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Napa Valley Wine Tasting In June

Napa Valley in June is wonderful. Even if you only have 24 hours, it’s enough time to taste great wine and eat fantastic food. Plus, it apparently never rains in Napa Valley in June unless we’re there.

Napa Valley in June
Napa Grapes | Image: ©2foodtrippers

It never rains in Napa Valley in June. At least that’s what we heard all day as we bopped around California’s wine country in a steady rain. Since we are not strangers to rain while traveling, we didn’t let a little water from the sky slow us down.

Planning a California trip provides so many options. We originally didn’t intend to go to wine country – there’s more than enough to do and eat in San Francisco.

Plus, we’ve done the wine country (Napa and Sonoma) thing twice before, with lots of wine tastings, several good meals and even a couple’s mud bath. However, we changed our plans when we got a reservation at The French Laundry.

See what it’s like to dine at The French Laundry.

We didn’t want to drive over an hour after an epic meal with lots of wine, especially when we could stay at the a B&B just five minutes from the restaurant. It made sense to stay overnight in Yountville.

Although we’ve done wine tastings at some of the big time wineries during the past trips, we prefer smaller producers like Nalle, Preston, Unti and Vincent Arroyo. That’s why we decided to make reservations to check out a couple small, less-touristy wineries in the Napa Valley on this trip.

B&B Breakfast

Oatmeal Brulee in Napa Valley
Oatmeal Brulee | Image: ©2foodtrippers

To prep for the tastings, we started the morning with breakfast at the B&B. Our hostess prepared a small feast for the two of us – oatmeal brûlée, local chicken sausage and fresh fruit – a perfect base for a day of wine tasting in Napa Valley.

Wine Tasting At Fontanella Family Winery

Fontanella Family Winery on Mt. Veeder in Napa Valley
Fonanella Family Winery on Mt. Veeder | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Our first winery appointment was at Fontanella Family Winery, an independent winery on Mt. Veeder.

The winding drive took about 30 minutes, a bit longer than expected due to the rain. Once we got there, it wasn’t long until we were tasting wine and learning about the winery’s short but interesting history.

Wine Tasting in Napa Valley
Wine Tasting in Napa | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We tasted generous pours of the 2011 Mt. Veeder Chardonnay ($34), the 2011 Napa Valley Zinfandel ($36) and the 2011 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon ($54). Of course, we liked the most expensive wine best. However, the highlight was tasting some of the wines right out of the barrels.

Fontanella Wine Barrels in Napa Valley
Fontanella Wine Barrels | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Tasting the wines this way was super educationals. We could taste the difference between the wines grown in different types of soil – gravel, shale and volcanic ash. Yes, there really was a difference. We also tasted the winery’s exclusive GIII Beckstoffer Cabernet Sauvignon released each October.

Daryl Learning about Wine in Napa Valley
Daryl Learning about Wine | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We re-tasted the wines back in the tasting room and applied our new knowledge about the Mt. Veeder appellation. We considered buying a blending kit that would enable us to experiment at home but the $150 price deterred us.

Fontanella Blending Kit in Napa Valley
Fontanella Blending Kit | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Plus, we already knew that we wanted to buy a bottle of the finished product instead. As a bonus, the $20 tasting fees were waived when we bought the bottle.

Fontanella Wine Bottle in Napa Valley
Fontanella Wine Bottle | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Back Room Wines And Oxbow Public Market

After the educational wine tasting, we drove into Napa since we wanted to buy some wine at Back Room Wines.

Back Room Wines in Napa Valley
Back Room Wines | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Why a wine shop in Napa instead of a winery? It turns out that the wine that we loved so much at The French Laundry could only be purchased at a couple shops.

Porchetta at Fatted Calf Charcuterie in Napa Valley
Porchetta at Fatted Calf Charcuterie | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Mike and Kara Dunn of Retro Cellars make a phenomenal Petite Sirah, but their winery isn’t open to the public. Luckily, we were able to buy some bottles at this cute wine shop right near the Oxbow Public Market.

Bean Salad at the Fatted Calf Charcuterie in Napa Valley
Bean Salad at the Fatted Calf Charcuterie | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We took a quick walk through the market. Though tempted by the great options inside, we decided to create our own picnic lunch with purchases from Fatted Calf Charcuterie and Model Bakery, both located right outside the market. We purchased the most succulent porchetta seasoned with garlic, fennel, lemon and rosemary plus some Moroccan bean salad and a baguette.

Inside Model Bakery in Napa Valley
Inside Model Bakery | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We ate our delicious picnic lunch inside due to the unseasonal rain. Totally satisfied, we bought a piece of jerky for later and hit the road for our next tasting appointment at Failla Winery.

Fatted Calf Jerky in Napa Valley
Fatted Calf Jerky | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Wine Tasting At Failla Winery

We drove to St. Helena and easily found the winery, which looks more like a mountain house than a typical winery.

Failla Winery in Napa Valley
Failla Winery | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We joined about eight other people for a tasting in the cosy living room.

Wine Tasting Table in Napa Valley
Wine Tasting Table | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We tasted several wines, all Chardonnays and Pinots.

Mindi at the Failla Wine Tasting in Napa Valley
Mindi at the Failla Wine Tasting | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We enjoyed the wines, especially the Keefer Ranch and Hirsch Pinots. The price point seemed high to us, so we skipped buying any bottles and just paid the tasting fee.

As we left Napa and headed to Oakland, the rain finally stopped. Timing is indeed everything.

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About the Authors

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.


Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

We self-funded our trip to Napa Valley.

Original Publication Date: August 4, 2013

Laura Lynch

Friday 10th of July 2015

We also frequently go to Napa and you've given me some new ideas for our next visit. Haven't been to Oxbow Market yet.


Tuesday 24th of March 2015

I love Napa Valley and wrote my own guide! Thanks for introducing me to some new wineries. I hope to make it back there this year. I enjoyed Oxbow Market on my last visit and must get to the French Laundry although a revisit to Bouchon is a must!

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