Wine Dine and Play: Napa - A Sip And Taste

Napa - A Sip And Taste

Napa, California is home to the west coast wine country and the kings of cabernet

Wine Tour With Restaurants
Napa County, California USA
Wine Style: New World / Cabernet and Much More
Article Written: July 2017
Article Updated: September 2019
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

“Wine is born, then it lives. But it never dies, in man, 
it lives on”
- Baron Phillipe de Rothschild

Baron Phillipe de Rothchild of Bordeaux and Robert Mondavi formed Opus One in Napa, California

"The World's Best Wine and Food Destination" 
-TripAdvisor’s 2010-2018 Travelers' Choice Awards

Napa Valley has more than 400 wineries and is considered one of the world’s premier viticultural regions and famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon. Nearly 90 percent of all American wines come out of California, four percent of which can be found in or around Napa Valley. Ninety-six percent of Napa Valley wineries located north of San Fransisco roughly an hour drive depending on traffic are family-owned. Napa’s neighbor to the West is the famous Sonoma County, and the Sonoma Wine AVA’s. Napa itself is only 30 miles (48 km) long and five miles across at its widest point and is home to a population of 125,000 between the small cities of Napa, Yountville, St Helena, and Calistoga. According to Napa Valley Tourism statistics provided by the Chamber of Commerce, an average of 13,000 people visit Napa and Sonoma each day, equalling out to nearly five million visitors for the year on record of 2012.
As soon as you drive into Napa County, you are welcomed with the wine country sign.
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Welcome sign

Napa and Sonoma have more than just wine for oenophiles like myself, but for the geologist, there are active geysers that introduce you to the volcanic history of Northern California like the “Old Faithful” and to specify this is not the same “Old Faithful” from the Yellowstone caldera. If you enjoy nature and hiking the area has hills plus the Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain Ranges, hot air balloon rides, Napa Wine Train, and five-star hotels. If you're a big foodie like I am then you have two of the only restaurants on the West coast of the United States that are rated as 3 Michelin Stars, and both are in Napa. You have The French Laundry in Yountville by Chef Thomas Keller and the Restaurant at Meadowood in St Helena by Chef Christopher Kostow.

The Chef prepares a dish at the French Laundry in Yountville, California, part of the Napa Tasting Tour
Napa - A Sip And Taste / The French Laundry

In 2013 I took a three-day trip to explore the wines and eateries of Napa Valley, with one of those days dedicated to Sonoma. I could easily spend a month or more between these two areas and still not even scratch the surface. Before I go into details on the trip and the different wines I have tasted, let me go over a brief history of how Napa came to be.

The Napa Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area with commercial wine production dating back to the nineteenth century, but premium wine production dates back only to the 1960s. Early pioneer and settler George C. Yount is generally credited to have been the first to grow grapes in the Napa Valley. In 1864, on the marriage of one of his granddaughters to Thomas Rutherford, Yount gave them 1,000 acres (4 km2) of land, which Rutherford dedicated to winemaking. The City of Napa was founded by Nathan Coombs in 1847, and today is considered the Napa Valley’s commercial center with a home to more than 25 wine tasting rooms. 

Some Vineyards in Napa County, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Vineyards in Napa

The combination of Mediterranean climate, geography, and geology of the region made growing quality wine grapes a blessing. John Patchett established the valley's first commercial vineyard in 1858. In 1861 Prussian Charles Krug established another of Napa Valley's first commercial wineries in St. Helena. Viticulture in Napa suffered several setbacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including an outbreak of the vine disease phylloxera, the institution of Prohibition, and the Great Depression. André Tchelistcheff is later credited with ushering in the modern era of winemaking in California. In 1938 he introduced several techniques and procedures to the region, such as aging wine in small French Oak barrels, cold fermentation, vineyard frost prevention, and malolactic fermentation.

The entrance to Charles Krug Winery in Napa, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Charles Krug Winery

Following Prohibition, Beringer Vineyards invited attendees of the Golden Gate International Exposition to visit his winery using promotional maps printed with the phrase "All roads lead to Beringer" in 1939. The winery also invited Hollywood stars including Clark Gable, Charles Laughton and Carole Lombard to visit. These early promotions are considered to be the birth of wine-based tourism. In 1965, Napa Valley icon Robert Mondavi broke away from his family's Charles Krug estate to found his own winemaking operation in Oakville. After this, the number of wineries in the valley grew rapidly, as did the region's reputation.

The wine industry in Napa Valley skyrocketed to world fame after the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 where the Chateau Montelena 1973 Chardonnay and Stag’s Leap Winery Cabernet were rated higher in a blind taste test against some of the finest Bordeaux and Bourgogne varietals. The story has been published in several books and tourism increased again after the release of the 2008 movie Bottle Shock starring the late Alan Rickman from Die Hard and Harry Potter, Chris Pine from Star Trek, and Bill Pullman from Independence Day. Bottles of the 1973 red and white winners are on display at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian, in Washington DC. 

The famous tasting known as the judgement of Paris in 1976 that put Napa County on the world map with the 1973 Château Montelena and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars winner first prizes.
Napa - A Sip And Taste / 1976 Judgement of Paris

the 1973 Chardonnay from Château Montelena on display at the Smithsonian after winner first prize in the 1976 Paris tasting.
Napa - A Sip And Taste / 1973 Chateau Montelena in the Smithsonian

Many other films and TV shows have been made in the Napa Valley besides Bottle Shock, and they include; The Zodiac (2005), Killer Bees (1974, TV movie), The Parent Trap (1998), A Walk in the Clouds (1995), Wild in the Country (1961), Black Rain (1989), Pollyanna (1960), Howard the Duck (1986), This Earth is Mine (1959), Apocalypse Now (1979), James Bond’s Moonraker (1979), A Cooks Tour (2002, TV), Sideways (2009), Bedtime Stories (2008), plus Star Trek The Next Generation episodes “Family” (1990 TV), and “All Good Things” (1994 TV) to name a few. 

The Bottle Shock movie re-introduced people to Napa Valley and the winning of the 1976 tasting. Especially the roll that Gustavo Brambila played.
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Bottle Shock Movie and Gustavo

There are also 16 separate AVA’s inside the Napa AVA, and they include Los Carneros, Howell Mountain, Wild Horse Valley, Stags Leap District, Mount. Veeder, Atlas Peak, Spring Mountain District, Oakville, Rutherford, Saint Helena, Chiles Valley, Yountville, Diamond Mountain District, Oak Knoll District, Calistoga, and Coombsville. 

There are 16 separate AVA's in the Napa Valley of California that include Atlas Peak, Oakville, and many more
Napa - A Sip And Taste / An AVA wine map of Napa

I made a visit to the Napa Wineries in the summer of 2013, after having an amazing wine adventure through France in 2010. Starting as early as 2002 working in restaurants around Atlanta through the teaches of some Sommeliers, I was introduced to many wines from around the world including those of Napa. One Sommelier was a lover of cult wines and was part of the yearly 3-bottle allocation of Screaming Eagle Vineyards which is one of the most expensive wines per bottle sold in the United States, at well over $3,000.00 per bottle. I gained a great appreciation of Napa Valley through his teachings, and after 2009 when I went to work as a contractor in Afghanistan I had extra income to purchase a few of these wines. I found the Napa Wine Company in Oakville, which is a vineyard and wine bar with a wine club that focuses its sales on cult wines. A few I had heard of and tasted such as Ghost Block Vineyard which now owns the Napa Wine Company and its tasting room. Ghost Block produces organic Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc, that is amazing. Many of their wines are from small producers, and some even use the 635 acres of vineyards in the Yountville and Oakville that they own. 

The logo for the Screaming Eagle Winery, the most expensive wine in the United States.The Opus One logo in Napa, California

I stayed in the southern end of Napa County in the city of American Canyon, roughly ten miles from the vineyards which driving back buzzed may not have been the smartest choice, but it did save money, as inside of wine country proper, it is very expensive. I stayed at the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton which was listed as the world’s first Gold LEED-certified hotel which at the time I really didn’t care about, all I wanted was a cheaper place to rest my head. I did eat at their Gaia Restaurant and was not very impressed. The name has now been changed to Table 29 Bistro, so hopefully, the menu and customer service got an upgrade at the same time.

The Napa Wine Company tasting room (now Ghost Block) is across the street from the famous Opus One Winery. At the time of my visit, I had been a club member for well over three years, and when home from Afghanistan, I would drink some of the quarterly shipments of wine and enjoy others so much that I would order full cases such as the Hoopes Winery Label which includes Hoopla and Liparita brands. They presented me with a wonderful welcoming basket that included local cheeses and bread, olive oil, coasters, and a lot of other smaller items to show their appreciation for my membership. While there I got to taste the latest releases from wines that were part of my shipments and meet several of the winemakers to include Paul Torres of Ghost Block and John McKay of Volker Eisele Wines who produces elegant estate wine in the Chiles Valley District of St Helena.

While visiting the Napa Valley you have to stop by and do a tasting with the Hoopes Vineyard whom produce very good tasting cabernet wines.
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Hoopes Wine Tasting

Over the years being a club member I enjoyed many small label wines from producers such as Bridesmaid Wine a small Bordeaux style blended wine owned by Crocker & Starr, and Blackbird Vineyards which is part of the Bespoke group of Ma(i)sonry Vineyards. One of the most beautiful Cabernets I tried with them was from Mirror Wines who also support the NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE FAMILY FOUNDATION benefit showing a true form of patriotism. Other wines that the Napa Wine Company promotes and that I have tasted through the club and written articles about include:

A tasting of multiple wines while visiting the Napa Wine Company tasting room, now owned by Ghost Block
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Cult Wine Tasting

Emmolo Wines A merlot like no other in Rutherford, California
Flying Horse Wine A spirited winery with Arabian horses in Oakville, California
Johndrow Vineyards The JV - a true cult wine in St Helena, California 
Oakville Winery A single-family vineyard since 1903 in Oakville, California
Ottimino Winery Exclusive red Zinfandel producer partnered with William Knuttel in Napa
Pahlmeyer Jason A proprietary Bordeaux-style red blend in St Helena, California
Red Mare Wines Handcrafted and micro sourced appellations  in Napa, California
Switzer Family Wines A Cult Wine Central cabernet producer in Oakville, California

After my wonderful reception and tasting with the Napa Wine Company, I moved on to a quick tasting at Cosentino Winery owned by Mitch Cosentino, where I did a tasting of the M. Coz and Poet Meritage blends, with the poet being my favorite of the two. For dinner, I tried out the Greystone Restaurant which has now changed its name to the Gatehouse. Greystone was a modern Italian restaurant located in Calistoga on the campus of the Culinary Institute of America. The cooks were all students as was the service staff, as it was the perfect environment to train and practice on real guests who pay to eat. 

The Cosentino Winery produces Meritage blends typical of the Bordeaux with a nice California twist in Napa Valley, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Cosentino Winery

This was going to be the very long day so it required an early start. It would include five wine tastings at separate vineyards and a dinner that would be at least a three to four-hour menu tasting. Having watched the Bottle Shock movie a year prior to my visit, I became interested and wanted to see the areas and drink some of the wines depicted in the movie. My first stop was in downtown Napa City to visit an artisan winemaker whose character had a minor roll in the Bottle Shock movie, depicting him as a field hand. Gustavo Winery ran by Mr. Brambila and his wife. I tasted five of his wines and enjoyed some great conversation not just about the movie, but also his story after the 1976 events of the Paris Wine Tasting. The 2008 Coombsville Cabernet was my personal favorite, but also enjoyed his Merlot, Syrah, and Barbara. 

A tasting and conversation with Gustavo Brambila the first Hispanic American Vineyard owner who worked with Château Montelena for the 1976 Paris tasting
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Gustavo Brambila

Traveling outside the city to the East and along the Silverado Trail, I ran into Stag’s Leap Winery. I first tried some of their wines in 2003 while working in Atlanta, and if it weren’t for reading the credits at the end of the Bottle Shock movie where it mentioned that they were red wine winner in the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, then I and many others would have never known. They did not promote it, and the employees that offered tastings didn’t talk about it. Later, I thought that was odd given the popularity of the film. The tasting included five wines; one Chardonnay and four Cabernets. The Artemis I had tried in 2003, but the Fay, S.L.V, and Cask 23 were all new to me. The Cask 23 by far was my favorite of the group and was also the winner in the 1976 tasting. It was also by far the most expensive at $225.00 per bottle.

The Stag's Leap Wine Cellar along the Silverado Trail in Napa which won the red wine tasting at the 1976 Paris Judgement along with Château Montelena
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

The Red Wines of the 1976 Tasting and scores:
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973, Napa Valley (127.5)
Château Mouton-Rothschild 1970 (126)
Château Haut-Brion 1970 (125.5)
Château Montrose 1970 (122)
Ridge Cabernet ’Mountain Range’ (Montebello) 1971, Santa Cruz Mts. (105.5)
Château Leoville-Las-Cases 1971 (97)
Mayacamas 1971, Napa Valley/Mayacamas Mts. (89.5)
Clos Du Val 1972, Napa Valley (87.5)
Heitz Cellars ’Martha’s Vineyard’ 1970, Napa Valley/St. Helena (84.5)
Freemark Abbey 1969, Napa Valley/Rutherford (78)

Next stop was further up the road in Oakville and from a winery that I had ordered bottles of often when I dined out, and that was Silver Oak Cellars. Their motto is “Life is a Cabernet!” and besides the Côtes du Rhône being my favorite wines in this entire world to drink, I could not agree with that motto more. They are situated on a beautiful property and vineyard with an amazing tasting house. Prepare for another big price tag as you may hit $100 per bottle for their Napa, but then again good things cost money unless I’m just being pretentious again like my wife says. I tasted their Napa and Alexander Valley Cabernets, both very good, with the Alexander being cheaper than the Napa. I also tasted wines from the Twomey Cellars which is also owned by Mr. David Duncan. These are more affordable wines using the same winemaker as Silver Oak but cater to a middle-class crowd. Twomey has vineyards in Napa and Sonoma County.

The entrance to the the Silver Oak Wine Cellars in Napa, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Silver Oak Cellars

Stop number four took me all the way north through the city of Saint Helena where I had eaten at the CIA restaurant the night before and passing the massive wine producer Beringer which is known almost everywhere for their table wines. I continued past the town of Calistoga up to the Old Faithful Geyser of California that I spoke about earlier. It was not as large of bursting Geyser as the Yellowstone National Park Faithful, but all the same still very impressive. I continued on just up the road to Chateau Montelena, the famed winner of the white wine from The Paris Wine Tasting, and the main story feature of the Bottle Shock movie. 

The Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Calistoga Geyser

The estate was very impressive especially the manicuring of the vines draped across the castle. It was extremely busy with many activities on the vineyard grounds and tasting room. I honestly have to say that the events of the movie and books may have gone too far into the heads of the new owners after the Barrett’s retired, because the place was packed with tour buses, the tasting room was very small and over-priced, plus the customer service was almost as bad as the Gaia restaurant in my hotel in American Canyon. All the same, it was nice to see a piece of American History in the flesh.

The Logo for Château Montelena in Calistoga, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Chateau Montelena

White Wines Of The 1976 Tasting:

Chateau Montelena 1973, Napa Valley/Calistoga (132)
Meursault-Charmes 1973, Roulot (126.5)
Chalone Vineyards 1974, Monterey County/Soledad (121)
Spring Mountain 1973, Napa Valley/Spring Mountain (104)
Beaune Clos des Mouches 1973, Joseph Drouhin (101)
Freemark Abbey 1972, Napa Valley/Rutherford (100)
Batard-Montrachet 1973, Ramonet-Prudhon (94)
Puligny-Montrachet 1972, Les Pucelles, Domaine Leflaive (89)
Veedercrest 1972, Napa Valley/Mt. Veeder (88)
David Bruce 1973, Santa Cruz Mts. (42)

The final wine tasting stop was not planned. As I drove back south to get to the hotel and change for dinner, it was still before 5pm when most of the tasting rooms close, and I noticed a sign saying an Italian castle. It sparked my interest so I turned in. The Castello di Amorosa is a Tuscan inspired castle designed in Italy, with the bricks carried over to California, then put together. It was a tourist's greatest fantasy making it a trap, but still really neat. You could take guided or self-tours that ended in the actual basement of the castle where the tasting room was located. 

The Castello di Amorosa wine tasting inside a Tuscan style castle in Napa, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Castello di Amorosa Vineyard

To my surprise during the tasting, I found their Italian-style wines to be excellent and I joined the “friends of the baron” wine club to receive regular shipments. My two personal favorites during the tasting were the Il Barone Cabernet and the La Castellana Super Tuscan blend. The third was the Don Thomas; nice, but nothing to really write home about. The Zingaro and Kings Pinot Noir rounded up the tasting. The Super Tuscan Il Barone started at $157.00 per bottle versus $35.00 for the Zingaro, so they had a wide price range to choose from. Also by joining the club, my tasting flight was free of charge.

For dinner, after getting back to the hotel, changing and semi sobering up it was time for a nine-course tasting menu at Hubert Keller’s The French Laundry. I met up with a buddy of mine who was also touring the Napa Valley, and he wanted to eat at the French Laundry as well. I told him as long as he didn’t mind paying the $425.00 food and wine bill, then sure, tag along. The courses included delights such as a summer squash tart with marinated Pattypan squash, black olives, wild arugula lettuce, and a squash blossom pudding, or the herb-roasted Elysian Fields Farm Lamb, with a garden squash confit, “Ratatouille,” wild arugula, and black olive jus.

The Elysian Fields Lamb dish with a garden squash ratatouille at The French Laundry Restaurant in Yountville, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / The French Laundry Lamb Dish

A squash pudding with black olives and arugula at The French Laundry restaurant in Napa, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / The French Laundy Squash Dish

The final day of touring took me over to Napa Valley’s neighbor in Sonoma. Though this article is about Napa, I figured a small paragraph or two on day three as worth adding in. I only went to one winery, and it started in the tasting room in downtown Sonoma. As a member of the wine club for this group, I paid for a tour of the actual vineyards and tasting with the owner of Kamen Estates, Mr. Robert Mark Kamen. I had been a member of his wine club for a few years and was introduced to his wines when I worked at Food 101 in Atlanta. 

The Kamen Estate in Sonoma County was the third day of the Napa wine tour, enjoyed several wines from the producer who is also a film writer for movies like The Karate Kid and The Fifth Element
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Kamen Wine Tasting

Mark Kamen purchased his property from funds used from writing Hollywood screenplays. Over the years he has over twenty films to his credit including the Taken series with Liam Neeson, The Transporter series with Jason Statham, The Karate Kid, the Sci-Fi cult classic The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis, and Taps with Sean Penn to name a few. Mr. Kamen took a break from writing the screenplay to Taken part 3, and joined me for lunch in his vineyard and to taste six of his wines from the Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, and the Writers Block blend. My personal favorites of the tasting were the Kashmir blend and the Rhône style blend. 

The property and wine estate of Robert Kamen
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Kamen Estate

After the tasting, he recommended a local restaurant that he grew organic vegetables for in downtown Sonoma called the Harvest Moon Café, a farm-to-fork concept where the menu changes daily. While dining, Mr. Kamen and his wife came in for dinner as well. I said a quick hello, thank him for the day, and looked forward to meeting him again. Two years later I was working  8 Months on the Ice at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and he sent me a bottle of his olive oil, so I took a picture of it next to the McMurdo, Antarctica sign which he had posted on his website for a while. 

Enjoying some of Robert Kamen Vineyards olive oil in McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Advertising Kamen in Antarctica

This concluded by Sip and Taste of Napa Valley and Sonoma County, and it was barely a sip and taste as I could spend much more time here, and will return again one day. I hope this article was helpful to you for planning your future trip to wine country, and then do the battle of what you think is better - Napa or Bordeaux?

Final notes and observations:


Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about.
To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

I refer to myself as an oenophile though, oenophilia is defined as “a disciplined devotion to wine, accompanying strict traditions of consumption and appreciation.” In a general sense, oenophilia also refers to the enjoyment of wine, often by a layman — which I am, and not qualified as a professional. I just enjoy drinking it, so my rating is based on enjoyment and the overall experience, not the science of an expert, and thus subjective, not objective. See the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’.

Wine regulatory’s for the tastings in this article:

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is the strength, in the water there are bacteria.” - David Auerbach

United States: 

Sub-Napa AVA’s:

Other California wines, wineries (Château’s), or food articles on Wine Dine and Play:

Blackbird Vineyards Wine Tasting An ultra-premium terroir in Napa, California
Bridesmaid Wine Tasting Impressive Bordeaux-style blends in Oakville, California
Castello di Amorosa Tuscan inspired castle with wine — friends of the Baron - Calistoga, Napa,  California
Chateau Montelena The famed Bottle Shock “Judgement of Paris” winner in Calistoga, California
Crocker and Star Wine Tasting Capturing the essence of Cabernet in St Helena, California
Emmolo Wine Tasting A merlot comparable to no other in Rutherford, California
Flying Horse Wine Tasting A spirited winery with Arabian horses in Oakville, California 
Ghost Block Vineyard Cabernet and Sauvignon blanc organic wine producer in Oakville, California  
Gustavo Winery Artisan winemaker whose story is tied to “The Judgement of Paris” in Napa, California
Hoopes Winery Tasting Cult cabernet winemaker with Liparita and Hoopes labels in Oakville, California
Johndrow Vineyards Wine Tasting The JV - a true cult wine in St Helena, California 
Jonata Winery Tasting Screaming Eagles sister winery, El Desafio cab, in Santa Barbara, California
Kamen Estates Low yield, high quality + film writing in Sonoma, California
Ma(i)sonry Wine Tasting An aesthetic portfolio of wines in Yountville, California
Mirror Wine Tasting A beautiful Cabernet from a family of entrepreneurs in St Helena, California
Napa Wine Company A wine tasting Bar representing cult Napa classics in Oakville, California
Oakville Winery Tasting A single-family vineyard since 1903 in Oakville, California
Ottimino Winery Exclusive red Zinfandel producer partnered with William Knuttel in Sonoma, California 
Pahlmeyer Jason Wine Tasting A proprietary Bordeaux-style red blend in St Helena, California
Red Mare Wine Tasting Handcrafted and micro sourced appellations  in Napa, California
Row 11 Santa Maria Pinot An Old World style Pinot from Santa Maria, California
Row 11 Tasting Pinot grapes using Dijon clones in Santa Maria, California
Silver Oak Cellars Near the Silverado Trail, known for high-end Cabernet in Oakville, California
Stag’s Leap Winery Cask 23, a Napa gem in Napa, California
Switzer Family Wines A Cult Cabernet producer and famed football coach in Oakville, California
Twomey Wine Tasting Napa and Sonoma wines owned by Silver Oak, Calistoga, Napa California
Volker Eisele Wine Tasting An elegant family estate in the Chiles Valley district of St Helena, California

California cuisine is a style of cuisine marked by an interest in fusion cuisine (integrating disparate cooking styles and ingredients) and in the use of freshly prepared local ingredients. The food is typically prepared with strong attention to presentation. Foods low in saturated fats and high in fresh vegetables and fruits with lean meats and seafood from the California coast often define the style. 

5A5 Steak Lounge Modern Japanese steakhouse with chic design in San Francisco, California
Alioto’s Restaurant Historic restaurant serving Sicilian-infused seafood in San Francisco, California 
Casita Taqueria a fast-casual taqueria serving homemade artisan Mexican food specializing especially in tacos and burritos in St. Petersburg, Florida
Ciccio Cali inspired cuisine from California using antibiotic-free meats, organic and Non-GMO vegetables in St. Petersburg, Florida
Cowgirl Creamery Artisan Cheese Shop “aka” Cowgirl Cantina in Point Reyes Station, California
FarmTable Cucina organic, sustainable, and local with a focus on Italian and New American themes in St. Petersburg, Florida
FarmTable Kitchen Casual Cal-Italian cuisine and chef tables in St. Petersburg, Florida 
Fleur de Lys Lavish French-Californian by Hubert Keller in San Francisco, California 
Gaia Restaurant Organic and sustainable concept in American Canyon, California (Renamed Table 29 Bistro and Bar)
Greystone CIA Restaurant CIA School restaurant formally called Wine Spectator now GateHouse in Calistoga, California
The French Laundry French-American fine dining restaurant in Yountville, California
Wipeout Bar and Grill Surf shack theme with California and Mexican cuisine in San Francisco, California 
Wolfgang Puck Celebrity Chef’s California cuisine and fine dining chain; reviewed in Orlando, Florida

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

A Few New World Favorites:
New World wines are those wines produced outside the traditional wine-growing areas of Europe and the Middle East, in particular from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, United States (California, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington State,Virginia),Thailand, and Uruguay.

Yearly tasting event at Hyde Park
Sydney, Australia
Wine and food tour
Cape Town, South Africa
A tour of food and wine from a 2015 tour in Oregon wine country
Dundee, Willamette, Oregon

Some Old World Favorites:
Old World wine refers primarily to wine made in Europe but can also include other regions of the Mediterranean basin with long histories of winemaking such as North Africa and the Near East. These countries include Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Wine tours and restaurants 
Bordeaux, France

A tasting of the Vougeot AOC, caves, and the Hospices de Beaune
Burgundy, France
Sancerre wines
Loire Valley, France 

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary by country

The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with…
Swanky French-American Steakhouse chain, reviewed in Atlanta, GA.
New York, New York, USA
Sustainable & regional German cuisine 
Berlin, Germany
Seafood and sushi with panorama views 
Cape Point, South Africa

Other Napa Wine Tour Pictures:

The French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, Napa Valley, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / The French Laundry

The Trefethon Vineyard entrance in Napa, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Trefethon Wines

The Opus One Vineyards in Napa, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Opus Winery

The City of Oakville in Napa California for a tasting
Napa - A Sip And Taste / City of Oakville

The Gustavo winery tasting room in the city of Napa, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Gustavo Tasting Room

The Kitchen on a dinner meal at The French Laundry restaurant in Napa, California
Napa - A Sip And Taste / The French Laundry Kitchen

One of the many AVA's in Napa include Atlas Peak
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Atlas Peak AVA
The Oak Knoll District of Napa produces some of the best cabernets and other wines in Napa Valley.
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Oak Knoll District

The City of Napa logo
Napa - A Sip And Taste / Napa Logo

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is the strength, in the water there are bacteria.” 
- David Auerbach

Who is John Galt?


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