A Taste for Adventure

By Alicia Pettis

Wine Down Wednesday in Napa Valley

This post actually starts with Tuesday evening…which is a bit deceiving from the title.

We landed in San Francisco at around 5 pm, picked up our rental car and made our way out to Napa Valley. Once we had made a quick check-in to the hotel, we went to a restaurant nearby for a 9 pm reservation. I ALWAYS use yelp to help me pick places to eat, especially while traveling, and it never lets me down.

This was no exception. Since we were really the last party seated for the night, we got a great table. We sat outside with a direct view of the fountain which was all lit up. It was beautiful! We got some delicious food and just relaxed into our surroundings.

I had a posh cosmo, which was just a cosmo with sparkling wine. For food I had beef carpaccio and manetlli pasta with pesto. Yum!

I’m really excited to be here with my mom, who is very supportive and loving. This mother-daughter trip is a chance for each us to have fun, but most importantly for us to have fun together. The relationship between my mom and me has only gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older. Which I suspect is the norm. For one, I lean on her for advice and see her role with more gratitude. Second, I see myself taking on more of her habits and personality, which makes me feel closer to her. It’s a cool connection!

Once we got back to the hotel, we went straight to bed, given that there is a 3 hour difference between the west coast and east coast. Tomorrow, we would wake up and start our winery tour of Napa!


We woke up, for breakfast at the hotel and started plotting. We honestly didn’t plan anything for this trip, besides hotels, flights and the cars. It has made me a little nervous because I’m used to at least doing a little research beforehand. But, I had the internet, so everything was going to be fine.

I like using TripAdvisor for planning out activities. So, I went on and found a list of the best activities to do in Napa. We went back to our hotel room and I made reservations for the places that needed them. Then, we were on our way!

Our first stop was Sterling Vineyards, which had quite the tasting experience, since there was a cable car involved. Basically, the tasting venue is on top of a mountain, which you take a cable car up to the platform. This made for some stunning views!


Once we got to the top, we were directed through different rooms, with great views and info about the place. It was a great first stop for the scenic aspect.

We honestly just chatted with everyone there, so what was supposed to be an hour, took 2 and half hours. So we were unable to get lunch in between our next tasting. Looking back, I would not recommend doing a wine tour on an empty stomach…

Our next tasting was at Hess Vineyard, which has a stunning private, contemporary art collection. That was our main reason for going there, since both myself and my mom like art.

We did a tasting of the wines and then headed up to the private art collection. The one that we both loved the most was a typewriter with flames coming out of it. It was created by an artist who uncle was killed for writing an inflammatory story. We thought that the typewriter was quite apt for the current political climate as well. News on fire!

I had made a reservation for a local restaurant called “Redd.” It once had 1 Michelin star, but lost it. Oh well! We knew it would be great, without the absorbent prices that come with the Michelin rating. I’m pretty sure that Napa Valley has the most Michelin rated restaurants per capita in the US. The food here was good!

We got dressed up, aka I wore heels, and headed over. No one in Napa dresses up! It’s all very casual, so my mom and I were usually the most dressed up wherever we went. Oh well!

Even at this restaurant everyone was casual. I used yelp to help pick out a dish, and again, yelp didn’t let me down! I got seared scallops which were delicious. After drinking wine all day, there was just no way I was going to get wine with dinner. I needed a little break!

Since we had such an early reservation, we decided to go to downtown napa to see what was around.

Besides me talking constantly about wanting to go to San Francisco, my mom had gotten an email from her alma mater, Johns Hopkins, about an alumni tour of Napa valley. It was way out of our price range, but it spurred us create our own trip.

We headed back to our hotel and crashed, given that we were 3 hours behind and had been drinking wine all day. Tomorrow was going to be filled with even more wine. This was my kind of vacay!

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