Northern California’s Wine Country is a west coast paradise of sprawling vineyards, rolling hills, and unforgettable wines. It’s home to scenic highways, meandering country roads, and gorgeous state parks, as well as Michelin-starred, farm-to-table restaurants, luxury resorts, and charming small-town main streets lined with galleries, cafes, and chic boutiques.
Best known for its prized cabernet sauvignon, this region—spanning Sonoma to Napa and up to St. Helena and Calistoga—also produces world-class chardonnays, merlots, pinot noirs, and more, making it a must-visit destination for any wine lover.
Of course, no trip to Wine Country is complete without the quintessential winery tours, vineyard visits, and delicious tastings. But, with hundreds of wineries and tasting rooms to choose from—as well as incredible dining experiences for every taste and year-round outdoor activities for every interest—you may want help deciding what to see and do during your stay.
We recently asked Kaitlyn, our Wine Country Destination Manager, to share her ideal itinerary for three perfect days in this California paradise. Good food, good wine, and stunning landscapes await!
Start your vacation with breakfast and vineyard views on the patio of your Equity Estates home. Your Local Host will have the kitchen fully stocked before you arrive, so you can enjoy an easy morning before heading out for a day of tours and tastings.
Mid-morning, head over to nearby Fantesca, a lovely estate winery specializing in small-production chardonnays, pinots, and cabernet sauvignons produced by world-class winemaker, Heidi Barrett. For your private tour, you’ll be greeted with a glass of sparkling wine and taken on a leisurely walk through the grounds, with stunning views of the vineyards, olive trees, and surrounding hills while learning more about the winery’s history. From there, you’ll explore the wine cave—originally an abandoned silver mine—built into the hillside of Spring Mountain. Then settle in for an intimate tasting of Fantesca’s current vintage, as well as a selection of library wines, in their beautiful upstairs tasting room.
Afterwards, stop for a fabulous garden-patio lunch at Clif Family Farm’s colorful Bruschetteria Food Truck, located next door to their Rifugio Tasting Room in St. Helena. The food is fresh, local, and amazing, with an ever-changing menu of salads, rotisserie chicken, and bruschetta to choose from. The porchetta bruschetta and the rosemary and lemon chicken are especially wonderful (and pair perfectly with Clif Family’s award-winning cabernets). And the shaded patio is an excellent spot to enjoy the mild California weather.
After lunch, take a short walk or bike ride through St. Helena to explore before visiting Peacock Vineyard for your next tasting. At this family-run hilltop estate, you’ll have unbelievable views of the valley and a private outdoor tasting on the patio or by the pool. With hands-on attention from the owners, light snacks to accompany your wine, and the family’s friendly dogs running and playing around the property, the experience here is more laid-back than some of the other estate wineries—perfect for a relaxing afternoon.
That night, we’ll arrange dinner at Goose and Gander. This cozy gastropub serves up creative cocktails and rustic American comfort food (with produce from their own gardens). Or we’d be happy to arrange a dinner at The Charter Oak, a casually cool restaurant with a gorgeous courtyard patio and seasonal California cuisine—your choice.
On day two, a customized full day wine excursion begins with Crush Napa Wine Tours, one of our trusted local experts. You’ll be picked up in the morning for private tastings and behind-the-scenes tours (both well-known estates and hidden gems).
Relax in the comfort of your private luxury car as you are driven along country roads and up to hillside vineyards, stop for lunch at one of the area’s top restaurants (or combine lunch and tasting with a picnic or food and wine pairing at one of the vineyards on your itinerary), and learn more about the region and wine-making process along the way.
With deep relationships within the industry, a thoughtful approach to crafting an itinerary based on your preferences, and a desire to provide a sneak peek at the authentic side of California’s wine country, your guide will make sure you have an unforgettable experience that is perfectly suited to your interests.
After your day out, take some time to relax by the pool or enjoy the home’s hot tub before dinner. We’ll have reservations for you at the Michelin-starred Auberge du Soleil, for a truly special experience. You must try the green garlic soup and don’t skip tasting their local lamb entrée.
Start early on day three with a breathtaking sunrise hot air balloon ride over the valley. After having preflight coffee and tea on the ground, you’ll take to the sky for panoramic views of the vineyards and green hills below, floating quietly for up to an hour, watching as the sun fully rises and the valley begins to stir.
After your sky-high adventure, refuel with a yummy OG Donut at The Station in downtown St. Helena, and take a stroll along Main Street to visit some of the town’s popular art galleries. Starting with the contemporary Christopher Hill Gallery, work your way up through the newly renovated MEUSE (the official gallery of artist Simon Bull) and the Nimbus Arts Gallery, ending at the fun and funky ÆRENA Galleries & Gardens, a combination gallery, antique shop, and boutique.
Do some shopping while you’re out, then have a delicious lunch of house pasta or gourmet sandwiches—along with a glass or two of Brasswood Cellars’ signature wine—at the comfortable Brasswood Bar + Kitchen.
After lunch, you may choose to explore the redwoods and creek-side trails of Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, head a few minutes north to visit the cute town of Calistoga, enjoy a luxurious treatment at Spa Solage, or head over to Round Pond Estate in Rutherford for an afternoon wine flight or an olive oil tour and tasting at their onsite olive mill (one of only two working mills in the valley).
That night, your Destination Manager will arrange a special in-home wine and pizza experience. Choose from a large list of local wines (provided by wine expert Jeff Blaum) to create your own custom exploration of a particular varietal, region, or range of winemaking styles. As part of the experience, a pizza chef will fire up the home’s outdoor oven for made-from-scratch pies. He’ll cook for you from his featured repertoire—classic margherita; locally cured pepperoni, spicy sausage and onion; or a shaved Brussels sprouts, potato, and Gruyère pizza—or you may make suggestions based on available ingredients. With a tasting of six to eight wines, fresh salad, and oven-fired pizza served in the comfort of your Equity Estates home, it’s an excellent way to wrap up three amazing days in Wine Country.
Dramatic gardens and beautiful vineyard views create a stunning setting for your chic and spacious Wine Country home. This four-bedroom, classic European-style residence features gorgeous oak floors, a chef-quality gourmet kitchen, and a large wine refrigerator, as well as an excellent indoor/outdoor design. Arched windows frame the views and fill each room with light, while French doors open onto a covered patio with fireplace and outdoor pizza oven and a peaceful backyard with a private pool and spa. Just a short walk, drive, or bike ride away from local wineries and St. Helena’s picturesque Main Street, it’s the perfect home base for an unforgettable California vacation.
Your Destination Manager will work with you to plan your itinerary before you arrive and make sure your stay is effortless by arranging reservations for activities, transportation, and dining. Leave the details to us and arrive to a fully stocked kitchen and bar, with groceries of your choice from the local market. With Equity Estates, comfort and luxury are yours.
Travel with Equity Estates for a unique and memorable experience. If you would like more information about investing with Equity Estates, please reach out to our Investor Relations team at 404.445.8501 or click to schedule a call.