If you’ve got a case of the winter blues, a safe and easy trip to Napa might be just what you need to lift your spirits. Here’s a list of new places to sip, savor, shop, stay, and play in Napa Valley. Remember to wear a mask and social distance!
New in downtown Napa
Partly inspired by Sigh in Sonoma, Napa Valley finally has its own dedicated sparkling wine bar. Be Bubbly has over 100 bottles of bubbles on offer sourced from all over the globe, ranging from high-end champagnes to domestic sparklers, and even some international surprises, like a Chenin Blanc sparkling from South Africa. Bubbles are available by the glass, half-bottle, and bottle and there’s a small plate menu featuring grilled cheesy toast sticks, cheese boards, caviar, and more. 1407 2nd St., Napa, bebubblynapa.com
New Shops at First Street Napa
First Street Napa has completely revitalized Napa’s downtown area in the last few years and a slew of new independent retailers have opened up in the past several months, just in time for holiday shopping. Stock up on 2021 reading materials at Copperfield’s Books, shop women’s clothing and accessories at Honey Whiskey, Tay & Grace, or I-ELLE, style your pup at Milo and Friends Pet Boutique, or spruce up your home for a long winter with greenery from Riza Plants, a botanical boutique—just to name a few. 1300 1st St. Napa, firststreetnapa.com
California Brandy House
Also new to First Street Napa is a welcome break from the area’s dozen or so wine tasting rooms: California Brandy House. Wind down from your big day shopping with a flight of California brandies from Germain-Robin and Argonaut, including single-barrel samples. 1300 1st St., Suite 309, Napa, californiabrandyhouse.com
New at The Oxbow
Just across the bridge from downtown Napa, the Oxbow Public Market has new offerings for food and drink. Right next to Kara’s Cupcakes (and from the same owner), Bar Lucia specializes in all things pink, that is, rosé. Also new to the Oxbow: A long-beloved food stand at the SF Ferry Building, El Porteno serves up flaky and delicious empanadas, inspired by the owner’s Argentine heritage. Empanadas are available in a myriad of flavors, like Camarones (Bay shrimp with parmesan and green onions) and Jamon y Queso (Proscuitto with fontina cheese). 601 1st St., Napa, oxbowpublicmarket.com
New ways to dine outdoors
Napa, like Sonoma County, has gone back to the restrictive Purple Tier, which means indoor dining is prohibited. Some restaurants have gotten especially creative and are offering unique outdoor dining experiences that are worth it for the photo op alone. Chow down on tacos and a margarita on Gran Electrica’s sunny picnic beds (built into planter boxes), or for something a little more upscale, dine in The Charter Oak’s cozy yurt village.
Design lovers will totally geek out at Faust Haus, a new hilltop winery set in an old Victorian that was painstakingly restored over a four-year period. While indoor tastings are currently not permitted due to Covid-19 restrictions, the outdoor vignettes with mid-century modern furnishings provide some of the best views of Napa Valley for enjoying Faust’s Coombsville cabernets. 2867 St Helena Hwy, St. Helena, faustwines.com
Set in a restored “bank barn” that dates back to 1876, one of two left in California, BRION Winery opened for tastings just south of downtown Yountville this fall. The exterior of the historic barn maintains much of its original redwood siding and rustic feel, creating a sharp contrast to the caliber of wines being produced there. Brion has partnered with not one, but three iconic Napa winemakers, so you certainly won’t be disappointed by the juice—or the views. 5537 Solano Ave., Napa, brionwines.com
Oasis by Hoopes
Arguably the most chill spot in Napa Valley, Oasis by Hoopes is a literal outdoor oasis that’s surrounded by vineyards and perfect for safe wine tastings. The space features air streams, an organic garden, cozy and upcycled lounge seating, a teepee, farm stand, and rescued farm animals (chickens, goats, a donkey, a turkey, and more). 6204 Washington St., Napa, hoopesvineyard.com
Wine and cheese pairings may be tried and true, but they’re also inarguably overdone. Luckily, there’s a new food and wine pairing trend in town and it’s likely not something you’d expect: wine and potato chips. Three Napa Valley wineries have launched a wine and potato chip pairing. Check out experiences like the Potato Chip Extravaganza from Silver Trident Winery, Sips & Chips from Markham Vineyards, and the Salt & Acid Pairing from Shadowbox Cellars (one of their chip flavors is a Dry Aged Ribeye).
A new(ish) spot for R&R
The iconic Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort, founded in 1952 in Calistoga, has completed a major transformation and re-opens mid-January, so now is the time to make your reservations. Renamed Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, the resort is practically unrecognizable thanks to a contemporary and totally-chic makeover that includes updated rooms, a new spa (featuring four mud baths, three geothermal mineral pools, CBD experiences, a garden, and more), and a new restaurant, House of Better. 1507 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga, drwilkinson.com
Napa’s new drive-in
If you’re sick of watching movies from your couch, Napa’s new drive-in at the Fairgrounds (where BottleRock is held) is a great way to safely get your movie theatre fix. A pop-up drive-in experience, Napa Movie Nights shows flicks Thursday to Sunday each week and they range from children’s classics like Hook and Toy Story to adult favorites, like Star Wars and The Matrix. Napa Valley Expo, 575 3rd St., Napa, teammoralesevents.com