It’s day 4 of our wine country road trip — are you following along? We’re exploring Napa and Sonoma Valleys’ top destinations for dining, wine tasting and shopping. 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! See our picks for Point Reyes, Sonoma and Napa; today, we’re stopping in beautiful, charming Yountville.
Start the day at Bouchon Bakery with coffee and a croissant, cheese danish or blueberry muffin. Adjacent to Thomas Keller’s classic French bistro Bouchon (a don’t-miss dinner spot), the bakery is stocked with a rainbow of macarons, perfectly crafted baguettes and boules, eclairs and fruit tarts. You can also pick up a few snacks for the road, such as flavored popcorn and Neapolitan rice crispy treats.
Fresh from Bouchon euphoria, visit the French Laundry Farm, a three-acre farm that provides the freshest possible produce to Chef Keller’s acclaimed restaurants. You can walk around and see the fruits and vegetables tended by gardeners, including Aaron Keefer (get the details in our Q&A with him here).
Next, fill up your tank at Kelly’s Fuel and Provisions, a gas station unlike any you’ve ever seen. Inside you’ll find a piano, full espresso bar and extensive wine collection, along with plenty of picnic supplies for tasters.
Head over to V Marketplace for unique art galleries and more specialty shops, including one of our favorites, Kollar Chocolates. There, you’ll find small-batch chocolate truffles with unexpected flavors, like fennel pollen or cardamom. The truffles are as artistic as they are delicious, perfect for gifts (or afternoon pick-me-ups).
When it’s time for lunch, grab a table at Redd Wood, the more casual outpost from Chef Richard Reddington of Redd. The Italian-inspired eatery serves wood-fired pizzas and house-made pastas and charcuterie in an open, contemporary dining room. Take advantage of warm days with the restaurant’s patio seating.
Or, enjoy lunch at homey Bistro Jeanty, a traditional and charming neighborhood restaurant where you’ll find authentic French classics such as escargots and cassoulet. Open for the past 15 years, it’s a favorite for locals.
Explore Napa Valley’s acclaimed wineries with some afternoon wine tastings. At Robert Sinskey Vineyards, you can sample a flight of wines paired with a plate of small bites from The Vineyard Kitchen, where the vintner’s wife, Chef Maria Helm Sinskey, is Culinary Director. Get to know Robert and Maria in our exclusive interviews.
You’ll need a reservation for a visit to Stag’s Leap Winery, but it’s well worth planning ahead. The beautiful vineyards are located on one of California’s oldest wine estates, complete with a stone winery and Victorian gardens — see it all in the historical tasting tour.
Yountville is a food-lover’s paradise; dinner options abound, and it’s impossible to go wrong. Chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s roadside restaurant Mustards Grill is a hub for chefs and winemakers on their nights off, serving comfort food favorites like barbecued ribs, macaroni and cheese alongside fresh salads and chipotle-rubbed quail.
Experience more of Thomas Keller’s celebrated cuisine at Ad Hoc, his most casual restaurant, where the menu changes daily. It’s known for featuring stellar versions of humble American classics like fried chicken and creamy grits.
Back at V Marketplace, you can dine at Bottega, where Chef Michael Chiarello goes back to his roots with bold southern Italian dishes in a villa-style setting. Cozy up next to a wood-burning fire on the patio and sip a glass of wine before — or after — your meal.
The next stop on our road trip is gorgeous St. Helena! But first, we have two stops to recommend on your way up: Oakville Grocery, where you’ll find some of the best local products and prepared foods around, and Nickel and Nickel Vineyards, a perfect place for your next wine tasting. Make an appointment to tour the winery’s historic farmstead and sample a selection of single-vineyard wines paired with artisanal cheeses.