perfect wine-tour in napa valley is well planned ahead

Elan wineyard
‘The first stop – Elan Vineyard’

A couple of weeks ago we did what I would call a perfect wine-tour to Napa Valley (bar the weather, which was unusually rainy) where no-one had to be the designated driver. We hired a limo for our use and had an appointment to a private vineyard, and attended a private tasting party in another one. Highly recommended if you don’t like crowded tastings.

Limo drive
‘Ready to hop into the limo. They normally have full bar in use, but after a day of wine tasting everyone often just wants chilled water!’

Our first stop was Elan Vineyard, and this was a tasting event for their wine club members at the own (oh so lovely) home. There was 20 vintages on offer and the greatest cheese selection I have ever seen. I must have sampled about 30 cheese varieties too! Of all vintages my favourite was from 1999.

Elan Vineyard
‘Elan has a somewhat remote, mountain-top location and the views are breathtaking – even on a rainy day’

Our second stop was also small and rather new Ilsley Vineyard, which is family-run (for 3 generations already) and have only recently released their first wines, as they mainly used to provide grapes for other vineyards. It was lovely to hear their history and how everyone in the family gets involved in the process. They currently produce a cabernet and a blend called Seis Primas (Six female cousin), which was named after their six grandchildren! As their production is still rather small the vintages run out pretty fast.

Ilsley wineyard
‘Ilsley Vineyard – a family-run vineyard was our second stop’

We didn’t have time to visit our third appointment, but certainly had the time to enjoy a lovely French dinner in downtown Napa in Angèle. Lovely food and great waterside location, but somehow the desire for wine with the meal was no longer there…

Ilsley grapes and gazebo
‘Ilsley grounds. They normally have tastings on top of the hill in the gazebo when it is not raining – the views are lovely from the gazebo’

This trip was the best wine tour I have ever been on, and I would recommend getting a driver and planning the trip well in order to avoid disappointments. Happy weekend and wine tastings if you are heading towards Napa or Sonoma!

Ilsley labels

‘Current Ilsley labels’

Napa valley
‘Napa Valley is filled with beautiful estates with vineyards’
Napa - french restaurant Angele
‘The entrance to Angèle is very rustic’
Napa sunset
‘After enjoying a beautiful Napa sunset it was time to head home’


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