Located a quick and easy 15 minutes north of Napa, the little city of Yountville is a fun addition to any wine country vacation must-do list. It’s the type of place where you don’t necessarily need to have a plan. Simply wander down Washington Street, which boasts plenty of award-winning tasting rooms and top-rated restaurants to consider.
This charming enclave, set against a backdrop of the Mayacamas Mountains, is surrounded by premier vineyards of the Napa Valley. There are upwards of a dozen wineries plus numerous tasting rooms to choose from, such as Jessup Cellars and Girard Napa Valley, to name a few. If only bubbly will do, it’s just a quick ride to Domaine Chandon. Tours and tastings are offered regularly, with guided tours to lead you through vineyards, barrel rooms, and cellar doors to meet the winemakers.
Yountville is also featured on many a gourmand’s list. Gourmet establishments abound, but The French Laundry, known around the world for its hard-to-get reservations, is probably the most famous. If you can’t squeeze in, then Ad Hoc, Bouchon Bistro, and Bouchon Bakery are excellent alternatives also founded by renowned chef Thomas Keller.
Things to know before you go
- Wine tasting and fine dining in Yountville is most suitable for couples and groups of adults; consider a sitter for the kids.
- Spontaneous travelers will find plenty to entertain, but winery tours and restaurant meals are best reserved in advance.
- Guided tours typically provide round-trip hotel transport, allowing for safe alcohol consumption without the hassle of navigation.
- There are plenty of luxury hotels and inns catering to visitors who decide to spend the night.
- The “Yountville Mile” pedestrian pathway is paved and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility standards.
How to get there
Yountville is located about 60 miles (100 km) from San Francisco and is a comfortable day trip when visiting the city. Getting around town is made easier by the Yountville Trolley, which generally follows a fixed route and operates daily, every 30 minutes. The “Yountville Mile” bicycle and pedestrian path forms the first segment of the Napa Valley Vine Trail.
When to get there
The garnet-hued leaves of fall provide the best photo opportunities of rolling vineyards. The autumn harvest season also features some of the finest weather and clear skies, while dry summer warmth makes for easy strolling. Yountville has a temperate climate and the tasting rooms are generally open for business year-round, even during winter rains.
How Yountville Got Its Name
Yountville’s founding father George C. Yount was the first person to plant grapes in the area. The frontiersman and farmer developed his property near the Napa River with a Mexican land grant in 1836. The eponymous town was officially named by the US Postal Service in 1867. Today, the grist mill Yount built just north of town is a California Historical Landmark.
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