The millions of tourists that flock to wine country every year focus on, well, wine. But Napa Valley and Sonoma have so much more to offer and our guides are the key. These local experts have uncovered every nook and cranny of the region from the best restaurants and romantic wineries, to the best picnic and nightlife spots. They’ve led California wine tours through countless Napa wineries and Sonoma wineries. This month, we caught up with our guide Army and got his top 10 picks.
- Production Tour. Mondavi was Army’s choice for favorite production tour. “Great details, historic, where guests receive a lot of information and fun.” It’s not overly technical or hard to understand, so guests don’t lose interest and they can enjoy the extensive gift shop.
- Food & Wine Pairing. B. Wise Vineyards Estate Cave is located at the top of the ridge overlooking Sonoma Valley. Army’s choice for food and wine pairing. The reason? “Everyone who goes there loves it. You can walk the property while enjoying your glass of wine and experience so much more than just a food and wine pairing.” A production tour is included and the location is stunning.
- Indoor/Outdoor Picnic. Rutherford Ranch is the place to go according to Army. There are many great Napa wineries and Sonoma wineries that offer picnic areas but this one offers a lovely indoor space with beautiful tables. You can stroll through the 100 year old olive grove outside and enjoy the creek that runs through the property.
- Family Run Winery. At Platypus Tours, we guide California wine tours through small production family owned Napa wineries and Sonoma wineries, and have developed a love for their authentic and unique wines. For Army, a favorite is Tedeschi. The family of this historic winery in Napa beams pride and love in the wine they produce. They started with very little and grew successfully in an incredibly competitive market – 2 generations going strong today.
- Romantic Winery. Schramsberg is known for its bubbles, in depth production tour through the cave, and amazing tasting/pairing options. This intimate winery is Army’s choice for a romantic spot to treat your date.
- “Wined-Out”: Where Else to Enjoy Adult Beverages. After so many tastings, it’s nice to break things up. Army says head to Archer Hotel in downtown Napa. Their new rooftop bar includes a great views, a large space with fire pits, and a sports bar on one end. Unwind with a cocktail and some tasty appetizers.
- Restaurant. Bistro Don Giovanni is Army’s pick and we have to agree. This place is delicious. Great Italian food, amazing dessert, with exceptional service. And you’re most likely always going to get in which is another plus.
- Non-Wine Activity. There’s a lot of things to do in wine country and one of Army’s favorite is Sonoma Canopy Tours. This includes adventures among the forest trees with zip-lines, sky bridges, rappels and more. Army says it’s great for all ages and you’ll get an incredible view from the tree tops.
- Nightlife Spot. “Take em’ to Joe’s” has become a common saying around the Napa locals, meaning head to Downtown Joe’s. Army says this is a casual, non-pretentious spot, “funky and easy” with outdoor and indoor seating. Drink one of their local craft beers or choose a wine from local Napa wineries and Sonoma wineries, while sitting along the river enjoying live bands that play at Joe’s most days of the week.
- Army’s choice is Fieldwork Brewery inside the Oxbow Market. Kill 2 (or 3) birds with one stone and enjoy craft beers while shopping around and tasting some amazing food all within the Oxbow. From souvenirs to beers to gourmet meats, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your needs.
Army (pictured left) is one of our many talented and lovable tour guides who helps make Platypus Wine Tours what it is today. We strive to bring our customers the best experiences. So whether you hop on our join-in California wine tours or book a private tour, don’t miss Army’s recommendations. Explore Napa wineries and Sonoma wineries, dine at amazing restaurants, go on local adventures, and experience wine country like never before!