How the West Was Wined

Access and Resources

Oct 12, 2006
Outside Magazine

Napa Valley
ROOM & BOARD: Expect stunning settings and lavish attention to detail at Napa's trio of new retreats: Calistoga Ranch (doubles from $475; 707-254-2800,; the Carneros Inn (doubles from $435; 707-299-4900,; and the Poetry Inn (doubles from $475, including a three-course breakfast; 707-944-0646, The all-new Redd, in Yountville, serves up staggeringly modern creations—like peeky-toe crab salad with a citrus vinaigrette or fresh cod with a chorizo-studded curry sauce (707-944-2222). Everything at Rutherford's Auberge du Soleil is good—including the view from the terrace—but don't miss the chocolate dumplings with tarragon ice cream (707-963-1211).
THE VINTAGE: With so many premium wineries, it's difficult to know where to begin. Start here: Stony Hill Vineyard (by appointment only; 707-963-2636,; Kuleto Estate (by appointment only; 707-963-9750,; Cliff Lede Vineyards (private tours by appointment; 707-944-8642,; Robert Sinskey Vineyards (800-869-2030,; PlumpJack (707-945-1220,
BETWEEN TASTINGS: Calistoga Bikeshop rents Santa Cruz Blurs and Bianchi road bikes ($60 and $40, respectively; 866-942-2453, Or splash out in a kayak or canoe at Napa River Adventures (from $50 per day; 707-224-9080, Afterwards, Lavender HillSpa specializes in couple's treatments that will leave you bleary-eyed and wobbly (800-528-4772,—A.M.

Sonoma Valley
ROOM & BOARD: Hole up at the Hotel Healdsburg, where doubles start at $385 (800-889-7188, For high-end comfort food—pork chops, grilled cheese—without the attitude, try the Fig Café & Winebar, in Glen Ellen (707-938-2130,
THE VINTAGE: In the townof Sonoma, Gundlach Bundschu's popular cave tour and picnic grounds are open daily (707-938-5277, Seven-year-old Bella Vineyards and Wine Cave,in Dry Creek Valley, boasts 100-year-old vines (866-572-3552, Kaz is one of only a handful of organic wineries in Sonoma Valley (877-833-2536,
BETWEEN TASTINGS: At the Osmosis day spa, in tiny Freestone, the 90-minute cedar-enzyme treatment (about 20 minutes of actual bath time) starts at $140 per couple (707-823-8231, Wine Country Bikes rents road bikes, hybrids, and tandems starting at $30 per day and $140 per week. Owner John Mastrianni will also customize two- to seven-day supported, self-guided tours to the coast or northern Sonoma County (prices from $395 to $2,500 depending on lodging; 866-922-4537, For DIY paddling on the Russian River, Burke's Canoe Trips rents boats for $55, including shuttle transport back to your car (707-887-1222,—K.A.

Applegate Valley
ROOM & BOARD: The Weasku Inn's five main lodge rooms—all rustic, with creaky wooden floors and antiques—sit over a country-style dining room with a panoramic view of the Rogue River (doubles from $195; 800-493-2758, To find out what pairs well with hericium mushrooms (a fat steak anda big red), make a reservation at Summer Jo's Farm, Garden, and Restaurant, in Grants Pass (541-476-6882, Most everything is grown on-site.
THE VINTAGE: Contact the Southern Oregon Winery Association (800-781-9463, for maps of tasting rooms in the region.
BETWEEN TASTINGS: The Blue Giraffe Spa, in Ashland, about 45 minutes south, serves up a six-hour pamperfest: steam rooms, body polish, massage, facial. Not your scene? Get the two-hour Manly Things treatment, which includes a massage and a detoxifying steam shower (541-488-3335,—T.N.

Walla Walla
ROOM & BOARD: Only two Walla Walla wineries offer accommodation. Abeja has restored the old farmhouses sitting on its property into three charming cottages and two suites (from $235, including breakfast and tasting; 509-522-1234, Basel Cellars, "the castle on the hill," rents out the entire eight-bedroom estate house and a smaller cottage (estate for $2,400, cottage for $350; 509-522-0200,
THE VINTAGE: In Lowden, 14 miles from downtown Walla Walla, L'Ecole No. 41 offers daily tastings in its restored 1915 schoolhouse (509-525-0904, Let Chuck Reininger tell you how he went from home winemaking to owning his own boutique winery over a tasting at Reininger Winery (509-522-1994, This year's Spring Release Weekend will be May 6–7 (Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance; 509-526-3117,, followed by the Balloon Stampede Weekend, featuring more than 35 hot-air balloons, May 12–14 (509-525-0850,
BETWEEN TASTINGS: Practice your fly-fishing cast on a fully equipped two-hour to full-day trip with guide Skip Pritchard (509-522-4717, Nothing goes better with wine than cheese, so don't miss the Monteillet Fromagerie's artisanal goat and sheep cheeses, in Dayton, 40 minutes away (509-382-1917,—M.M.

Paso Robles
ROOM & BOARD: The five-bedroom, 4,200-square-foot luxury lodge at Cottontail Creek sleeps up to 20 and offers massage services, gourmet catering, and yoga instruction ($995 per night for up to 10 guests; 805-995-1787,
THE VINTAGE: Free tasting is an endangered tradition that's still honored at most Paso wineries. Opolo Vineyards (805-238-9593,; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily) serves a complimentary six-flavor fleet and will even tap a barrel on request. The Perata family asks that you call before stopping by (805-238-2809,, but there's no charge to try their wines, which are usually served with snacks. Hospice du Rhône 2006, Paso's largest annual winefest, takes place May 11–13 (
BETWEEN TASTINGS: Central Coast Outdoors runs guided bicycle trips around Paso Robles from $119 per person per day (bikes $25 extra; 888-873-5610, They also lead kayaking trips in nearby Morro Bay, one of the state's top stops for migratory waterfowl. —K.L.

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