If you’ve ever thought about taking a trip to the Napa Valley to tour wineries, be warned that it’s not cheap. Tours and tastings are rarely free and the better (or more exclusive) the wine you want to try, the more costly it’s likely to be. Before our honeymoon, I foolishly thought that most of the tastings would be free or inexpensive. Little did I know…
We did find a few coupons that reduced the cost of the tastings and we severely limited the number of wineries we visited. If we ever go out there again (and I very much hope we will), I’m going to do a lot of research in advance to locate deals for the wineries we want to tour and I’m going to book those tours before we leave home.
We chose Heitz Wine Cellars as our first stop on our second (and sadly last) day in Napa because I had heard of the winery before and I knew they made great wines. Their tasting also happened to be free. The Heitz tasting room was gorgeous and the landscaping around it was just as beautiful (full of poppies and wisteria!). I think we spent just as much time wandering around outside taking photos as we did tasting their fantastic wines.
Another warning: if the tasting and/or tour is cheap and/or free, you’ll pressure yourself into buying a bottle of wine from them. After the winery employees have expertly led you through the tasting, you’ll feel the need for one of their wines. We toured three wineries and bought wine from each even though we didn’t even have room in our bags to carry it all home. Since the Heitz tasting was free, we purchased a bottle of Zinfandel from them that’s currently on our wine shelf waiting to be opened.
After we finished up at Heitz Cellars, we headed just a tiny bit down the road to Louis M. Martini. It’s another winery we’d heard of (and consumed wine from) before our trip and we happened to have a half price tastings coupon in our hands. Sucker that I am, I got talked into one of their more expensive tastings. Why try the grocery store variety wine if you don’t have to do so? As a result, we have a fantastic Zinfandel (that cost way more than we usually spend of a bottle of wine) squirreled away to enjoy on our first anniversary next April. I hope it’s as good next year as we thought it was when we tried it!