Fourth of July in Napa: Domaine Carneros & Rutherford Hill Winery
Thank you so much for your comments on yesterday’s post! I loved reading your thoughts on healthy living blogging vs. food blogging and it made me feel good about my decision to float somewhere in the middle.
Also, if you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post, there is a giveaway for a great Food Photography eBook so be sure to stop by and enter if you are interesting in improving your food photography!
It’s kind of funny that after all of that talk regarding blog classifications yesterday, I’m posting about booze today. #imawino
Clearly, I’m all over the place…but I can’t live in Northern California and not share all of the fantastic places there are to drink wine! I’m pretty sure that would be considered a sin in some kind of religion.
Truthfully, I would have loved to see my family on July 4th and hang out in my bathing suit by the pool all day, but since we are an entire country away from them, we chose to do the next best thing and took a day trip to Napa.
We went in the afternoon so that we could start the day with a relaxing breakfast at home and I made banana stuffed French toast with fresh whole wheat bread from Trader Joes.
It was very filling and the perfect pre-wine tasting fuel.
Our first stop was at Domaine Carneros where I made reservations for an early afternoon wine tasting.
Domaine Carneros is absolutely beautiful and their terrace has a gorgeous view.
Apparently, it’s a really popular place because they were completely full when we got there.
Although, it wasn’t hard to see why as the tables on the terrace have a beautiful view and they offer individual table service, which is actually pretty rare.
Doing an outdoor tasting there is a must.
They are known for their sparkling wine and have three different tasting options, two of which also include their pinot noir.
They also have a nice selection of cheeses and charcuterie (which we politely declined) to pair with the wines.
I went all out and ordered the Grande Tasting which included two sparkling wines and two pinot noirs.
I chose this one mainly because it included the Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine (Le Rêve means “the dream” in French).
What can I say? I’m a sucker for the the romanticism of the French language. It was really good and seriously smooth.
Brandon opted for the first tasting option which included three of their sparkling wines.
He’s much more of a red wine drinker though so he helped me polish off my pinot noirs while I gracefully drank all sampled a few of his sparkling wines.
We also ordered a cheese plate that included three different local Californian cheeses, cashews, dried pear and apricots.
It was a perfect way to spend the afternoon and definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Napa!
After that, we made our way over to Dean & Deluca to pick up a few items for a picnic.
I hadn’t been to a Dean & Deluca before and read a review that stated they make Whole Foods look like a Safeway. Naturally, I had to see for myself.
They had a nice dessert selection and I almost got a festive 4th of July cupcake, but ended-up taking home a Boston cream cupcake instead.
Brandon, being the chocolate lover that he is, ogled over their large chocolate selection.
Overall, it was a really nice store but I don’t think it makes Whole Foods look like Safeway. The biggest difference I did notice, however, was the price. Believe it or not, there is a grocery store more expensive than Whole Foods.
After spending way too much money grabbing a few things, we took a short drive to Rutherford Hill Winery to have a picnic.
I read about the great views that Rutherford Hill had from their picnic tables and reserved one ahead of time in case they were busy. Yes, I’m a total type A.
They charge $30 to reserve a table but allow $20 of that towards a bottle of wine so technically, you are paying $1o for the table and the view.
The view was really beautiful and I would say it was worth the $10.
We actually had the whole picnic area to ourselves which was peaceful.
It was a little hotter than usual so that might have been why.
And we happened to have randomly picked the table that was labeled Table 12, which made Brandon happy. #gigem
After enjoying our picnic and a few glasses of sauvignon blanc while taking in the pretty view, we left to make it home before the sun set.
Coco is pretty terrified of fireworks so we wanted to be home with her while they were going off. She’s a big scaredy cat.
We split the Boston cream cupcake while taking in a movie and then called it a night because I had to be to work early the next morning.
It was really a wonderful day and I highly recommend both Domaine Carneros and Rutherford Hill if you are ever in Napa Valley!
Have you ever been to Napa Valley?
Is your dog scared of fireworks?
I’ve always wanted to visit Napa. I visited southern Ca for the first time in May…wish I had time to visit the great places in the north!!!
All the pictures from your fourth are so beautiful and have me drooling :). Seems like a pretty perfect day to me!
The vineyard looks soooo amazing! I’ve always wanted to go to Napa Valley, but haven’t gotten there yet! I don’t know what it is, but I have such an attraction to vineyards. They’re just so beautiful!
Love your pictures! Looks like you had such a nice time! :)
I just read your post about blogging categories and I relate so much to it! I have been wanting to write a similar post! I don’t think I fall into the category of being an expert at food blogging, healthy living, exercising, organizing, decorating, traveling, etc.. I am just me and I am trying to learn to be okay with it and not compare myself. It is a challenge but I find that the more I accept my blog, the better my blogging gets :)
By the way, I have been researching a new camera and I always love your pics! Do you recommend the camera your purchased?
I love that you are yourself through your blog and I think that’s way more interesting than trying to fit a specific mold.
I really like my camera and think it is very user friendly for beginners. If you are interested in getting one for food photography, I have found the 50mm 1.8 lens to be great- it’s what I use every time. (You have to purchase it extra, it’s not a standard lens) The 50mm 1.4 is even better (from what I’ve read) but it’s much more expensive. The lens is almost more important than whatever body you shoot with. But I’ve seen a lot of great pictures taken with Nikons too so I think you have to do your research to see what fits you best. Let me know if you run into any other questions along the way! :)
Ahh, so flipping gorgeous. I have a trip to Napa planend a few weekends from now and I can’t wait to check out all it has to offer. Do you have any good recommendations for dinner restaurants?
I have only been to Napa for day trips so I never got a chance to scope out any good dinner restaurants, unfortunately. I imagine there are a ton of amazing ones to choose from though!
Becky told me she is coming to visit- you guys are going to have such a great time! I would love to meet up with you in Napa but I have to work on Friday. I told her to let me know what you end up doing in San Fran and I might try to tag along for a little bit. :)
Everything looks so fantastic, and the scenery looks so gorgeous! (I feel like I’ve said that exact same thing in a previous comment–or multiple–but it’s true!) I definitely would have chosen Boston Cream Pie over 4th of July themed food :) Sounds like it was a fantastic day!
Looks like you had a great weekend. I am salivating over all those chocolates. Yum. Love your dress btw, so pretty. :) You do such a wonderful job telling a story through your pictures.
That banana stuffed french toast looks amazing! You look gorgeous too. I love your outfit!
Omg that french toast looks so good and love your dress!
My poor dog is terrified of fireworks and was terrified ALL weekend :(
Ah I have always wanted to visit napa, and after this post i neeeed to visit napa! everything looks so beautiful and delicious! and btw i ALWAYS love your clothes- that dress is beautiful!
This is quite possibly the most perfect Fourth of July. Amazing wine, delicious food and great company. Plus getting back home in time to snuggle the pup :). Ours was full of rain, but we snuck in some wine ;).
Keep these gorgeous pictures coming…they make my day!
So beautiful! We live close to the Niagara region here in Southern Ontario and it’s such a blessing to live near wine country. Napa is on my travel bucket list:)
Looks like such a fun day! I’ve only ever been to one winery tasting, and I definitely need to go to more…I live only an hour or two away from the Niagara region, so I really need to get up there and get sampling! I’m with Brandon on drooling over the chocolate selection…it looks amazing.
Atticus got his first taste of fireworks just over a week ago and he wasn’t exactly a fan ;-) he wasn’t freaking out, but he was definitely hiding between my feet!
Looove your dress girl! Beautiful. I’m also a wino and proud of it..haha. I’ve never been to napa but it is on my list. I’ll have to get a list of all the best places to visit from you.
This looks like my perfect day – a delicious breakfast followed by wine tasting and a picnic, love it! Kyle’s the exact same way about wine, he doesn’t care for sparkling too much and prefers reds :)
Have you guys figured out where you’re going in Napa yet?
Gosh you are so darn beautiful! That winery looks gorgeous. What a great way to spend the day!
Oh Melanie, you spoil me with your comments. I’m Sarah, plain and tall. :)
That stuffed french toast looks ridiculously good!! I guess I know what I’ll be making the next time that I have brinner!
I feel like I say the exact same thing every time you do a post centered around Northern California but I will say it again. I am so envious of the view, the vineyards and the location!! I have a feeling vacation will be in the San Fran/Napa area again next year!!
You should plan a vacay out here, you’d love it! The weather’s perfect and if you love wine, there’s no better place to be! :)
I drive by Domaine Carneros all.the.time on Highway 12. I think it would be a stunning place for a wedding :)
It would be a beautiful place to get married. Actually, I can think of a 100 places out here that would be great for a wedding, it’s so beautiful! :)
That banana stuffed French toast sounded delicious and definitely the perfect way to get ready for a day of drinking. I must say I prefer red wine to white like Brandon but I prefer cab sav to Pinot Noir.
That Boston cupcake looked amazing!
I love Domaine Carneros! My ex boyfriend was from Napa and his mom treated me to a tasting for Christmas 2 years ago and for our birthday last year (our bday was the same day…awkward). That view is so gorgeous. Sounds like a lovely day!
Too bad it didn’t work out, his mom sounded pretty cool! ;) I loved it there!
I don’t think I’ve been to either of those wineries but they sure look lovely. :)
Lando is very gun shy, or basically anything that makes a loud noise. As a puppy he was terrified of delivery trucks and dump trucks. Since we moved to the east foot hills, and people seem to enjoy shooting off fireworks any part of the year, he either climbs into our laps or huddles in the corner of our bedroom. it’s cute to watch, but sad how terrified he is.
Aw, poor Lando! Gigi used to bark like crazy at delivery trucks too. If only they could comprehend everything we tell them then they would understand how silly it is!
I’ve been to all of the places you have pictured here, and I love every one of them (especially Domaine Carneros and Rutherford Hill Winery). Looks like you had a lovely day!
Where is that dress from?! Gorgeous!
Thanks Ashlee! It’s from Guess! It just came out too so they have plenty in stock on their website! :)