I’d instantly grow a nose like Pinocchio if I was to say my sister and I have always been close. With four years and a lot of personality differences between us, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but I’m pleased to report that we seem to grow closer the older we get. Maybe we should blame it on the alcohol…
My sister, a talented restaurant employee, loves her drinks, and wine is right at the top of her list. She always has something to teach me about this Chardonnay or that Estate blend, and once I realized how close to Napa I’d be while staying in San Francisco, I invited her down for a couple days of sister bonding and sipping.
As expected, she said “Yes way Rosé!”
Personally I’m not a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination. I like my trashy strawberry margaritas, simple whisky sours, and when I have to purchase wine it’s almost always ENTIRELY based on great label design. My sister Sierra couldn’t be more different, so we both weren’t really sure what a trip from Napa to the Sonoma Coast and back would look like for the two of us. Luckily, California wine country is a seriously magical place, and like a field of mixed grape vines turned picked and processed into a delicious blended wine, we too gained body and depth under the right conditions. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as close to my little sister as I did those days chatting about tasting notes (she made fun of me for using “Sandalwood” as a descriptor) and nights giggling in the hot tub with a bottle of bubbly.
I guess just like a good vintage Merlot, we only get better with age.
Scroll down for our California Wine Country must-see stops
Where we stayed //
White House Inn:
Located just around the corner from downtown Napa, you’d never guess this massive white Victorian mansion is open to the public, never mind a place you can stay over! It was love at first sight when we walked in and saw the crystal chandeliers, polka dot carpets, lush plant life covering the grounds, and of course the swoon-worthy pool and hot tub nested among lemon trees. The complimentary breakfast was divine, the service spectacular, and the sheet sets so soft it was actually impossible to get yourself out of bed. Top it all off with in-room fire places and eclectic furnishings, and you have the boutique hotel of every blogger’s dreams. Why would you stay anywhere else?
Timber Cove Resort:
I have a theory that whether you survive the breathtaking and TERRIFYING drive up the Sonoma Coast past Jenner or not, you’ll always end up at Timber Cove Resort, because it quite possible might be heaven on earth. I don’t have enough words to explain how deeply I adored this place. Record players in the room and bedside ocean views, sunsets like you’ve never seen and a massive fire pit on the cliffs by the sea. Everything from the forest green fabric on the couches to the minimalist copper light fixtures was any design-lovers dream, and the staff was so friendly it was like being home (a new, improved version of home that is). Don’t miss the in-hotel restaurant Coast Kitchen, or the awesome horse riding down the coast (more on those below).
Where we ate //
Archetype This spot is serious blogger dreams, and I can assure you once you cozy up in the sun room by the fireplace you’ll never ever want to leave!
Oxbow Public Market A plethora of cute local goods and delicious flavours, don’t miss this adorable building just outside of downtown Napa. Our favourite stall was the Napa Distillery!
Hog Island Oysters Get a tray of oysters and learn to shuck them yourselves! It’s one of my favourite new skills, best practiced beachside of course.
Coast Kitchen Though it was technically the hotel restaurant at Timber Cove, it was so much more. This delicious fare is worth the drive even if you can’t stay the night at the resort!
Where we sipped //
Tank Garage Winery By far the most youthful, design-forward winery on our route, we couldn’t get enough of the creative labels and limited-edition blends at this gas station-turned wine shop
Domaine Carneros Classic Napa beauty in all it’s glory, we highly recommend the sparkling tasting menu, best served with a side of sunset views.
Cru at the Annex Brand new to the Napa scene, this space was incredibly beautiful (complete with faux stuffed white peacock and love locks to sign) and the artisan popcorn pairings are a must!
Stag’s Leap Winery The history at this place was truly overwhelming, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been so enchanted by a tour of any space like I was Stag’s Leap. Originally purchased as a wedding gift from husband to wife in the 1890s’ this property had Northern California’s first outdoor tennis court, swimming pool, an underground speakeasy during prohibition times, and a “moon garden” filled only with flowers that bloom white to reflect the moonlight. Even more special yet, a corner of the winery is still filled with original vines of all varieties, and every year the wine maker blends the entire corner of the vineyard into a limited edition red that honestly tastes like heaven. Definitely a must-see!
Extra fun //
Horse n’ Around trail rides There is nothing I adore more than exploring a new place from the back of a horse, and Horse n’ Around really made our riding dreams come true. The staff was incredibly friendly, the horses so well-behaved and lovely, and riding along the beach with the waves crashing beside us is a memory I’ll never ever forget. Make sure you check them out when their new ranch opens shortly!
Patrick’s Taffy A sweet colourful stop if you’re heading down the coast back to SF!
Things we want to try next time //