Watch sparkling wine being made—and taste it—at Domaine Chandon in Yountville, Calif.
North Carolina fur trader George Yount founded Yountville in 1836. In recent years, this mid-valley town surrounded by vineyards has attracted high-end shops, resorts, and restaurants, and many consider it the Valley’s fine-dining capital. With 3,200 residents and six Michelin dining stars—three for Thomas Keller’s famed French Laundry and one each for Bouchon, Étoile, and Redd—Yountville may have more of the coveted stars per capita than any place else in the world. (707) 944-0904, yountville.com. Area code is 707 except as noted.
The Napa Valley Museum presents changing art exhibits as well as a permanent valley history gallery that includes such artifacts as a Pomo Indian finger basket. 55 Presidents Circle, 944-0500, napavalleymuseum.org. The Oak Ridge Boys and Michael Bolton are among the big names who have performed at the Lincoln Theater, on the grounds of the historic Veterans Home of California. 100 California Dr., 944-9900, lincolntheater.org. See how sparkling wine is made during the twice daily, 35-minute guided tours at Domaine Chandon; afterward, you can sample the goods. 1 California Dr., (888) 242-6366, chandon.com. It doesn’t cost a penny to walk through the French Laundry garden; nearly three acres of flowers and herbs, plus strawberries, broccoli, and other fruits and vegetables supply the famed restaurant across the way. 6640 Washington St., 944-2380, frenchlaundry.com.
Redd may not get as much press as some of Yountville’s other Michelin-starred eateries, but it should: Its inventive menu changes often and might include crisp duck confit with lentils and foie gras meatballs. Sit either on a covered patio or in a sleek, contemporary dining room. 6480 Washington St., 944-2222, reddnapavalley.com. From its straight-out-of-a-Paris-movie-set dining room, Bistro Jeanty showcases French classics like coq au vin and mussels steamed in red wine. 6510 Washington St., 944-0103, bistrojeanty.com. And you’ll have to get in line early for croissants, carrot muffins, and other baked goods at Bouchon Bakery—the low-key addendum to the fancier bistro—which has a few outdoor tables. At lunch, there’s a small selection of quiches, salads, and sandwiches. 6528 Washington St., 944-2253, bouchonbakery.com.
You can swim, play bocce, or warm yourself by an outdoor fire at the Napa Valley Lodge; some of the 55 rooms have views of vineyards and hills. From $260 for AAA members. 2230 Madison St., (888) 944-3545, napavalleylodge.com. A 400-foot-long tiered watercourse runs through the landscaped grounds of Villagio Inn & Spa, and its 112 rooms come with down comforters and wood-burning fireplaces. From $333 for AAA members. 6481 Washington St., (800) 351-1133, villagio.com. Resembling a vine-covered stone and-brick inn deep in the French countryside, Maison Fleurie offers 13 rooms reminiscent of Provence as well as a pool, gardens, complimentary bicycle loans, and morning breakfast; some rooms have gas fireplaces. From $140. 6529 Yount St., (800) 788-0369, maisonfleurienapa.com.
Photography by Eric Wolfinger
This article was first published in April 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.
Check out the rest of our Napa Valley package:
Calistoga: Old West meets Old Faithful
Napa: budget restaurants and a bustling new riverside
Oakville: take a deep dive into wine culture
Rutherford: acclaimed wineries and exceptional natural attractions
St. Helena: upscale yet folksy Main Street