San Francisco

Napa Valley is a pretty large region, so when I was asked to write an article about day trips to the northern hub of wine country, I decided to focus my efforts on one area where you can take the cutest step back in time. Calistoga is a small town in one of the most northern parts of Napa Valley, and it is a perfect place to spend the day. I visited in the winter with my girlfriends (bachelorette party anyone?) and loved every minute.

Chateua Montelena

Taking full advantage of the only time it’s acceptable to drink wine at 9:30 AM, we began the morning at Chateau Montelena. If you’ve seen Bottle Shock, you know this winery. One of the original vineyards that put Napa Valley on the map, this gorgeous winery located inside a castle did not disappoint. I think we all agreed that this was probably the best wine of the entire day. The grounds are absolutely stunning, but our wine expert really made the experience what it was. Straight from Italy, he knew his wine, and entertained us the entire time.

Sterling Winery

After that, we enjoyed ourselves at Sterling Winery. This gorgeous and sprawling property has a gondola that takes you up to the top of the hill and overlooks the entire Calistoga wine valley. This wine was good, especially if you prefer sweeter wines. The views and tour through the heart of the winery make this one a can’t-miss, and the photo stops prove it. This property is totally Instagrammable and comes highly recommended by this wine-lover.

Castello di Amorosa

We couldn’t visit Calistoga without a trip to the Disneyland of Napa Valley, Castello di Amorosa. This stunning fortress of a castle left us with our jaws on the floor. The wine was also very good, but the castle and scenery really took the cake here. (Plus there are goats… did I mention I love goats? Yes, I do, and they have at least 3 of them, so I’m hooked).

Seriously though, the team at the Castello are very knowledgeable. We tried almost every single wine they had available for tasting and definitely had at least three bottles that I wanted to take home with me. The gift shop leaves no wine-theme-stone unturned, and makes a great place to stop for souvenirs if you can’t take wine home with you.

Picayune Cellars

One of our last stops was Picayune Cellars, an adorable tasting room in the heart of downtown Calistoga. They have a lovely rosé, and two of their wines are on the wine list at world-famous French Laundry — their Sauvignon Blanc and the Padlock, a Bordeaux blend with predominantly Merlot origins. (Did You Know: our new Executive Chef, Howard Ko, was previously Chef di Parti at French Laundry before making his way to Loews Regency San Francisco?) This is a great place to end your day trip to Calistoga, and don’t leave without picking up a bottle. I grabbed the Bordeaux blend to serve at my next dinner party; I’ll see if I can channel my inner Thomas Keller by pouring this wine. A must see (and taste)!

As I’m sure you saw on the national news last year, there were multiple fires that ravaged the Napa Valley area. After speaking to many of the winery owners, they all agree: visiting Napa Valley after the fires is more important than ever. If you’ve been dreaming of taking a trip to try some of your favorite wines, there’s no time like the present. We hope you’ll make a day trip during your next stay at Loews Regency San Francisco. Show us your best wine moments by tagging @loewsregencysf or using the hashtag #LoewsRegencySF.

Olivia