Romance Abounds in Napa Valley
If you think that taking your significant other to Napa Valley is a romantic gesture, you’d be correct — several times over. Whether yours is a brand-new love or one with a long and storied history, you can’t go wrong exploring all that the wine country has to offer. Capture your romance in a photo with charming, idyllic backdrops. Wine and dine your partner in some of the area’s finest dining establishments. Invite your better half to explore the valley’s activities. The entries on this list are some of the most romantic spots in Napa Valley; they’ve been handpicked by one of Archer Hotel Napa’s in-the-know concierges, Dominique Catteau, so you know that you’re in good hands.
This Napa winery is perhaps best known as a grower-producer of sparkling wines and complex pinot noirs. The 18th-century French-inspired château at Domaine Carneros is a wine country landmark, complete with a grand staircase, a fireside salon with marble floors, expansive outdoor terraces, formal gardens and a winery view worthy as a backdrop for your photos. After capturing your love in a photograph (or several), stay for a wine tasting; the château offers wine flights or tastings by the glass. Caviar and cheese pates paired with your wine selection feed your palate, as well as your romantic soul.
Think of a rustic-yet-chic underground cave with barrels lining the walls, an incredibly inviting lounge and a “grotto-like coolness” that reminds you’re in wine country, and you may as well be imagining the lounge at Failla (pronounced FAY-la) in St. Helena. Enjoy a pinot or chardonnay in this intimate setting that’s so very Napa Valley.
Situated in the heart of the beautiful Carneros countryside, Bouchaine Vineyards is the oldest continuously operating winery in the district. Now a privately owned boutique winery that produces enticing pinot noirs and balanced chardonnays, it offers a picturesque setting, fabulous views, informative vineyard tours and tastings directly from the barrel. The delightful staff at Bouchaine in Napa will have you smiling, so you’ll be camera-ready without even trying.
There’s so much romance wrapped up in the idea of a castle, and Castello di Amorosa — “the castle of love” in Italian — does not disappoint. Authentically styled after a 13th-century Tuscan stone castle, with high walls and five defensive towers, is set among 30 acres of stunning Napa estate vineyards. It’s been dubbed a “must-see destination” and one of the top destination wineries in the United States. Whether you’d prefer a photo-op in the lush vineyard, the great hall with two-story Italian frescos, at the drawbridge and moat, in the dungeon (that’s right, complete with a torture chamber for those more adventurous lovebirds), in the courtyard or at the stables, you’re sure to have ample interesting photos from which to choose. Then stay for a savory paired tasting of the vineyard’s award-winning wines and savory bites.
A true farm-to-table dining experience is the focus at Napa’s Brix. With more than two acres of gardens and orchards that grow crops year-round, its menu brings the culinary traditions of the winemaking regions of Southern France and Northern Italy to Napa. Start with the Dungeness Crab Fondue and a butter lettuce salad, then dig into a French Dip, Forest Mushroom Risotto or Pan Seared Petrale Sole. An extensive wine list complements the menu, as well as the lounge and tasting bar with fireplace. Take home a bottle of Brix Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon — an award-winning wine from the Kelleher Family Vineyard, whose family owns the restaurant.
This luxury property in Rutherford is renowned for its lovely vineyard views, exceptional service and Michelin dining. Dubbed the “Inn of the Sun,” Auberge du Soleil is terraced along the hillside among a 33-acre olive grove. Its restaurant was the first fine-dining establishment in the valley and spectacularly carries on the tradition today. Serving inventive menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, cheese and desserts, plus a seriously expansive wine menu — 50 pages — the restaurant showcases beautifully plated cuisine created with locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Still romantic but offering a lighter fare is the Bistro & Bar. Relax fireside and choose from 40+ wines by the glass along with (among other delights) a shared appetizer, salad, pasta or grilled specialty.
On the Riverfront in downtown Napa is Angèle, a French country restaurant and bar that calls the historic 1890s ship chandlery (aka the Hatt Building) home. Serving refined bistro fare in a romantic riverfront brasserie, Angèle brings rustic elegance to intimate occasions — perfect for a romantic gastronomical rendezvous. Start with Classic French Onion Soup or Fried Deviled Eggs with Black Truffled Crème Fraïche. Dine on Boeuf Bourguignon or Moules Frites. And by all means, don’t skip dessert — get your own, or consider sharable (more romantic, yes?) Butterscotch Bread Pudding and Bourbon Ice Cream or a selection of Artisan Cheeses served with Chestnut Honey and Toasted Levain.
Changing perspective can alter the way people look at life, often for the better. Here’s a change worth exploring: Balloons Above the Valley transports 10 – 20 passengers above Napa Valley for a one-hour unforgettable tour. The views are magnificent, the perspective is unlike any other you’d encounter and several tour options are available. After meeting at Model Bakery for coffee, tea and pastries, the tour takes place. Afterward, an optional brunch at the Michelin-awarded C Casa at Oxbow Public Market delights the palate. A third option adds a chauffeured wine country tour, visiting 4 – 6 premium wineries and enjoying a buffet-style picnic lunch at one of the vineyards. This thumbs-up experience will surely light your fire.
For a unique, relaxing way to experience the valley, consider a tour on the Napa Valley Wine Train. The restored antique train travels on 25 miles of track through the valley, offering ever-changing wine country views and multiple-course meals in an early-1900s luxurious rail atmosphere. A rotating selection of featured experiences includes Valentine’s Day, Murder Mystery and Vista Dome Premier — an exclusive opportunity to travel in the semi-private Champagne Vista Dome luxury railcar. Three six-hour Quattro Vino Tours are also available, which explore the art of winemaking and the legacy of some of the most revered Napa Valley wine estates.
Looking for the quintessential Greenwich Village jazz club experience in Napa Valley? You’ve found it in Blue Note Napa. This intimate, live music jazz club and gourmet restaurant is on the first floor of the historic Napa Valley Opera House and pays homage to all the senses. Along with a variety of live music — traditional and contemporary jazz, blues, R&B, Latin, Americana soul, Rock & Roll — by world-renowned and local Bay Area artists and top-notch market-driven cuisine, the Blue Note features elegant local wines and cocktails and integrated art installations accented with vibrant blue lighting. Color us jazzed.
One of the most romantic spots in Napa Valley is downtown Napa’s luxury boutique retreat — Archer Hotel — offering a unique experience to visitors of the valley. Rooms with soothing design palettes, five-star bedding and Pinterest-worthy pillows, a wine refrigerator, the delectable Charlie Palmer Steak and Archer’s destination rooftop with a bar, restaurant, show kitchen, spa and fitness center (opening spring 2018) take the guesswork out of a romantic getaway. Wow your partner in life and love with a getaway stay at one of the most romantic spots in Napa Valley: Archer Hotel.
Breathe deeply — romance is in the Napa air!