A Day on Napa’s Silverado Trail

Photo courtesy of Signorello Estate

The iconic Silverado Trail is quintessential Napa Valley. Built in 1852 as the first road linking the towns of Napa and Calistoga, it was a busy route because of the fortune seekers in the area hunting for silver. By the late 19th century, it was the main artery linking cinnbar mines to the north and the docks of San Pablo Bay. Today, the 29-mile, two-lane road hosts a treasure trove of wineries that boast some of the best wines in the region. 

While many of the larger wineries are located on the adjacent Highway 29, the Silverado Trail is a quieter, more intimate experience — perfect for locals wanting to enjoy a getaway in the countryside. It’s harvest time in Wine Country and here’s a look at some don’t-miss tastings, dining experiences and stays. 

Conn Creek

Have you always wanted to be part of the annual Wine Country harvest? Well now you can. On October 24 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m., $150 per person) Conn Creek is offering the chance to “hop in the barrel and get your feet wet.” Stomp some grapes, sip some wine and indulge in harvest-inspired bites — sounds like a pretty epic way to spend an afternoon if you ask us. Established in 1973, the winery, which focuses on cabernet sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals, is one of the handful of vineyards that established Napa Valley as a premier wine-growing region, so you’ll be experiencing a little piece of Wine Country history as well. 

Milliken Creek Inn

This charming 11-room inn, nestled on the banks of the Napa River, has just unveiled a major upgrade that includes chic, modern decor, reimagined outdoor spaces and firepits in areas around the property meant for soaking in the bucolic atmosphere. All stays include a complimentary breakfast, a mini afternoon picnic and cordials in the evening. Be sure and check out the property’s “Escape & Explore” special (valid all month), which offers 20 percent off of published rates. 

Robert Sinskey

Do you prefer sampling your wine with a three-course meal? Then look no further than the “Eat Drink RSV” experience ($125 per person). The seated food-and-wine event can accommodate up to eight people, and the meal is expertly prepared by the chefs in the on-site Vineyard Kitchen. While menus vary depending on the time of year you visit and what is in season, it’s always organic. And the wines? Those are organic, too.   

two people pouring wine at Judd's Hill
Judd's Hill (Kenny Kim Photography)

Signorello Estate
4500 Silverado Trail

One of the wineries that sustained major damage in the 2017 wildfires, Signorello is rising from the ashes. Currently, tastings are being held in a temporary space on the property, but the winery is due to break ground on the new building very soon. Get to know the new winemaking team — 34-year-old winemaker Priyanka French along with Celia Welch and Steve Matthiasson — through the 90-minute “Estate Experience” (minimum of four people, $50 per person). The experience begins with a glass of wine and a driving tour of the vineyard followed by a seated tasting and nibbles to accompany. 

Silverado Vineyards
6121 Silverado Trail

Any reason is a good reason to visit Silverado, but when there is a special event we sit up and take notice. Join the party on Saturday, October 16, from noon to 3 p.m. as Silverado Vineyards throws a casual release celebration for its flagship offering, the Heritage Clone Cabernet Sauvignon, SOLO. Revelers will enjoy tapas and paella as well as a sangria made with the vineyard’s Borreo Sangiovese. Tickets are limited and the event is sure to sell out so get them while you can ($125 per person, $100 for wine club members). See you there!

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
5766 Silverado Trail

This year is the 45th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris and Stag’s Leap is offering a special tasting to commemorate. When the winery’s 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon took first place at the competition, Stag’s Leap Wine cellars cemented its place in history. In honor of the great victory, the winery is offering an exclusive flight from the Legacy Collection of the S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon and features four vintages — 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017 ($125 per person). Learn about the winery’s storied past and sip on some of the best cabs in the valley.

Be a Winemaker for a Day

Try something different with a blending experience.

Don’t miss the Bottle Blending Day Camp at Judd’s Hill. You will be led through a tasting and blending session culminating in hand bottling, labeling and even a tutorial on how to apply the foil capsules to the bottle. Starting at $350 for two guests, includes four bottles.

During the Oracle Blending Seminar at Miner Wines guests will blend all five wines in the Bordeaux family and have the opportunity to experiment with their own blend after sampling and learning about the different varietals. Allow 90 minutes to 2 hours, $125 per person, available for groups of up to 10.