POSTED ON February 1, 2010 | IN Activities, Sparkling Wine, Tasting Rooms | BY joe

If you are thinking about getting away to the Napa Valley with that someone special on Valentine’s Day, you’d better think quickly. Although tourism is down in the Napa Valley, Valentine’s Day is always one of the most popular weekends in the entire year and waiting until the last minute can get you in the doghouse. So, you have two things to do immediately after reading this posting. Make a lodging reservation and dinner/lunch reservations.

Maybe a balloon ride?

Maybe a balloon ride?

Sparkling Winery Visit is a Must
Since it is a romantic weekend, sparkling wine is always the wine of choice. Take a visit to one of three excellent sparkling wine makers in the Napa Valley. On Highway 29 in Yountville is Domain Chandon. You can tour and/or taste and enjoy the beautiful garden. Domain Chandon is the only winery in the Valley with a restaurant. Etoile is open for lunch or dinner and has a Michelin Star rating. You can’t miss if you dine there. On the Silverado Trail and always less crowded is Mumm Napa. They offer free tours and also have a fantastic vineyard view when you sit down to taste their sparkling wines.
On Highway 29, close to Calistoga, is Schramsberg, the oldest sparkling winery in the Valley. Tours have to be booked well in advance and are $35 a person. This is a favorite tour of ours that takes you into their very old hillside caves built in 1870. Very spooky!

Show your cooking touch with a gourmet picnic lunch
If the weather outlook is good, a great surprise to pull off is to prepare a gourmet deli picnic lunch and to picnic at one of the wineries. Some of our favorite quiet and peaceful picnic spots are at these wineries: Rutherford Hill,
Summers Winery, and Casa Nuestra.

Order a surprise Spa or Massage Experience
Almost everyone loves a good spa or massage near the end of the day. We won’t recommend any but there plenty of spots in the Valley that will offer you a relaxing treat. Check with your hotel or B&B for recommendations of close-by spas.

Book a Food & Wine Pairing
More and more wineries are conducting food and wine pairing sessions. It is a great way to learn about matching foods with wine and there is no better way to drink wine than with food. Peju, Swanson, and Clif Bar wineries are just a few of the wineries that have food and wine pairings. Clif Bar has an unusual pairing with their assorted gourmet nuts and fruits. This might be a good choice if you are going to have a huge meal at dinner.

Walk or Cab it to Dinner
The last thing you want to do is take even a small chance of getting caught under the influence on a Valentine’s Day weekend. There are three taxi companies in the Valley that will drive you and pick you up. The lodging establishment usually works with one or more of these taxi companies, so have them call for your cab ride. The cost is cheap compared to the alternative. If you find lodging in Yountville, Calistoga, or the town of Napa, there should be plenty of restaurant choices within easy walking distance.

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