Half-Day Wine Country Getaway to the Napa Valley

This is our second suggested trip for a quick getaway to the wine country. Last post we suggested a trip to the Carneros wine region; this week we suggest the Silverado Trail on the south end of the Valley. This trip is about an hour away from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. We like going through the back side of Napa; it saves a little time when headed to the Silverado Trail. Print out these driving directions.

Directions from the Bay Bridge

• Head out on Highway 80 toward Sacramento
• A few miles after crossing the Carquinez Bridge take Highway 37 to Napa.
• In 2 miles take the off ramp for Sonoma Blvd. towards Napa.
• Follow the signs to downtown Napa and Lake Berryessa.
• Take Highway 121 to the right.
• Keep following the signs to Downtown Napa and the Silverado Trail.
• Turn left at the intersection that is a 3-way stop.
• Turn right on Silverado Trail.

One of the first wineries you come to on the Silverado Trail is Judd’s Hill. This is a good spot to start your half-day Napa Valley wine country getaway. Judd’s Hill is a small family-run winery that in our opinion offers some quality wines, fairly priced when compared to most Napa Valley wines. It is a funky and fun winery to visit and you can even arrange to blend some wine. Check the Judd’s Hill website for more details on the blending experience.

After leaving Judd’s Hill, continue driving north on the Silverado Trail. You will pass a few other wineries like Luna and Black Stallion. These are good wineries to visit but, for a look at one of the older wineries in the Napa Valley, head further north to the Clos du Val winery. Its first vintage was a 1972 Cabernet Sauvignon. Like the wine from its neighbor, Stags Leap Cellars, this Cabernet was one of six California wines entered in the famed “Judgment of Paris” wine taste-off of 1976. Back in those times, there were less than 30 quality wineries in the Napa Valley. Today, the winery is still owned by Bernard Portet, who along with American businessman John Goelet founded the winery in 1970. Clos du Val is an excellent choice for enjoying a serene picnic lunch in the vineyards. Close to the picnic area are rows of vines showing examples of different trellis systems. Very educational!

Clos du Val

If you have time for a third winery, then head up a few miles to the Robert Sinskey winery. The winery is certified biodynamic and runs on solar energy. The views here are very inviting. For $25 a person, you can enjoy wine tasting with appetizers prepared in their kitchen.

If you’re looking for a good restaurant in the Napa Valley, check our list of recommended eating establishments. Enjoy your day and take plenty of photos.

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