With the gloom of the economy casting a pall on just about everything these days, a trip to the Napa Valley just might be the perfect escape. Harvest is over but fermenting tanks are going strong and there is that delicious smell in the air of wine being made. The vines are turning various shades and Fall is a wonderful time to be in the Napa wine country.
There is some economic relief in sight in the Valley because as the harvest ends, many of Napa Valley’s finest lodging establishments begin their Fall and Winter rate specials. Our guess is that because of the economy there will be more specials and packages as lodging establishments and other businesses try to lure visitors to the area. Now is the time to plan a budget trip to the Napa Valley.
Here are some tips on how to save some cash visiting the Napa Valley.
First of all look for package deals at the B&B’s. Here are some examples: The Yountville Inn has winter rates from November through January, $150 mid-week and $175 weekends, plus a coupon worth $50 for a return visit. We think the Yountville Inn has one of the best breakfast fares of all the B&B’s. The luxurious Villagio Inn, also in Yountville, has the Great Escape Promotion at $179 a night valid Sunday to Thursday, November 16 to February 28, 2009. The Golden Haven in Calistoga has some Internet specials for as low as $90 a night beginning in November. Also, see Napa Budget Lodging, for more lodging information.
Save on lunch by picnicking in the vineyards. This of course is weather permitting, but even on cold days there is nothing like the solitude and peacefulness of the vineyards. Pick up a lunch at a deli and head out to one of the wineries that has picnic facilities. Two of our favorites are Diamond Oaks and Robert Sinskey. See Deli and Picnic for more information.
For dinner there are many restaurants where you can have a decent meal without breaking the bank. In St. Helena try Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen. They have plenty of small plates to chose from that are exquisitely made and reasonable in price. In the town of Napa, Pearl is a local’s favorite and their dinners are excellent and very reasonable. At Tra Vigne, the Pizzeria has a good selection of Pizzas and pastas and there is no corkage if you bring in your own bottle of wine.
Speaking of corkage, this is another way to save a few dollars at most Napa Valley restaurants. Always call ahead for corkage policy but if you play your cards right your server will often waive the corkage fee. There is good chance of this happening if you bring a special bottle of Napa Valley wine from your cellar and if you offer the server a taste.
Most all of the tasting rooms have a tasting fee of $10 or more. Check first at your B&B or the visitor centers in Napa and Calistoga and ask if they have any coupons for a two-for-one tasting. That should provide you with enough coupons to keep busy for a day or two. Franks Family Vineyards and August Briggs Winery do not have a tasting fee. Frog’s Leap winery has a free tour and tasting but it is by appointment only.
Hiking is always an escape and in Bothe-Napa State Park there are several different hiking trails.
If you find any deals or specials that are amazing, please reply with a comment so others can take advantage in these trying economic times.