Hold the Wine: What To Do With Non-Drinkers in the Wine Country
So you’ve got friends or family in town and they want to see Napa Valley but don't drink. Seems like a conundrum, but fret not— there's hiking, biking, museums and alterative winery experiences that make for a great day amidst the vines, even sans vino.
Most wineries offer more than just wine and many have some form of educational, historical or art-based tour. Some top picks are: Schramsberg for the Cave tour and for history buffs, Castello Di Amorosa for the kids or medieval history lovers, Pine Ridge for picnics, St. Supery for wine education, CADE for the beautiful views and architecture, Rubicon Estate for Coppola fans and film buffs and Artesa, Hess Collection, and Cliff Lede for artwork. The Culinary institute of America (CIA) Greystone, is housed in one of the most historic and impressive buildings in the valley and although it's no longer a winery, offers a range of culinary classes for students of every level, as well as a gift shop that I hit every holiday season.
If art is your focus, the Di Rosa Preserve has beautiful views and a massive collection of fun and serious artwork both in and outdoors. Continue your art tour with an I.Wolk gallery experience at one of their 3 galleries, including Ma(i)sonry, and make sure not to miss Gordon Huether Gallery in downtown Napa.
Music and shows are plentiful in the wine country (especially in the summer) so check out Mondavi’s summer concert series, Uptown Theatre, Napa Valley Opera House, Silos or one of the upcoming summer festivals like the Napa Valley Art and Music Festival in St. Helena or Rootstock in Healdsburg.
For those looking to do a bit of shopping, nothing beats St. Helena’s high-end boutiques and galleries. Oxbow Public Market, in downtown Napa, has a very lively scene and a bit of everything from artisan cheese to to fine silks.
Head up to Calistoga and visit the Petrified Forest and Old Faithful Geyser and then pick a spot to enjoy the pool or some spa treatments at a local resort like my family's favorite, Indian Springs. There are resorts all over the Valley so massages and other treatments should definitely be on your radar.
For a wild experience just outside of the Valley, drive north towards Santa Rosa and stop at Safari West, where you’ll be surrounded by over 400 exotic mammals and birds including cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, and antelopes. Stay the night here or continue your safari in Healdsburg at Quivira Winery where they have self guided tours through biodynamic gardens with chickens, pigs, goats, honeybees and more.