Just being in wine country can be romantic. With mild weather year-round, a picturesque countryside of vineyards and undulating hills, Michelin-starred restaurants and hundreds of wineries making some of the world’s best wines, this part of Northern California seems made for love. Here are 10 of the most romantic things you can do in this idyllic region.
1. Hot-Air-Balloon Rides
2. Geo-Thermal Waters
It’s easy to unwind on the manicured grounds of the chic Solage Calistoga resort, where the spacious spa offers Starlight at the Bathhouse. You’ll have the spring-fed pools to yourself as you steam and soak under the stars after hours. Sparkling wine and dessert included.
3. Artisan Chocolates
The handmade, jewellike truffles created by self-taught celebrity chocolatier chef Kollar at Kollar Chocolates in Yountville’s V Marketplace come in unexpected flavors like fennel pollen and lavender that are inspired by the surrounding flora. In downtown St. Helena, family-owned Woodhouse Chocolate turns out European confections like Champagne truffles at its elegant store with a soaring ceiling and grand crystal chandelier.
4. Cooking Classes
Team up to learn new skills at Ramekins Culinary School by the Sonoma Plaza. Workshop titles include the Art of French Cooking, a Taste of Spain and Italian Countryside. Peju Province Winery’s Interactive Experience Culinaire will have you trying out professional techniques in the kitchen. After the peeling and chopping, you’ll take a tour of the estate and enjoy a wine and cheese tasting followed by lunch.
5. Sparkling Wines
Feel like you’re in a fairytale at Ledson Winery and Vineyards, where the tasting room and winery is housed in a French Normandy castle complete with spires, turrets, balconies and fountains. You can taste Italian-style wines at Castello di Amorosa, a model of a 13th century, 107-room Tuscan castle that has a moat with a drawbridge.
Choose a bottle and roam the grounds at Peju Province Winery, where you’ll find plenty of spots in the garden to settle in and sip, surrounded by flowers, lush lawn and sycamore trees. The fountain, koi pond and marble sculptures invite lingering. Far Niente Winery’s sprawling gardens look like something out of a storybook—a wonderland of azaleas, tulips, dogwoods, magnolias and stone bridges and pathways.
8. Tandem Bikes
9. Custom Blending
Work together to create your own signature wine during a blending session at Wente’s Winemaker’s Studio. Save the bottle for a special occasion.
Take in the sweeping view of Napa Valley while getting cozy around the big fire pit on Cade Winery ‘s patio, or curl up by the grand fireplace on Round Pond Estate’s veranda overlooking its vineyards.