Travel

Partner in Wine: Exploring Napa

Cutting straight to the chase, the success of this family Napa trip goes completely to my mom and stepdad. Having 4 adults while visiting all the wineries probably took this family Napa trip from could-have-been-stressful to downright enjoyable with a 14 month old. We planned light schedules, hitting 2-4 wineries per day. And, we spaced some swimming, barbecues, a San Fran pier day-trip, and beach time on days in between.

Airplane Ride with a 14 month old

I did a ton of research on airplane trips with kids before we went and could write paragraphs on all the nitty gritty details. At this age, we found it best to board as late as possible, pack more snacks than you think you’d ever need, and fly around nap time if at all possible (we knew this could be a gamble, but it paid off for us).

Family friendly vineyards

Sterling

This would be my #1 winery suggestion for a family Napa trip. The gondola ride is picturesque and engaging with the panoramic views.

Once you arrive at the top, there are darling strollers to borrow for the wine tasting experience. We went with the bee theme. Because you are effectively touring the facility and wine tasting along the way, the constantly changing scenery gives your kiddos something new to keep enjoying.

And while we didn’t partake in the cheese tastings on the top patio, it could be a nice option for a snack. Jude gave this visit his seal of approval by continuously doing “binky” cheers with us.

Frog’s Leap

Walking into this winery, it just feels casual and relaxing.

We did the $25 seated tasting. It came with 4+ wine pours (they poured us all an extra 1-2 glasses) and a small cheese plate with crackers, nuts, and jam. They even had a dry soda tasting option for designated drivers.

My mom toured the small, but gorgeous grounds and vegetable garden while Jude slept in his stroller.

Charles Krug

This winery has large lawn spaces in both the front and back of their main building. The tastings inside are on the pricier side, so we opted for some eats. In doing so, we found they had a white wine sampling of 3 different wines you could purchase at the counter and take outside where they had cute seating with wine glass holders. Even better!

The olives were amazing and they are also known for their salumi and cheese boards. In the summer, they serve pizza from their outdoor pizza oven. We happened to be there on a non-pizza day, but it looked like a must-try. 

And, for some added fun, the Napa wine train runs right alongside the winery, which was a fun sight for Jude.

Benziger

The winding car trip to get here may not have been the highlight, but this tour was so perfect for Jude. We weaved throughout the vineyard in a long golf cart that had some other kids on it as well.

As part of the tour, you get to taste some of the grapes which was a great way to get Jude involved in the experience (obligatory disclaimer: please break the grapes into smaller pieces as they are easily aspirated by young kids). There were a handful of stops, which offered some great insights about the winemaking process, and more importantly, a chance for Jude to walk around.

And, lest you think I’d skip over the food highlights…

Mustards Grill

Wow! Award for best children’s menu is hands down the one at Mustards Grill. So impressed. Check it out! With separate sections for starters, large plates, desserts, and bottomless drinks, I give this restaurant all the heart eyes!

I ordered the black bean tostada for Jude. The server was absolutely incredible and was worried it would be too spicy and brought him out some of the beans to sample. He seemed fairly okay with the spiciness level, but didn’t love it, so we decided to share our entrees, Lemon & Garlic Chicken and Barbecued Baby Back Ribs, plus our starter, Sweet Corn Tamale. We skipped the desserts, but that was probably the wrong choice. Hah!

The Shuckery and Parlor in Petaluma, CA

We showed up on a Sunday morning in the lobby of Hotel Petaluma to grab some brunch. There was no one else eating and hardly anyone around. We were served in the courtyard patio and the whole experience was nothing less than perfection.

 We ordered a combination of smoked salmon bagels, avo & cream cheese bagels, brioche rolls, oysters, a bloody mary, and mimosas. 

There is hardly any information online about The Shuckery Parlor and it looks like they may only serve brunch in the summer months.

After the amazing brunch and a recommendation, we went to their restaurant, The Shuckery, later in the week. It did not disappoint! We ordered a clam chowder as an appetizer, which Jude started snacking on right away.

Then, Jude sampled items from our entrees: the Shrimp ‘n’ Grits and the Fish Tacos. 

We finished with some desserts that were nice, but nothing outstanding.

 

Oxbow Public Market

This place is a GEM! The clam chowder at Hog Island Oyster Co., a mocha from Ritual Coffee, pastries from Model Bakery (sounds like the English muffins are a must!) and the breakfast tacos at C. Casa…oh, those tacos! The casual atmosphere was a dream for family dining and the only downside is that we didn’t have enough time to try out what looked like a handful of other good eateries and shops.

All in all, our family Napa trip was a huge vacay win. Napa is truly a hub for really delicious eats and the serene feeling of the vineyards was so relaxing.

What destinations have been your favorite for outstanding eats?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.