From TravelZoo deals – The Napa Valley Passport (there are 2 Sonoma wineries) is good for 2 for 1 tastings, some complimentary tastings and additional discounts which vary by winery. Check for all the details here.
When you see an offer like this, it seems like a no-brainer to jump on it if you know you will be visiting Napa Valley this year. My first thought was “what wineries exactly are included and do I actually want to visit them?”. Then I pulled up the map of locations to see if there was a logical route to visiting them. Right off the the “bat” I can tell that I would not recommend this list of wineries for a first or second visit to Napa Valley. Perhaps if you visit often and have already completed you “must visit list” this will provide a convenient itinerary for your next visit.
I will share with you the wineries on this list that I do highly recommend and for $29 you will get your money back in less than 2 stops. If you enjoy the wines I always recommend that you sign up for their individual wine clubs, or ship some back home.
Artesa Vineyards & Winery- 2 for 1 tasting, reservations recommended (up to $60 value). Located on the road to Carneros off of Hwy 12. I really prefer their reserve and single vineyard wines, it is worth paying extra to taste them. The best part about visiting this winery is the architecture and grounds. Schedule this one in the late afternoon for the best light and warmer temperatures.
Bourassa Vineyards- 2 for 1 tasting, by appointment only. Located in southern Napa, near the airport. Be sure to call or email them to schedule your visit. Hopefully you will meet Vic Bourassa in person, he is such an authentic delight.
Ladera Vineyards- 2 for 1 terrace tasting by appointment only ($35 value). Located on Howell Mountain. If you have never driven off the Silverado Trail, you really should see what this part of the Valley is all about. You may feel like you have exited civilization, and that’s the best part about it. In fact, do not use your GPS or favorite map app, as you will not get there and your cell phone will not work to get you out of trouble. Be sure to download and print directions before you leave your home or hotel. These are big, rich mountain-fruit wines that really express their sense of place. Be sure to allow for more time than you think it could possibley take to get there for your appointment. Your adventure will take you along increasingly winding and narrowing country roads. Call: 707-965-2445 or 866-523-3728 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Winery Passport- Wine Tasting & Winery Finder – Discover close to 6,000 wineries across the U.S. and Canada. Track your winery visits, save your tasting notes. Find offers by your location or on a map. Request to book tastings and tours right from the app. Create your itinerary with your winery wish list. (Free)
(This contest has ended, but I'd still like to share my thoughts about it with you here)
Would you take the 16-day luxury trip in south Florida and Jamaica, or the $75,000 cash?
This trip includes first class airfare from your home city to Miami, from Palm Beach to Montego Bay to Ocho Rios and back home; ground transportation, hotels (in luxury suites) and many meals at exclusive venues; a water Jetpack lesson, a 4-hour yacht charter (a 54’ yacht, no less); cooking and mixology classes; kite boarding lessons; river tubing; sky and bobsled, sip, tube and blue hole jump and dune buggy adventures in Jamaica; message; sunset beach dinner. They really have put a lot of thought into this prize. One of the intrinsic prizes is that someone else has made all of the arrangements and you just need to show up with a sense of adventure and a packed suitcase.
I personally would take the $75,000 (minus taxes). You would have had to pay taxes on the $100,000 prize without the benefit of having any cash provided to meet that obligation. Let’s say you net about $50,000 after paying taxes on the cash prize. That is still a good cash flow choice to me. I would put that money into a special fund to be used for future travel. I would allocate about $5000 per year to my current travel budget which is a huge boost!
Here are my top destinations for the coming years:
New Zealand – North and South Islands, focused on natural wonders and wine regions. This trip is coming up soon on our calendar.
Paris, France – I have been to Paris many times. For this dream trip, I want to go with my Mother. She and I have very similar interests and the itinerary will be much different than when I am traveling for business or with my husband. We will spend time in museums and take day-trips to Versailles, Loire Valley and Giverny (home of Monet’s gardens). We will eat more simply and live more like the locals. This trip would not have wine travel as its primary focus, but I’m sure I will find plenty of wine to enjoy.
Cuba – If I can’t get there in the next few years, I expect it will change dramatically. I think I will be drinking rum and beer on that trip, but I might be surprised to find a wine culture too.
Oregon, Washington, Napa and Sonoma- With so many international wine destinations on my radar, I have neglected the beautiful and exceptional wine growing regions on our West Coast. It is time to explore these regions in more depth. Even better if I can get a small group of friends to join in.
South Africa – I have wanted to visit the wine-growing regions here and to experience a wildlife safari. I hear the exchange rate is very favorable to the U.S. dollar.
Spain and Morocco – I have also been to Spain several times. On my next trip, I would like to focus on Southern Spain and take a hop over to Morocco.
Eastern Europe- I am fascinated with the ancient wine-growing culture in Georgia and Lebanon. For more information on the historic cradles of wine; check out this article in Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Well, that blows my budget for the next 10 years. Now it’s your turn to dream. And don’t forget to enter, and buy that lottery ticket too.