With its rolling hills and verdant valleys, Napa Valley is one of the most breathtaking regions in California. Add in the abundance of artisanal food, and you have the perfect setting for a late summer picnic.
Where to Go
You would think that finding a picnic spot in Napa would be easy. In fact, agricultural regulations keep many wineries from opening their grounds to the public, and most parks don’t allow alcohol.
Not to worry! There are a handful of wineries that do welcome picnic goers. Just make sure to buy a bottle or two while you’re there, and always call ahead for reservations.
Rutherford Hill Winery in Rutherford, California
Choose from two picnic packages starting at $100 per party, which include three bottles of wine, glasses, and a table with the best views in Napa Valley.
Frank Family Vineyards in Calistoga, California
Enjoy your picnic lunch under the elm trees or at the picnic tables. This historic site is Napa Valley’s original stone winery.
Clos du Val Winery in Napa, California
Sit on the front lawn overlooking the vineyard or in the olive grove. A game of péntanque (French bocce ball) will round out your afternoon.
Alpha Omega Winery in St. Helena, California
An elegant winery with panoramic views, it’s also one of our favorites for its surprising take on Chardonnay. Picnic spots are available for groups of up to six Monday through Thursday.
Sattui Winery in St. Helena, California
No need to bring food! Choose from several picnic packages or stop by the onsite deli. The estate’s expansive lawn is surrounded by 250-year-old oak trees.
What to Eat
With the exception of V. Sattui, all of the wineries above offer only wine. What’s a hungry picnic goer to do?! Fortunately, there’s no lack of good food in Napa. Here are a few suggestions for your picnic lunch.
Oakville Grocery in Oakville, California
Discover the best sandwiches in Napa at the oldest continually operating grocery store in California.
You can buy wine here, but don’t commit the faux pas of opening a competitor’s bottle during your winery picnic.
Dean & Deluca in St. Helena, California
This high-end grocery store chain has an assortment of gourmet products, many of which are sourced from within a few miles of the store. Stop by the Flora Springs tasting room next door to take in the unusual architecture.
Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant in Napa, California
This vendor is located in an indoor market reminiscent of the Pike Place in Seattle. You’ll find an impressive selection of cheeses, bread, and charcuterie. Anything from Cypress Grove Chevre is amazing!
Want to make your own picnic goodies? Pick up fresh ingredients at the Napa Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The kitchens at RiverPointe Napa Valley make cooking a pleasure.