If you’ve never been here, it can be hard to know just what to bring to make your weekend in wine country the best it can be! Northern California weather can be somewhat temperamental, and if you plan on wine tasting all day and staying up late your body may need a little extra support. Here are the seven things I suggest friends and family pack when coming to town.
1. A good jacket.
Self explanatory? Maybe, but you would not believe how many men and women show up in tasting rooms when it’s 40 degrees out and raining with nothing but a t-shirt on. Even in the summer, sometimes being seated outdoors can get chilly, and if you go on a tour into a wine cave the temperature is going to be 55 degrees so a versatile jacket is a must.
2. Your ID.
Whether you are newly 21 or going on 50, and ID is just in general a great thing to have on your person. Especially if you plan on being the designated driver.
3. A bit of cash.
Yes, most of Napa is run on cards but every now and then cash comes in handy, especially for tipping. Depending on how many wineries you plan on going to and if you need any for food trucks, etc., $100 plus a credit card should be plenty.
4. Offline maps.
Downloading offline maps is never a bad idea, especially if you plan on visiting some wineries up in the hills where service is abysmal. In general in the valley, cell service can be surprisingly dicey so better to have maps to better direct your Uber driver than get stuck somewhere on a windy mountain road.
If you’ve never done it, Google Maps makes it really easy–just search Napa, CA, swipe up to see more information, click the three dots in the upper right of the screen and select download offline map. Then zoom out to make sure you have the whole valley selected (probably up to Calistoga) and hit download.
5. A portable charger.
In this day and age, its highly likely you’ll be using you phone for everything throughout the day, from navigating to sharing that great gram of you drinking in a vineyard. There’s nothing worse that running out of juice halfway through the day, so if you don’t already have one pick up a portable charger to bring with from winery to winery.
There are small options available too so you can keep them hidden in your bag or pocket, but I’m obsessed with this medium sized one from Amazon.
6. A hangover recovery boost.
I’m not sure how much 15% alcohol Cabernet you’ve had in your life, but after a few wineries it certainly takes its toll. My current favorite solution (besides drinking water throughout the day) is DrinkAde, which has specific formulas for before drinking (Prevention) as well as after (Boost). Toss a couple in your mini-fridge, take Prevention in the morning or before going out to dinner and Boost Sunday morning to help you recover more quickly for round two.
Best part is they’re vegan, sugar free, gluten free, only 5 calories and made with Vitamin B, Potassium, Electrolytes, Milk Thistle, Green Tea Extract, Aloe Vera, and Gotu Kola.
7. Wine wipes.
Optional, but if you plan on taking lots of pictures not the worst idea since Napa Cabernets tend to have lots of dark purple tannins that stick to your teeth. An alternative to buying something like this is to ask to revisit whatever white wine the winery had at the end, since a bit of acid will help remove the color.
Now that your bags are packed, check out the five things you need to know before wine tasting in Napa to make sure you’re truly ready.