Calling all shutterbugs: Napa Valley provides a plethora of fab photo backgrounds, all of which practically beg to be photographed and shared via social media and travel photo books. So ready your favorite SLR or (and?) newest iPhone Pro and head to these wine country spots — they’re top backdrops for photo-ready selfies, panoramas and hidden gems alike.
Welcome to Napa Valley
Back in 1949, Napa Valley wineries weren’t as prolific or as popular as they are now. To attract visitors, Napa Valley Vintners added two now-famous large redwood signs along Highway 29 — one between Yountville and Oakville and another south of Calistoga. Perhaps the quintessential photo-op of any visit to the valley, the signs stand ready (and recently refreshed) for your perfect pic.
Rail Arts District (RAD) Napa
RAD Napa is a free outdoor contemporary art museum that begins in downtown Napa’s Oxbow District and follows the city’s Vine Trail bike path and Wine Train tracks north. The growing list of murals and sculptures includes “The Hummingbirds” mural at 1775 Industrial Avenue in Napa. Local artist Trevor Linder was inspired by a dream he had about the birds, which live throughout the valley. These murals make fab photo backgrounds for your travel photo book or social media posts.
Bird's-eye Valley View
Sky-high views are often once in a lifetime, so remember to snap plenty of pics (and don’t drop your camera) from a hot-air balloon. Balloons Above the Valley has more than 40 years of high-flying experience. You’ll enjoy piping-hot coffee and fresh pastries before takeoff, and if you’re nervous about that phone drop, choose their photo package, relax and enjoy the ride.
The Grape Crusher
The largest cast sculpture west of the Mississippi River is The Grape Crusher, just off Highway 29 and south of Napa. The worker’s brimmed hat alone is 4 feet across; if he’d stand up, he’d be 18 feet tall. Santa Fe artist Gino Miles created the bronze piece, representing well the labor of love that is the art of winemaking.
You come to Napa Valley, you expect plenty of wine — and the valley delivers, beautifully. Every winery has their own style of wine making and storage. Some incorporate their tastings alongside the wine barrels. Whether you gravitate toward chilled (and ginormous) stainless steel wine tanks, a tall wall of stacked barrels or cool caves with rows of French oak barrels or concrete vats, having your photo taken in front of, or among, said storage is a winery-visit must. Fab photo background? We'll toast to that.
From the charm of historic downtown Napa through the wineries of Napa Valley — each with its distinct architectural story — and up to the Castello di Amorosa near Calistoga, you’ll find backdrops galore for your photos.
For example, the 107-room Calistoga castle was built with hand-chiseled local stone (8,000+ tons of it) and almost a million antique bricks imported from Europe. Find your favorite nook, turret or archway and snap away. Napa’s Ashes & Diamonds is a mid-century modern architectural treat with a sweet yellow door that’s a sunny-fun backdrop for selfies. The avant-garde Artesa Estate has influences of both Barcelona and the Bay Area, plus fountains and sweeping Los Carneros views. Spottswoode is home to a restored pre-Prohibition Queen Anne Victorian-style farmhouse. And these are just a handful of the nearly 400 wineries in the valley.
After a day of taking so many picturesque photos, it’s time to relax and unwind. Head over to Archer Hotel Napa in downtown Napa and up to its welcoming rooftop experience, Sky & Vine® Rooftop Bar. Laze in a lounger next to a fire pit overlooking the majestic valley, enjoy a bar bite and toast with a killer cocktail, local beer or (yes) winsome wine: To a day well spent in wine country.
Then snap a few more pics; you know you want to remember that view.