Until last month I had actually never been to Napa despite growing up in California. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure if Napa was north, south, east, or west of San Francisco. Okay, I knew it wasn’t west of San Francisco otherwise it’d be in the ocean. Well, now after spending a week in Napa with the lovely model and vintner, Michele Ouellet (who grew up there!), I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on Napa, and a little town within Napa called Yountville. With the immense help of Michele we were able to put together a weekend guide to Napa and Yountville.
And of course no trip is complete without the perfect bag to accompany you throughout the day while you explore, wander, eat, and yes, of course, drink – we are in Napa after all! We were thrilled to partner with Lo & Sons to not only use their bags to help us navigate through our trip, but to introduce you to their two new spring colors, Sand and Rose Quartz.
Lo & Sons is a family first business started by a mother (Helen) and her two sons (Jan and Derek). When Helen’s sons watched yet again as their mother discarded yet another travel bag she wasn’t satisfied with, they finally encouraged her to design one on her own. Thus, Lo & Sons was born and with it, a line of perfect travel bags that help you stay organized and fashionable while on the road.
Alright, who’s ready for a weekend getaway?
I also highly recommend you park your bike for a second, grab a coffee at Southside (and a croissant while you’re at it!) and take a stroll through the French Laundry Gardens. The gardens service the famed French Laundry Restaurant and are right across the street and open to the public.
Bouchon. Bouchon. Bouchon. Everyone we ran into kept asking if we’d been to Bouchon. What the hell is so magical about Bouchon? Well. Everything. I could go on and on about the meal itself, but I am someone who judges a restaurant on their bread and butter, and this was some of the best bread and butter I’ve ever had (it’s the little things, no?)
The best part was we were able to sample Michele’s own wine label, Lorenza, that she produces with her mom! It’s a light, easily drinkable rose that went down wayyy too quickly :)
And just for my own pure enjoyment I have to give a shout out to Panchas. It’s a dive bar in the middle of Younteville that is the perfect antidote when you’re tired of drinking wine. At Panchas you can stop in, have a beer with the locals, and play a game of pool.
Of course Michele knew exactlllyy where to take us to, not only peruse the hot sauce selection, but also to find a full assortment of local goods: Oakville Grocery. Beyond quenching my hot sauce obsession, you can pick up a selection of meat and cheeses, of course a bottle of wine or two, as well as a variety of other local necessities.
Michele left us with a little wine lesson as we walked through the vineyards near her home. Beyond just different types of grapes, there are many, many ways in which to train a grape vine to grow and each training system offers different benefits that are tasted in the final product of the wine. The vines you see in this photo are old vines which are always non-trellised (meaning they have no wires or framework to help them grow) and they’re typically much more gnarled in appearance.
I can’t say that I’ll be becoming a sommelier any time soon and / or ever, BUT I do have a new appreciation for the craft and care that goes into every single glass of wine I enjoy. Despite no sommelier status in my future, I will be going out of my way to take another trip to Napa soon.