Wearing Line and Dot dress, Soludos shoes, Cotton On hat at Charter Oaks Winery
I have been wanting to go to the Napa Valley for quite some time. In fact, I’ve wanted to go there ever since I saw The Parent Trap with Lindsay Lohan almost 20 years ago! So, you can imagine how excited I was when Buick and The Narrative Group invited myself and Cassondra on a three day retreat up North.
Just two hours outside of San Francisco resides the gorgeous rolling hills that surround the Napa Valley. Our drive in was picturesque, thanks to the convertible 2016 Cascada Buick they let us have for the trip.
Spa at Auberge Du Soleil
We stayed at the Auberge du Soliel, arguably the best hotel in Napa. With a Michelin star restaurant, a five star rating, and Conde Naste-approved, we were excited at the opportunity to stay in such a gorgeous place. The restaurant overlooks the entire valley, with vineyards on vineyards rolling into the horizon.
View from Auberge du Soleil
After dropping our things off, we headed to Mumm, a sparkling winery in close proximity to the hotel, where we sampled 5 of their delicious wines and took a look at the Carlos Santa-curated Jim Marshall photography exhibit. My favorite was the Mumm Blanc de Blancs and we definitely came home with a bottle.
Mumm Vineyard Wearing Splendid x Damsel in Dior dress and Soludos
That night, we headed to Auberge’s Michelin star restaurant, and dined up top in the private tree house with a private balcony overlooking the valley. We had a dinner consisting of scallops, little gem salad, and roasted chicken – all which were divine, and had a few too many glasses of various local wines as a night cap.
Dining at Auberge Du Soleil with Cassondra
The next day, we started off with hot yoga — and I mean, hot yoga, outside in the 100 degree Napa heat. We cooled off with brunch, and then I headed down to take in the gorgeous Auberge pool.
That afternoon, we went our own way to Cassondra’s client’s mother’s winery – Charter Oaks. This was a highlight for me, because I had no idea what to expect and what we found was truly magical. Charter Oak winery makes everything by hand. You heard that right, handmade wine, with no added chemicals and preservatives, and aged in barrels over a century old and pressed with paddles used by her husband’ Robert’s grandfather, Guido, who started the winery and who’s recipe and process they still use today. The result? A silky, satin taste that is so pure.
Layla Fanucci’s Cityscape paintings in her art studio at Charter Oaks (closest;) Grounds of Charter Oaks (above)
We quickly fell in love with Charter Oaks. Robert’s wife Layla gave us a tour of the grounds — including a small vineyard, art studio, entertaining kitchen, spacious backyard, and Charter House reserved for wine club members. Obviously, we jumped at the chance to join the wine club.
Chess at Charter Oaks
The most impressive piece of Charter Oaks, in my opinion, came in the form of artwork. The main house serves as Layla’s art studio, and her famous cityscape paintings can be seen around the world at museums like the Louvre. Her story is equally as fascinating as the winery’s, and really deserves it’s own blog post. To read more about her, and see her work, go here, or take a look at her book.
Grounds of Peju Winery in Line and Dot dress and Kenneth Cole heels
Leaving with our minds full, we headed over to Pizza Travigne which was a local joint and nothing short of amazing. That night, we headed to Peju winery for another magical experience with our Buick crew… wine tasting and dining al fresco in the middle of the Peju vineryard. The 5 course meal — consisting of peach pancetta mozzarella salad, halibut and smoked ribeye prepared by Chef Alex Espinoza– was the best we had on the trip, and was perfected paired with Peju wines. The setting at this place echoes the Italian countryside in so many ways, and was perfect for some outfit pictures. The night ended with fireworks to celebrate Bastille day, and pay tribute to those who passed in the Nice attack earlier that day.
We made so many friends on our Napa Valley trip, and I’m already plotting an excuse to go back. With 750 wineries in the Napa Valley alone, there is a lot of exploring left to do, but Mumm, Charter Oaks, and Peju have set the bar high.
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Special thanks to the entire @BuickUSA team for having us! #OUTwithBuick #ItsABuick