I TOOK MY first post-pandemic trip back to Napa in February. As a Northern California native living in Brooklyn, it was the exact vacation I needed to snap me out of my never-ending winter doom. For most people, Napa and wine are synonymous, but for me, someone who grew up in the Bay Area, that wasn’t always the case. Sure, I had been fully immersed in the wine scene in New York City, but my worlds had never collided. I was eager to experience my childhood stomping grounds with my ever-growing wine interest and knowledge in my back pocket.
My background is in hospitality, and the most covetable travel and food recommendations have always come to me directly from someone working in the industry. This trip was no exception. I looked to Jonathan Cristaldi, a Bay Area local, wine expert, and writer, to create a road map based on his favorite places to eat, stay, shop, and explore in Napa. Cristaldi combines his decade-plus of professional experience in the wine world with a passion for farm-to-table cooking and an itch for finding unique stays. I’d recommend his picks to both locals and travelers seeking a wine-country getaway.
His recommendations were inspired by a heartfelt conversation with Christopher and Martina Kostow of the 3-Michelin-star Restaurant at Meadowood. Read on to plan an unmatched romantic visit to Napa.
— Hailey Andresen
Where to Eat
The StationIdeal for coffee and grab-and-go meals.
Model BakeryIdeal for bread and pastries.
K. Laz Wine CollectionIdeal for wine tasting.
Where to Stay
Poetry InnIdeal for a romantic getaway.
The Ink HouseIdeal for a lavish, relaxing getaway.
Stanly RanchYour personal wine country weekend home, with serious amenities.
Where to Shop + Explore
Gary’s Wine & MarketplaceIdeal for a night in.
V MarketplaceIdeal for an experience.
Acres Home and GardenIdeal for a souvenir.
Jonathan Cristaldi Writer
Jonathan Cristaldi is an established wine writer with more than a decade of professional experience. His articles on wine, spirits, and beer appear in both local and national print and digital platforms, including Decanter, Food & Wine, Departures, the SOMM Journal, Tasting Panel Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Thrillist, and Time Out Los Angeles. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Amanda, and daughter, Penelope. When Cristaldi isn’t visiting vineyards in the Bay Area, he’s on the hunt for a great McIntosh apple.
Stebs Schinnerer Photographer
Stebs Schinnerer is a Bay Area director and director of photography. He specializes in documentary storytelling for commercial and editorial clients around the world.