades to their amenities which include a spa-grade sauna, eucalyptus infused steam room and an outdoor mineral hot springs swimming pool and whirlpool hot tub. They offer a variety of room types including a limited number of spacious suites and every room is newly furnished and expertly decorated with an eclectic mix of modern and farmhouse design. It’s a unique fusion of style that creates a fun, comfortable and relaxing vibe that is perfect for a romantic getaway, weekend trip with the family or even a rejuvenating solo spa adventure. Hotel manager Eden Umble and her team of friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand and eager to help ensure that your visit is as seamless as possible and can even help you plan a hike or a picnic at nearby Old Faithful Geyser of California.
Recommendation: Relax and rejuvenate after a long day of wine tasting with a revitalizing dip in the mineral hot springs swimming pool, which can to naturally boost circulation and treat a variety of conditions including chronic pain.