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There's never a bad time to plan a visit to the best Napa Valley wineries-especially when it comes time for a fun-loving bachelorette party or an easy girls' getaway. The heart of California winemaking can be visited on a day trip from San Francisco (a popular choice for local bachelorette parties, since it's just 90 minutes by car from the city) or on a weekend trip from anywhere in the U.S.
A trip to Napa Valley wineries isn't just about tasting fine vintages, though a visit to any of the below vineyards will ensure just that. Plan a trip with your girls and you'll soon realize there's more than what meets the eye here-sure, Napa has beautiful rolling hills covered in vines, but it also has super friendly locals-who are passionate about all things food and wine-and a slower pace of life that will get you in a relaxed state of mind pre-wedding.
But first, a few quick tips: Limit yourself to three or four wineries per day (otherwise you'll be forced to rush through tastings), make sure to eat and drink plenty of water throughout the day (hydration is key to keeping your squad alive), and always use Uber or a driver to get around (and so everyone can participate safely in the fun)!
Herewith, a few of the best bachelorette-worthy Napa Valley wineries, depending on how you define your squad:Courtesy of Katie James
A vineyard for bridesmaids who think they're VIPs: HALL Rutherford
Vintner Kathryn Hall is Napa legend-together with her husband, Craig, the New York Times Best-Selling author owns two luxury wine brands: HALL and WALT. The Hall's namesake winery on St. Helena Highway is the flagship, which attracts hundreds of visitors a day. But for something a little more special, book your girls into the VIP Appellation Exploration Tour at the brand's exclusive venue in Rutherford (technically on the Hall family's private estate). There you'll start on a patio overlooking the valley, before moving into the downstairs tasting room, outfitted with the most incredible Swarovski-crystal-outfitted chandelier, to sample limited-production wines that showcase the impact of terroir, climate, and elevation. Want to take your tour one step further? You can even custom design etched bottles with you and your fiancГ©'s initials and wedding day to give out on the big day.
Side note: HALL winery also offers a unforgettable Proposal Experience at HALL St. Helena that begins as an unassuming tour and tasting-and ends with an epic proposal in an intimate setting on the grounds.Courtesy of Olaf Beckmann
A vineyard for bridesmaids who are super chill: Round Pond Estate
This limited production estate winery is all about wide-open spaces, relaxed outdoor tastings, and informative yet laid-back hosts. It's the perfect place for a more casual experience-you can simply pop a seat on the terrace and enjoy the views overlooking the Mayacamas Mountain range as you sip estate wines (each of which is paired with a local artisan cheese, meat, dessert, or other delectable bite). It's also one of the only places you can taste freshly pressed olive oil-Round Pond has one of only two olive mills in the Napa Valley region. If you decide you want a more informative experience, you can go all out on an exclusive tour with a Round Pond winemaker for a behind-the-scenes look at how a blend is crafted. During the tour you'll learn all about the vineyard's terroir, grape maturity, and fermentation process, followed by a multi-course, wine-paired lunch by Round Pond Executive Chef Jamie Prouten, who sources the freshest ingredients of the season from the estate's own garden.
A vineyard for bridesmaids who are fashionistas: Newton Vineyard
If one or more of your 'maids are fashion-types, they'll appreciate that this expansive vineyard, founded in 1977, is owned by LVMH, the luxury fashion conglomerate that counts Louis Vuitton, CГ©line, Christian Dior, Givenchy-among others-as its brands. This 260-hectare estate, located on the slopes of Spring Mountain, has 112 parcels, each planted with a specific grape variety-merlot, cabernet franc, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, or petit verdot-giving you a chance to taste both delicious blends and unique single-vineyard wines.
A vineyard for bridesmaids who are nature lovers: V. Sattui
On nice days, few places are more popular than the picnic area at V. Sattui. The two-acre lawn, surrounded by oak trees and dotted with picnic tables, is the perfect spot to nosh on crabcakes, pastas, cheese, and charcuterie from the on-site deli. On weekends, V. Sattui even fires up the grill for finger-licking BBQ dishes and wood-fired pizzas. And of course, they offer tours and wine tastings, including a single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon tasting in a private tower overlooking the winery grounds.Tank Garage Winery, in Napa Valley, at night.
A vineyard for bridesmaids who don't want to be at a vineyard: Tank Garage Winery
Set in a 1930s-era gas station in the town of Calistoga, California, Tank Garage Winery is the opposite of your classic Napa Valley vineyard setting. here, it's all about a fun experience that goes beyond wine-tasting. Every Friday night there's a special tasting experience in the back room "speakeasy," and it's easy to plan a special bachelorette party, complete with arcade games and indoor-outdoor vibes. But don't think you'll be drinking grocery-store-quality wines: Calistoga is an area filled with world-class vineyards and Tank Garage Winery comes at the hands of two longtime friends (one of whom is a Napa native) with years of experience in farming and viticulture who have an eye for bold flavors and cool label designs.
See more: The Best Spots for an Unforgettable NYC Bachelorette Party
A vineyard for bridesmaids who think they're winemakers: Raymond Vineyards
If you've ever dreamed of making your own wine, don a sparkly silver lab coat and head to the "laboratory" at Raymond Vineyards for their signature wine-blending experience. Participants get to use eyelet droppers and glass beakers to blend four different varietals into for their own perfect wine, which is then bottled with a custom label. Talk about the perfect bachelorette souvenir.Courtesy of csharrison via Instagram
A vineyard for bridesmaids who want Champagne: Domaine Carneros
Set on the south end of the valley, Domaine Carneros, looks like an over-the-top chateau in France. And yet, it works-if only because the brand was founded by the Taittinger family of Champagne. (Yes, the same one that makes Taittinger bubbly.) If your crew is sick of sipping flat reds and whites-head here for a little bubbly to change up their palates. Domaine Carneros is known for its sparkling wine, so do yourselves a favor and book a customized Connoisseur's Tasting, which starts with a brief introduction by the "Wine Educator," followed by a tasting of six premium wines of your choosing (paired with artisan cheeses, smoked salmon, and other fun bites).