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.

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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.

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Domaine Carneros is absolutely beautiful and their terrace has a gorgeous view.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Brandon, being the chocolate lover that he is, ogled over their large chocolate selection.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The view was really beautiful and I would say it was worth the $10.

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We actually had the whole picnic area to ourselves which was peaceful.

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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

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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?