The New Napa Valley: Post Pandemic Guide
Updated: Jun 29
Looking to start venturing out into the world and traveling again? Napa Valley is a beautiful place to enjoy some of the best wines, be out in nature and surrounded by vineyards making new memories.
If you’ve never been to Napa, the easiest way to explain the Napa Valley is the further south you are (closer to the actual city of Napa) the more city vibes you will feel and the further north the more intimate your experience will feel. When booking your trip you will probably see these names, so let’s start at the southern point of the Napa Valley in the city of Napa, then comes Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena & at the northern part of the Napa Valley, Calistoga. The Napa Valley can take over an hour to drive so paying attention to where you want to visit is important. Napa Valley has glitz, glamour, fashion and what I like to call upscale country club vibes to it.
Before the pandemic, most of Napa Valley was pretty exclusive but you could always walk in and find a vineyard who wanted your business BUT post pandemic is a different story. You need to keep in mind, most of Napa Valley is still reopening. Some vineyards still have yet to reopen their doors so definitely book everything ahead. I recommend at least 2-3 weeks for weekends and 1-2 weeks for weekdays. When I mean booking everything ahead, I mean everything- this means your meals, vineyard tastings, activities, hotels and anything else you may want or need. It’s also fair to note many vineyards are only open Thursday thru Sunday right now and if your staying in the Northern Napa Valley a lot of places will start closing by 6-7pm. So if your from Los Angeles like me don’t wait for dinner!!
I recently visited downtown Napa, staying 2 nights at the Vista Collina Resort. I loved how the Vista Collina had multiple properties sprawling throughout the vineyards with a spa, hike, plenty of restaurants, grocery store and 8 tasting rooms on the property. If your planning to Uber around, plan to wait sometimes 20-30 minutes especially during the time the vineyards close. Luckily, there was so much between the resorts we really didn’t feel a need to leave.
The Estate Cave Spa Terra is under a cave in the vineyards on the property. Bring your camera this is a Heidiisms photo-op.
There are multiple pools on the properties including an adult pool (which means 21+ not clothing optional) and a family friendly pool.
When checking in, we were presented with a tasting on the property to The Foley Food & Wine Society. I have always been a little bit of a vineyard snob and have never tried on-property tastings. Well, I was blown away at the level of detail, friendliness and selection. I may say it was one of the best tastings I have ever had and now I was sad I didn’t book more while at the Vista Collina Resort.
Check out Olive & Hay Restaurant at the Resort which had the best breakfast options and a beautiful scenic outdoor patio.
After two nights in Napa, we packed our bags and headed north to a beautiful inn in St. Helena called the Harvest Inn.
This Inn will transport you to a different place in time, which feels more like a fairy tale than real life. The Harvest Inn is located right on a picturesque vineyard, with private entrance rooms, two pools, onsite bar & restaurant and outdoor living rooms with fireplaces. Some rooms overlook the vineyards with private hot tubs on private patios.
Now comes the fun part- Vineyard recommendations! Here are some of my favorites that you don’t want to miss:
The only winery in the Napa Valley with a deli and food trucks on site. This vineyard has a Malibu Wines type of feel where you can bring a picnic blanket and cozy up in the grass to eat lunch and sip wine.
This beautiful castle lies at one of the northern most vineyards in the Napa Valley. The tour is a must and prepare to spend a few hours sipping wine, hanging in the gift store and getting photos all over the property.
This vineyard is a hidden gem and does a lot of private and semi private tastings where you have access to walking the beautifully scenic grounds.
4. Mumm Napa
A classic must for every trip. Sip some bubbly and take in the views.
Very unique. You visit by Ariel tram which is an experience in itself. This vineyard was closed during our trip but we hope it opens again soon!
Picturesque grounds perfect for lounging for hours.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Heidiisms TRAVELisms Review without some fun ways to explore the Napa Valley.
Explore by Bike
One trip, we rented bikes with 6 bottle carriers in the back which I thought was an amazing idea although going about 10 miles away with the weight of six bottles over the back tire and the smaller bike paths in Napa, I was singing a different tune. I would recommend for intermedate to advanced bike riders for longer bike trips or novice for wineries next door to each other. This is a really fun way to explore, especially if you plan wineries close to one another. You don’t want to spend all day peddling if your not used to it- trust me on this! Visit St. Helena Cyclery.
2. Explore by Hot Air Balloon
This is one of the most beautiful ways to explore Napa. Most tours are at 5-5:30am so depending on your drinking habits that may be a little early to start but hey it’s 5 o’clock somewhere right? They do offer private sunset flights but this is one of the most expensive things to do in Napa Valley but so worth it if you can do it. Check out these 3 amazing companies: Check out Napa Valley Aloft, Napa Valley Balloons & Balloons above the Valley.
Take a dinner tour, Murder Mystery or Wine Tasting Train ride. I have personally have done this twice. The first time I had more fun than I could remember and hours seemed to fly by like minutes. I met so many new people and the memories still flood my mind much like the wine did. The second time, the train was very quiet, a different crowd and the person I was with wasn’t having the best time and just wanted to be sitting at a vineyard which made the train seem longer than what it was. All in all, I would definitely do it again but know the company you keep just incase that day the train isn’t full of extroverts waiting to strike up a conversation, share laughs, memories and wine.
Okay the last part of Napa Valley tour is what to wear. I get this question a lot. Napa Valley is full of glitz and glamour so pulling out your designer labels is totally acceptable. You will probably see a Lambo or ten during your trip and designer labels will stylishly accent the tasting rooms BUT Napa Valley also has a mix of Gen Z & Millennials coming up from San Fran, so jeans with a hoodie is totally acceptable at most places too. I wore a mix of summery dresses & rompers to stylish jeans and classic tank tops from Revolve. Tip for my GLAMisms Babes…look up the vineyards ahead on Instagram. Look at the locations, photo-ops & colors to plan your outfits accordingly for striking pictures **Also note most hotels & inns have steamers available if you ask**
Let me know where you want me to cover next my TRAVELisms Babes! Also if you could give this a like & comment it really helps ✨
So much Love ~ your Girl ~Heidiisms
*Some Images are from the respective businesses Instagram 💞