WINE TRAVEL GUIDE
Wine Country Weekends
In wine country, everything from the food to the spa treatments screams, "Indulge yourself!" Here are six U.S. wine regions where you can uncork the fun.
Picnic Supplies: The Oakville Grocery has been in operation in the Napa Valley town of Oakville since 1881. Locals voted the store's sandwiches the best in the upper valley last year (707/944-8802, oakvillegrocery.com). In downtown Sonoma, The Cheesemaker's Daughter sells more than 50 kinds of artisanal cheese, including several that are made locally (707/996-4060, cheese makersdaughter.com).
Fresh Air: Burke's Canoe Trips runs a 10-mile self-guided tour down the Russian River from Forestville to a beach in Guerneville. The trip takes four to five hours with stops for sunbathing and swimming. 707/887-1222, burkescanoetrips.com, $58 per canoe, which seats three adults.
Spa Time: Spend a lazy afternoon at the Calistoga Massage Center and Day Spa, in the northern Napa Valley. 707/942-6193, calistogamassage.com, 30-minute massage $45.
Fancy Dinner: Founded in 2001 by legendary winemaker Robert Mondavi, Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts organizes educational tastings, lectures, concerts, and films. The on-site restaurant, Julia's Kitchen, is named for Julia Child, who was a Copia advisor. Its menu is appropriately French-flavored but not fussy, with entrées like duck confit cassoulet and roasted quail (707/265-5700, juliaskitchen.org, entrées from $18, corkage fee $15). The hottest restaurant in Healdsburg is Cyrus, inside the new Les Mars Hotel, where rooms start at $475 a night. Customers choose from European- and Asian-inspired dishes including truffled red-wine risotto and a Thai-marinated lobster with avocado, mango, and hearts of palm (707/433-3311, cyrusrestaurant.com, from $68 for three courses, corkage fee $35).
Where to Stay: The Yountville Inn is not far from Thomas Keller's famous French Laundry restaurant in Yountville. All of the 51 earth-toned guest rooms, some of which can sleep up to four, have wood-beamed ceilings and fieldstone fireplaces. Breakfast includes Starbucks coffee and pastries from Keller's Bouchon Bakery. On Friday nights, the inn offers free wine tastings (888/366-8166, yountvilleinn.com, from $175). While the Yountville Inn has country charm, the El Dorado Hotel in downtown Sonoma is all about contemporary chic. Guest rooms have tiled floors, abstract artwork by local artists, and brushed-stainless-steel bed frames. Upstairs rooms boast balconies that overlook Sonoma Plaza or the hotel courtyard; the larger bungalow rooms on the ground floor have private patios (800/289-3031, hoteleldorado.com, from $175).