People tend to think that your social life dies after having a baby.
The truth is, you can still have fun, but your schedule drastically changes. Instead of late night crawls in downtown to celebrate a friend’s birthday, you go on winery day trips with said birthday friend. And, guess what! Napa Valley, the land of fancy wines and cheeses, is super baby (and pet!) friendly.
Now that you have a baby in tow, the max number of wineries you will be able to visit is maybe three. So choose wisely! You’ll also need a head start on your day, because just having a baby around adds like 30 minutes to everything that you do (chasing after jail break baby, changing diapers, calming down cranky baby…), and wineries tend to close around 4-5pm.
We started our Napa Valley trip at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville to pick up some sustenance. I had already packed a picnic lunch, but we needed snacks! When we got there around 10, there was already a line coiling around the tiny shop… So get there early!
We picked up some cakes and wine snacks and headed off to our first stop…
I chose Napa Cellars as our first stop because they have an open picnic area. There are lots of wineries with picnic areas in Napa, but most seemed a little out of the way (but with gorgeous views). We just needed an open area for baby to run around in so she can blow off some steam.
Not only does Napa Cellars have lots of space, they also have lawn games like bocce ball! Drunk sportsball, it’s like college all over again.
Flights at Napa Cellars are $10, which are waived if you purchase a membership. After the tasting we purchased two bottles and brought it to the picnic table outside.
We had picked up a jar of Salmon Rilletes at Bouchon Bakery, as well as the Cowgirl Creamery seasonal cheese at a local gift shop. The rillete was amazing, but the cheese (“Pierce PT”) is nutting AMAZEBALLS. It’s a jersey milk cheese, washed in white wine and then rolled in wild herbs and flowers, and tastes as magical as it looks. I’ve been hooked on it since, and have been purchasing their seasonals for a while now. The autumn one is rolled in dried shiitake (“Chimney Rock”), and the winter one is rolled in sweet and hot peppers (“Devil’s Gulch”).
Also, itty bitty cakes from Bouchon. So amazing. TK is king for a reason, yo.
After lunch, we mosey’d on over to Grgich Hills Winery. Grgich is one of those old famous ones that you sort of have to visit when you’re in Napa – it’s always packed with parties and tourists. Grumble grumble Chauteau Montelena grumble grumble Bottle Shock.
Plus, they have air conditioning! Perfect when your baby passes out. Plop her in the stroller and go grab a tasting ($20 or $40, depends on the tasting).
Our last stop: Domaine Chandon. Because a birthday is incomplete without bubbles.
Chandon is made for young people. The tasting room looks like a night club, with sleek looking bars and a bar menu (dude. brie grilled cheese, anyone?), and beautiful chicks just lounging around on the sexy clubby sofas.
The outside is a different story though; they boast gorgeous gardens, and lots of grass to hangout on with your dog or baby. In fact, there were a lot of young parents in the outside area, carting (or baby-leashing) their babies around. Domaine Chandon also has a sit-down restaurant if you want a more substantial meal.
We were done after Chandon, so we headed home after that. Truth be told, I think baby had the most fun out of us all. All that nature and sunlight is great for baby, and the vibe is sooo chill. I may be too old for Kamikazes and cramped jam sessions at Detroit Bar (R.I.P.), but I am totally okay with that.
Other notable baby friendly Napa suggestions include:
- Old Faithful Geyser at Calistoga (my parents used to take me here!)
- Ropeways at Sterling Vineyards
- Watch fishes at Robert Sinskey
- Scientopia in DT Napa