My significant other and I are visiting Napa and Sonoma for the first time next month (Arriving in SFO mid-day Oct. 6, leaving mid-day Oct. 12 (Sat-Fri, 5 full days). We are complete wine neophytes, aside from simply 'liking wine.' We are completely open to anything and everything, but place equal weight on enjoying the scenery, relaxing, enjoying fun food and new things, as much as trying wines and visiting vineyards.
We are staying in St. Helena and have a rental car. We are thinking of splitting our time between Sonoma and Napa, and potentially going to the ocean or something else fun. We have no real time table or places we absolutely must do. We are looking for the trip to be relaxing, but want to make sure we see the high notes (and give ourselves reasons to come back). We are also looking to keep overall costs down, but 0-20pp for tastings are fine. We are planning on purchasing a few bottles of wine, and plan on cooking at home (rental) for part/most of the week.
Additionally, I am planning on proposing while we are there. At first I was thinking of doing it at a winery, but I think it might be better to do it somewhere we wouldn't associate the moment with a product as much as a locale. I was thinking of doing it at sunset on the Overlook Trail (Sonoma), bringing a picnic and a bottle of bubbly to commemorate. However, I am still open to doing it at a winery with a fantastic view that we could get away from the crowd and be able to do it one on one. Some options I am considering are Sterling (going off somewhere with a view), Kuleto, Gundlach-Bundschu, Chateau St. Jean, Paradise Ridge (maybe the sunset picnic on Wednesday, or seeing if I can do it solo on a different day), Castello di Amorosa or Spring Mountain. Regardless, if you all would be willing to offer both a location and a follow up place to eat or go, I would appreciate any suggestions.
All of that said, from reading the board and doing some excessive googling, I have put together a list of wineries to see and places to eat. I would love any help grouping the wineries and helping chart my vacation. Figuring out timing and driving time/distance is goofy in the valleys.
Chateau St. Jean
Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves
Castello di Amorosa
Spring Mountain (SM, Erna Shein, Barnett)
Boon Fly Café
Girl and the Fig
Picnic supplies from D&D
Bistro don Giovanni
Etoile at Domain Chandon
The Original Taylors
The Girl and the Fig
Let me know if there is anything else I can provide to help with decisions.
Thanks In Advance.
PS: What about a mud bath? Anywhere reasonable but nice?