What to Know Before Visiting Napa Valley

If you want to get away somewhere that you can enjoy the beautiful countryside, an elegant atmosphere, and the best offerings in wine, then look no further than Napa Valley in Northern California. However, it can be overwhelming to visit this area for the first time and try to navigate all the ins and outs of this special town, so we’ve collected some tips and tricks to ensure a memorable and engaging trip. 

Reservations Are Key

COVID has changed everyone’s lives and almost every place that hosts people, especially restaurants. Here in Napa, most of the tasting rooms no longer offer drop-in tastings—even the more casual spots. Make sure to check out the place you want to go to and book your spot well in advance. Take into consideration travel times and perusing around the grounds, too, if you want to stop in at more than one place a day. Choose smaller wineries if you want to avoid the crowds. 

Tasting Rooms vs. Wineries

If you’ve never visited a “wine town” before, you might mistake every place that offers tastings for an actual vineyard. However, some tasting rooms simply offer wines from vineyards around the area, while full-service wineries actually grow, barrel, and bottle their wines on site. Tasting rooms are fun, but try to get into a working winery for the full Napa experience. 

Choose Your Designated Driver Beforehand

No matter how old you are, a sober driver is one of the most important parts of a day out in Napa-town. If you’re there for a few days, let your group take turns so that everyone can have the enjoyment of a wine-filled day. Many sommeliers enjoy “sipping and spitting,” though, too, and almost all tasting rooms or wineries offer a counter barrel specifically for this purpose. These are also the days of Uber and Lyft, so if no one wants to take the turn, you’ve got options! 

Create a Unique Experience

Each winery has its own “flair.” Some are funky, some suave, some chic. Check out the websites and reviews and fill your day with a mix of all that Napa has to offer. You might find a place that surprises you! 

Slow and Steady Wins the Sipping

You’re tasting, sipping, laughing, filling… the California sun is upon you and you’re having the time of your life! Oops… it’s all of a sudden too much and you can’t finish out your day. No one wants that! Take it slow, drink generous amounts of water, and make sure to fit in time for food, too. Three wineries a day is usually a good base. 

Wine Clubs Can Wait

The wine club will always be there! Sure, you might get a great discount if you join right away, but you probably don’t have the means to do this at each place you visit. Better to let things settle and decide later if the wine club is really the best fit for you. 

Don’t Forget the Pictures! 

Pictures will make your memories all the sweeter when you can look back at them for years and years to come. Camera phones make this so easy! However, remember to put the phones away when you’re done snapping the pictures so you can stay in the moment. 

Final Thoughts

Led by winemaker Andy Erickson, ELLMAN is a Napa family vineyard and Family winery in Napa, specializing in creating and sharing fine wines honoring their family name. With his vast experience, Andy Erickson works with ELLMAN as they become one of the top wineries in Napa. ELLMAN even offers private tastings at their own Downtown Napa tasting rooms so you can try their wine! Whether you are looking for Andy Erickson wine or everything that ELLMAN has to offer, you need to check out this family-owned winery in Napa for yourself. You can find out more about ELLMAN here, or learn how to get in contact with us to get started. 

For more tips on traveling to Napa Valley, check out these resources to learn more:

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