Napa Off the Grid
An undiscovered world awaits wine lovers who venture off the valley’s beaten path.
First-time travelers to Napa Valley often appreciate the apparent simplicity of its infrastructure. Large, well-signed wineries line the backbone of Route 29, making each visit as easy as pulling into a driveway.
But for seasoned visitors, as well as those seeking more authentic experiences closer to Napa’s rural roots, there are plenty of ways to get off the main drag.
For one, the “valley” is home to as many mountains as pockets of valley floor. Those mountains, and their twisting side roads, are littered with vinous gold.
At these small-scale wineries, a handful of people make the magic happen, but a polite phone call will often peel one of them away from their work. It’s a chance to taste through their wines and discover their individual dreams and terroirs.
These experiences are worth savoring for their intimacy, proximity to one-of-a-kind vineyards and rare wine finds.
The same applies to restaurants and inns, equally hidden away, which offer a chance to discover where the locals—or regulars, anyway—hang out.
So turn on the GPS and turn off the highway. Here’s your guide to the roads less traveled.
—Virginie Boone, photos by Katie Newburn