Sure, Napa and Sonoma have the wines, but wine country also has plenty of venues that make romantic hearts flutter.
An idyllic tasting at Trefethen in Napa
Wine country is romantic by nature, especially around Valentine’s Day. The images are cinematic: cruising the backcountry to elegant wineries, sipping rich reds and crisp whites in vineyards, taking in breathtaking views, dining by candlelight and cozying up at posh resort fire pits. Idyllic. But that’s not the only kind of romance found in the wine country. In this season of amore, whether planning a special occasion or leaving it all behind to simply try some special bottles, these spots in Napa and Sonoma are sure to bring out the romance.
Carneros Resort and Spa offers a perfect wine country experience.
Sweeping hills covered in vines, stunning sunsets washing the valley in golden hues, the luxurious taste of world-class wine and food—Napa is the perfect place for an intimate escape.
Trefethen is a family-owned winery in the heart of Napa Valley, and it offers a Taste the Estate experience, which showcases the interplay of flavors and textures of wine and food—a sweet metaphor for how certain things truly are better together. The team crafts an assortment of award-winning wines that include dry riesling, pinot noir and big, bold reds. 1160 Oak Knoll Ave., Napa, 707.255.7700
Carneros Resort and Spa features splendid cottages complemented by two wheels for exploring the area.
Enjoy the coziness of Bistro Don Giovanni’s enclosed terrace or heated fountainside tables while trying a classic menu of seasonally inspired dishes the locals adore. Gardens and vineyards surround the restaurant, and warm European-style lights twinkle above. If the evenings are chilly, retreat next to an indoor fireplace surrounded by a bustling open kitchen and playful Italian artwork. 4110 Howard Lane, Napa, 707.224.3300
Carneros Resort and Spa, which features welcoming and posh cottage-style dwellings, offers a Love is in the Air package this winter. The winter retreat includes a welcome bottle of sparkling wine and resort credit toward spa treatments, romantic picnic baskets and dining. 4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, 707.299.4900
It may seem slightly passe to step aboard an authentic Venetian gondola upon the Napa River, but it’s a perfect twist for a romantic getaway. Bring wine and blankets, then sit back and enjoy the ride from Napa Valley Gondola. 600 Main St., Napa, 707.373.2100
Napa Valley Gondola offers romantic journeys on the Napa River throughout the year.
Don’t let Sonoma’s low-key vibe deceive. In addition to producing world-class pinots, chardonnays and zinfandels—and even some great cabernet—it’s a region to discover delicious farm-to-table cuisine, boutique shopping and spas that rival the best in the world.
Sit at a rustic table under an old oak tree and indulge in a locally sourced picnic lunch surrounded by vineyards. This is a true Sonoma experience. Robert Young is a sixth-generation farming family that produces cabernet sauvignon and offers a private Vineyard Experience tasting for small groups. 5102 Red Winery Road, Geyserville, 707.431.4811
Farm-to-floral program at Barndiva.
Barndiva’s outdoor space is a chic local hangout that looks like an enchanted fairy garden. Enjoy its modern wine country cuisine paired with something lovely from an extensive wine list. 231 Center St., Healdsburg, 707.431.0100
Step into old-world luxury at Hotel Les Mars. Nestled in charming downtown Healdsburg, the property brings the romance of French living to a Sonoma escape. Be sure to plan time for an indulgent dip in the resort’s hydrotherapy tubs, and relax each evening by a cozy in-room fireplace. 27 North St., Healdsburg, 707.433.4211
Explore the mountains, valleys, beaches and vines of Sonoma by bike. Ask the staff at Wine Country Bikes about the company’s casual winery rides, which include tastings and a picnic lunch. Or book a multiday self-guided exploration and go wherever the road leads (definitely get a map for those trips from the Pacific coast to the redwood forests). 61 Front St., Healdsburg, 707.568.3040
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF CARNEROS RESORT AND SPA, BY SETH DANIEL; CARNEROS PHOTO BY ROBB MCDONOUGH; PHOTO COURTESY OF CARNEROS RESORT AND SPA; PHOTO BY JIL HALES