Residents revel in local foods—the heirloom tomatoes, Gravenstein apples, Hog Island oysters, precious abalone, goat's milk yogurt and so on. It's worth a quick visit to one of the area's abundant (and abounding) specialty shops, such as the Vella Cheese Company (707-938-3232) in Sonoma town or the Olive Press (800-965-4839) in Glen Ellen. Custom wine and "foodie" tours are available from several outfits, including J. Shaw & Company (707-433-1145, gourmetwine.com) and Viviani (800-658-9997, viviani.com).
Copia (888-512-6742, copia.org) is a cultural center in the town of Napa established with the guidance of vintner Robert Mondavi. The performance space, exhibitions and garden form an homage to American cuisine, wine and arts. Another worthwhile stop is St. Helena's Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (707-967-2320), the famous cooking school that offers how-to demonstrations and the first-rate Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant (707-967-1010). The Napa Valley Wine Train (800-427-4124) is as much dining experience as train ride. During the three-hour round-trip from Napa north to St. Helena, riders can sip a selection of area wines and order a gourmet meal from one of the three dining venues located within the train's nine restored Pullman cars.
AUBERGE DU SOLEIL
180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford; 800-348-5406, aubergedusoleil.com. Rooms: $475-$675. Suites: $875-$1,100. Cottages: $3,250.
A special place to lay your head. Set in a vast olive grove south of St. Helena, Auberge du Soleil has Mediterranean-style cottages with terraces, fireplaces and baths large enough for rafting. The tony spa features a wealth of treatments and massages.
6529 Yount Street, Yountville; 800-788-0369, foursisters.com. Rooms: $115-$275.
A stagecoach stop in the late 1800s and later a bakery, the Fleurie has just thirteen rooms, some with a small spa tub, fireplace and shared deck. Its central Napa location is great for sampling the county's finest restaurants.
MEADOWOOD NAPA VALLEY
900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena; 800-458-8080, meadowood.com. Rooms: $460-$790. Suites: $735-$1,305.
Part luxury destination, part private club for locals and site of the annual Napa Valley Wine Auction, Meadowood boasts seven tennis courts, two pools, a health spa, a croquet lawn and a delightful executive course that ambles through the wooded valley.
SILVERADO COUNTRY CLUB & RESORT
1600 Atlas Peak Road, Napa; 800-532-0500, silveradoresort.com. Suites: $285-$555.
This 1,200-acre, 280-suite resort is great for active guests. There are ten swimming pools, a fitness center, seventeen tennis courts, a spa and a full-service salon in addition to the two courses.
FAIRMONT SONOMA MISSION INN & SPA
100 Boyes Boulevard, Sonoma; 800-441-1414, fairmont.com/sonoma. Rooms: $199-$439. Suites: $339-$749.
A $50 million renovation in 2000 made this California mission-style oasis even more refined. The spa is Roman in its grandeur; many guests roam the grounds in its robes and slippers.
GAIGE HOUSE INN
13540 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen; 800-935-0237, gaige.com. Rooms: $175-$450. Suites: $325-$595.
Luxury writ small. The rooms are eclectically and stylishly appointed; located just north of the town of Sonoma, Gaige House affords easy access to southern Napa and Santa Rosa's best courses.
THE INN AT OCCIDENTAL
3657 Church Street, Occidental; 800-522-6324, innatoccidental.com. Rooms: $195-$290. Suites: $295-$320. Cottages: $350-$600.
The common areas and rooms are uniquely decorated with collections of just about everything—photos of area landscapes, antique toys, crystal vases and even such oddities as hose nozzles.
ALL SEASONS BISTRO & WINE SHOP
(Californian/French) 1400 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga; 707-942-9111. $$$
All Seasons does equally well with the simple (warm spinach salad) or the remarkable (duck confit). Either choose a wine from the extensive list (which has a respectable selection of French offerings) or pick a bottle, delivered tableside for a $15 corking fee, from the adjacent shop.
(French) 6534 Washington Street, Yountville; 707-944-8037. $$
Another triumph for Thomas Keller, who is also the owner/chef at the world-renowned French Laundry (located a midiron up the street; 707-944-2380). Bouchon is a sophisticated French bistro in taste and style.
(Californian/French) 1234 Main Street, St. Helena; 707-963-5330. $$$
Roux is refreshingly intimate and urbane. The seasonal menu is limited but varied enough and highly imaginative. The unusual wine list focuses on tiny, tough-to-find productions—it provides a real opportunity to sample something special.
(Italian) 1050 Charter Oak Avenue, St. Helena; 707-963-4444. $$$
Set among vineyards, Tra Vigne is one of Napa Valley's most lively and handsome restaurants. The theme is Italian, but with decidedly native flourishes. The seasonal menu sports several tempting antipasti and main dishes, plus a wide assortment of pasta courses sauced with braised rabbit, gulf prawns, wild mushrooms and other delicacies.
WAPPO BAR BISTRO
(International) 1226B Washington Street, Calistoga; 707-942-4712. $$
International is when Costa Rican chopped salad, Vietnamese spring rolls, Thai coconut curry, Brazilian seafood chowder, tandoori chicken and New York strip steak comfortably share the same menu.
THE GIRL & THE FIG
(Country French) 110 West Spain Street, Sonoma; 707-938-3634. $$$
A welcoming spot on the town center's historic square. The bistrolike menu wanders from quiche to pork chops, and the wine list features flights, so you can sample several related wines without overdoing it.
(French) 119 South Main Street, Sebastopol; 707-823-6614. $$$
This cozy new spot named after owners and chefs Karen and Lucas Martin is the most authentic replica of a classic Parisian bistro around.
RIVER'S END RESTAURANT & INN
(Eclectic) 11048 Highway 1, Jenner; 707-865-2484. $$$
The food is fabulous, with dishes that run from vegetarian to wild game. The setting is even better. Perched on a cliff, the restaurant overlooks an inlet where scores of drowsy seals loll around on the beach.