We’re taking a virtual road trip through California’s wine country all week! Follow us on Twitter and retweet our daily #wsroadtrip tweets with your favorite wine country destination named in the tweet, for a chance to win a $100 gift card. We’ve made our way from Point Reyes through Sonoma, Napa and Yountville — and today, we’re up in charming St. Helena.
Start your day with a stroll down the town’s Main Street, lined with restaurants and shops featuring local foods and other products. Pop inside the St. Helena Olive Oil Co. to shop for locally made extra-virgin olive oils and vinegars, in addition to other pantry essentials. You can also sample all of the unique oils at the store’s tasting bar.
When you’re in the area, a trip to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone is a must. You can tour the acclaimed culinary college in its beautiful, castle-like campus, attend demonstrations and classes, and even enjoy meals created by aspiring chefs at the school’s restaurants.
Or, save your appetite for lunch at Gott’s Roadside, the iconic burger joint, in its first location. Burgers (from nearby Niman Ranch), fries and old-fashioned soft-serve ice cream are staples on the menu, and there’s also a selection of wines and beers.
After lunch, it’s time for more wine tasting! Head over to Spring Mountain Vineyard to experience the picturesque vines, historic mansion, greenhouse and gardens and to taste some of their distinctive reds. Just up the road at Barnett Vineyards, you can sip hand-crafted Cabernet Sauvignon and tour the wine cave — just be sure to make an appointment ahead of time for both locations.
Come dinnertime, St. Helena’s food scene really comes to life. Dine at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, where Chef Stephen Barber and his team prepare seasonal farmhouse food made with organic and sustainably produced ingredients. The restaurant is situated in a former nursery barn alongside Long Meadow Ranch’s winery tasting room and gardens, where corn, peppers, fruit trees and more abound.
The menu at Tra Vigne blends Tuscany’s meat and pasta dishes with fresh Napa Valley ingredients. Open for more than 25 years, the restaurant is known for its brick oven pizzas, handmade mozzarella cheese and extensive wine dish; take a seat on the covered courtyard and let Italy come to you.
With Chef Christopher Kostow at the helm, The Restaurant at Meadowood has gained national recognition for its multicourse tasting menus with innovative techniques and excellent service. This elegant dining experience is a perfect choice for a special occasion.
On your way out of St. Helena, you’ll drive right through Calistoga, where there’s more wining and dining to be done. Reserve an appointment at Schramsberg Vineyards to taste their premium sparkling wines and walk through their historic caves. Next, visit Chateau Montelena, a 19th-century estate that produced one of the first American wines to best a French wine in a tasting competition. (If you’ve seen Bottle Shock, you’re familiar with the story.) You can tour the beautiful grounds and sample wines in the tasting room.
Next stop: Healdsburg! Keep reading for more of our top culinary destinations.