a wine country guide to calistoga and st. helena


Joe and I recently spent a day in wine country exploring new wineries we hadn’t previously been to. We started the day with a biplane ride over Napa Valley from Cloud 9 Living. After that, we headed over to Calistoga and St. Helena and had the best time. Since these regions are a little bit farther than Napa from San Francisco, we don’t go to these two areas as often, but I may have to argue that it’s the prettiest area to drive through in all of Napa Valley! Tons and tons of gorgeous vineyards, with views unblocked by traffic or busy roads. Something about both Calistoga and St. Helena definitely steals my heart.

napa valley travel guide

calistoga winery

calistoga wineries

This trip we visited Fairwinds Estate Winery in Calistoga, which is the tasting room for not only Fairwinds itself, but also Kenefick Ranch Winery and Highlands Winery. We met with Chris Kenefick, who heads up sales and marketing for Kenefick Ranch Winery. His dad is the owner, who was a doctor in San Francisco before moving up to Napa and purchasing their property in 1981. Chris gave us a private tour of the grounds. We especially loved the wine caves, where they often host events or dinner parties with live music - such a cool experience!

chris kenefick

kenefick ranch winery

napa valley wine tasting

Chris and Terry (who runs the tasting room) gave us a private tasting of both Kenefick Ranch and Fairwinds Estate wines. They taught us a lot about how each wine’s grapes were grown and the flavors to look for. I love wine (more than I should probably), but I still completely consider myself a total wine newbie because it’s so complex that there’s just so much to learn. I doubt I’ll ever be a master, but our experience here was very fun and educational. The down to earth staff complimented the amazing wine well - Joe and I felt like we were hanging out with old friends.