Girlfriend Getaway in Napa Valley


3 girls, 2 days, 9 wineries, 1 chance encounter with MASAHARU MORIMOTO (details to come tomorrow! Early details – I cried.) and too many sips of vino to count, means Napa was a smashing success! :D

There’s nothing like a little girlfriend time to rejuvenate the soul – especially with these two, Natalie and Lindsey. We’ve been on several vacations together throughout the years since meeting in college, and always have a blast no matter where we go.

Send us on a wine-tasting weekend to Napa Valley, California though, and the fun really gets turned up a notch!! ;)

After visiting Cakebread Cellars on Thursday afternoon, we kicked the weekend off around 10:30 Friday morning at Mumm Napa. A sparkling wine winery!

It’s hard to imagine taking back a hearty Napa Cabernet so early in the morning, so this sparkling, “mimosa” feeling stop felt like the perfect way to start our day.

Mumm is located on a breathtaking plot of land in Rutherford, about 15 minutes north of Napa, and offers tours plus tastings, or just tastings on their gorgeous outdoor patio with killer views.

The wine tasting experience at Mumm is unusual not just because they serve sparkling wine, but also because they have table-side service on the patio, almost like a restaurant, rather than standing up at a tasting bar. We really liked that! (Please notice the soul searing stare from the gentleman in pink.)

After settling into our seats underneath the morning sun, we ordered a “house” trio of Mumm sparkling wines in 3oz pours for $18.

Our server poured, and we sipped from left to right – driest to sweetest – with a Rose in the center. I loved all three (obvi) but actually preferred the dry over the sweet, which is unusual for me!

We got to chatting with our server, and he brought out a fourth Rose for us to try – a specialty of the house. We found this to be a common event with most of the wineries we visited. The more you chat and get to know the people working at the wineries, the more they are willing (and want!) to let you try more, delicious wines. Mumm is a MUST visit in Napa – and be sure to visit their website for printable 2-for-1 coupons before you go!

We were undecided about where to go next, so our driver, Ivo (lurve), suggested we go to Peju, about 10 minutes away.

Peju is a family-run winery started by a husband and wife team, that is now run by their two daughters.


The driveway leading into the winery sits beneath a long archway of shady trees, parallel to the grape vines bordered with TONS of sunflowers. I could hardly stand it!

Peju’s tasting room is wide-open, bright and airy. We had fun chatting with the ladies up front before bellying up to the tasting bar with Jeff, our wine tasting guide.

Jeff walked us through 4 of Peju’s wine offerings, for $15 (if I’m remembering right!)

Napa is known for their red wines, but each winery we went to poured at least 1 Sauvignon Blanc to start the tastings for the white wine fans (me.) This was one of the best I had all weekend.

As I mentioned, chatting = more wine. Jeff was a GEM, and ended up giving us tastes of 8 different Peju wines, which were some of the best of all the wineries we visited.

Especially the Provence wine, which is a “white wine drinker’s red wine, and a red wine drinker’s white wine.” Delish! Even Lindsey liked it and she is a die hard red wine fan. ;)

Be sure to check out the 50 foot tower upstairs at Peju, if you go, for views like this!

After Peju we stopped off at Oakville Grocery, an adorable “gourmet” market and deli nearby, which sells hot and cold sandwiches for lunch (I had a hot chicken, bacon, and caramelized onion sandwich – TO DIE.) This was the perfect stop because it was quick and affordable.


We were going to stop at nearby Dean & Deluca, but it would have been 10x busier, plus this place was oozing Napa charm. I highly recommend!


Our third and second to last stop of the day after lunch was at Jessup Cellars in Yountville. Lindsey had heard great things about their wine and tasting room before we left, and Ivo confirmed it was a must try.

Although Jessup Cellars are not located on a vineyard, rather in the shabby-chic town of Yountville (home of French Laundry!) their tasting room is beautiful and intimate. They also have a bigger room for parties, and places to sit down and sip.

For $20, the girls and I sipped our way through 5 different wines with our tasting guide, Bay.

Bay seriously made this visit – he was so awesome, and his Dad makes yurts. ‘Nuf said.

I enjoyed the Petite Syrah best here. BTW Syrah and Shiraz are the same thing, however Petite Syrah (or Shiraz) is a different grape!

At every winery or cellar we visited, we made sure to ask our guides what their favorite wineries were. Who knows better than the locals, right? Bay circled several to visit, but we had to choose just one before our car service ran out. Regusci Winery it was!

Regusci is a big medieval castle feeling place that sits on a HUGE vineyard with views that made me want to pinch myself. Their tasting room is long and cozy, and I loved the little touches like fresh flowers in – wait for it – MASON JARS everywhere!

At this point we had been tasting wine all day and were deeply involved in girl talk (aka babbling our faces off,) so we didn’t get to talk too much to our wine tasting guide (who was busy with several other visitors – it wasn’t like we were ignoring her.)

It was a more casual vibe anyhow, so she came over to refill our glasses and fill us in on the winery’s history every 10 minutes or so. It was perfect!

We finished our last tasting on their enormous, elevated back patio. It was like a dream. I definitely recommend Regusci not only for the wine, but the atmosphere. Just beautiful.

After Recusci, Ivo whisked us home where we promptly crashed, then headed out for dinner at Uva, a chill Italian restaurant with terrific food (and half portions, which is key) and live music. Day 1 was a BLAST, and Day 2 might have been even better (see previous note re: meeting Morimoto. I can’t even…ahh!) Details to come tomorrow! :D

Happy Monday!

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  1. Your post really makes me just want to jump on a plane and go to Napa! I’ve always wanted to go but just never had the chance. Definitely on the bucket list! Napa looks beautiful!

  2. Photos are stunning!! I’ve been to wine country but it’s been a few years and this makes me want to go back! Thanks for sharing!! PS: Can’t wait to hear about Morimoto!

  3. Renae 09.10.2012

    I just got back from Napa last night!!!! So much to see. We visited different wineries. I wanted a picture of the Coca-cola sign, but missed it, so thanks for that! Your blog actually came up at one of our dinner conversations! Beautiful country! Cheers!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.10.2012

      That’s so awesome! Which wineries were you able to visit?

      • Renae 09.14.2012

        We had private tours of Fisher vineyards, Cline, V Sattui, and a couple others. We ate at Cook and Farmstead in St Helena, among others. It was a great trip. Your tour bus looked great!

  4. Looks like you had an absolute blast – missing the wineries around Portland tremendously today! Wishing I could make another trip out there soon.

  5. Looks beautiful and like you had a great time. You should come taste in Sonoma County. The tastings are so much more affordable! They don’t usually cost more then $10 for 3-6 pours.

  6. Kim 09.10.2012

    Ohmagosh. I went to Napa and Sonoma on a girls trip in February and had almost the EXACT first day. Seeing your pictures, even down to the same pourers, made me miss it so much. A trip back is in order.

  7. Jeff 09.10.2012

    We are heading to Napa on Thursday, after reading about your first day I think we may just follow in your footsteps one of the days we’re out there! Love the pictures and your descriptions, definitely going to have to check your blog more often. How was the car service? We have one reserved on Friday from 10:30-4:30, hopefully that’s enough time to visit several great wineries!

    • Jeff 09.10.2012

      Forgot to mention we have a reservation at Morimoto too! Can’t wait to read about your crying experience ;-)

      • Iowa Girl Eats 09.10.2012

        Awesome!! You will have a blast! Round Pond is another excellent winery, and I’ll be sharing 4 others that we went to, tomorrow. Morimoto is PHENOMENAL. He ships fresh fish in from Tokyo every 48 hours. So unbelievably delicious! Oh, car service was awesome too. 10am-4pm was the perfect amount of time.

        • Jeff 09.10.2012

          So you’re saying not to wimp out and get the 45 day aged filet mignon? Because I’m an Iowan too and I kind of want to try some grass-fed beef! But I don’t know how you can go to a place like that and not get fresh fish from Tokyo. Can’t wait to hear about your second day! We’re doing a long Thursday-Monday weekend out there, rented a house at Vin Roc winery, so excited.

          • Iowa Girl Eats 09.10.2012

            Yes, got to try at least one piece of sushi! ;) Your rental sounds stunning – have a blast!

            • Jeff 02.12.2013

              I always wanted to tell you but clearly forgot, we ended up using Platypus Tours the 2nd day we were out there and we had Karl too! Pretty small chance, I think he said they had 28 drivers or something like that. And of course he remembered you very well, you made an impression on him. ;) Judging from some of the pictures we had taken with Karl, I am hoping we made an impression as well! Good times. Thanks so much for recommending Platypus, we had an excellent experience.

  8. Stephanie Hanson 09.10.2012

    Looks like you had a ball on your girls trip!! I went to Mumm a few years ago and it is such a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Lauren 09.10.2012

    Did you seriously get to go to Napa twice in the course of 3 months? Ah, I’m slightly jealous! :) What a beautiful trip. Napa is my dream place. Heaven on earth!

  10. Your pics are gorgeous…It looks like you’re having a blast! Girls trips are the best :) Enjoy!

  11. Kim 09.10.2012

    Sounds like an awesome trip!! A girls weekend to Napa would be amazing right about now. Must…visit…NAPA!!!!!

  12. Jennifer L 09.10.2012

    I love wine posts! One day I WILL get to Napa!

  13. LaurenO 09.10.2012

    Well this sort of seals the deal for me about Napa. I was on the fence but from your descriptions and pictures, done done and done. Although this cracked me up for a good minute: “Regusci is a big mid evil castle feeling place…” Mid evil, as opposed to super evil or not so evil? Medieval :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.10.2012

      Bahahaha! Wow I feel pretty stupid!

      • LaurenO 09.11.2012

        Don’t feel stupid! Slip ups are always good for a chuckle in general, but when it involves different grades of evil, that’s just awesome. I think you get 3 days post-vacation to get your brain back in order so you’re fine!

  14. wow all of those places look fantastic. I would love to visit napa!

  15. When my parents met my BF’s mom for the first time, she took us to Jessup Cellars (she’s a wine club member!) — we even got our own private tasting room… I loved all of it!

  16. Alexa 09.10.2012

    Where is that tank top from?? Cute!

  17. Jan Vaughan 09.10.2012

    I met your friend Lindsey this summer at 2 different family weddings in Hubbard, She is such a sweetheart. Her boyfriend Sam and my son Jordan were high school & college friends at U.of Iowa. Lindsey, Sam & I were chatting at the bar at the first wedding. We were talking about fitness & healthy eating & the talk came around to blogs. Sam asked me if I ever read IGE…….I said “I Love that blog!” Lindsey said that you two were good friends. I told her to tell you that she met a lady who reads her blog & went back to the very FIRST post to enjoy all of IGE!!! My sister in Olathe, Kansas reads you also.
    It was so fun to see Lindsey in these pics with you. Looks like a fabulous trip!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.11.2012

      That’s too funny! And I’m not surprised you met her at TWO weddings this summer – she went to nearly 10 over the last three months. Crazy!

  18. Sara N. 09.10.2012

    I love the sunflower pictures! Although an Iowa native, I now live in Kansas; however, due to the drought the sunflowers are not as frequent this summer:( Thank you for all of the great tips! I’ve always wanted to go out to Napa and now will nudge my husband into doing so. What a great late summer or fall trip. Sounds like the perfect time to experience!

  19. so excited to hear about the Morimoto encounter – that would be so, so cool!

  20. Ardex Sd T 09.10.2012

    What beautiful pictures… looks like such a fun trip!

  21. What beautiful pictures….I’m so jealous! Looks like the perfect girls trip! Can’t wait to see day 2.

  22. Rainey 09.10.2012

    This looks fantastic! I am definitely putting Napa on my “Must Visit” list. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to hear about the Morimoto encounter!

  23. RebeccaS 09.10.2012

    I was in Napa in April and visited Mumm and ate at Uva. Both were fantastic, agreed!!! Glad you had such a fun girls’ trip!

  24. I am going to Fair Play, California on Oct 4 with 3 girlfriends. I am giddy and after reading about your trip I can not wait to go. I love wine and I love traveling and I have never been to California. Do you have any tips for us. The house we are staying in has 12 wineries around us. Four days, four gals, 12 wineries….can’t beat that!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.11.2012

      You will have a BLAST! I would definitely recommend hiring a driver or going with a company like Platypus Tours ( for the days you will be visiting the wineries. It’s so nice not having to worry about driving!

      • Well, we are actually within walking distance to several wineries I guess. So, I will leave my heels at home and hope I can walk straight! LOL! We are looking into maybe going to Tahoe for a day too….ever been there? Worth the drive time of 1 1/2 hrs each way?

      • J 02.26.2013

        Did you use the tour company both days of your wine touring? I am going in July for 3 days (in napa), and wondering if two full days of tours would be too much?

        • Iowa Girl Eats 02.26.2013

          We used Apex Limos for the first full day (described in this post.) It was more self-guided, though our driver suggested a couple awesome stops! I don’t think 2 days of tasting is too much, either. We thought it was just perfect!

          • J 02.26.2013

            Thank you, I will check them out too!

  25. Lacey 09.10.2012

    I totally wished I knew you were going to be there! I would have loved to meet you! I love MUMM. My favorite.

  26. Love, love, love!

  27. Em 09.11.2012

    Great post! Bay is gorgeous!

  28. Beautiful photos!

  29. Lu 09.11.2012

    There is something extra nice about sipping wine in the beautiful sunshine. I swear it tastes better when the weather is good!!

    I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award, you can find the info on my blog here

  30. This trip looks SO fun!!! Napa is so gorgeous! :)

  31. Laura F. 09.11.2012

    Peju was my favorite winery in Napa when I last visited!

  32. […] 2 of our Napa Valley Girlfriend Getaway kicked off by getting picked up curbside at our hotel by Platypus Tours – the transportation […]

  33. Laura 09.11.2012

    You never mentioned (or I missed it) where you stayed…do you have a recommendation for an affordable but lovely accomodation? Have you ventured over to Yountville, or are you solely a Napa gal? Love the pics and your story…

  34. Ashley 09.11.2012

    I went out to Napa quite a few years ago for a 3 day adventure and visited Peju. Loved every minute of it!!

  35. […] and, despite our best efforts to avoid cross contamination, as of Monday I had officially traded wine, cheese, and sushi – for juice, Nyquil, and tissues.These are not the same.To me […]

  36. Sara 09.25.2012

    Hometown pride :) my family is from Napa and currently located about half an hour away, so I loved reading this! Plus, you hit up some of my favorite places (Jessup & Uva). Hard to resist suggesting a million more places to you (Domaine Carneros, Artesa, I could go on…) but sounds like you had an excellent time!

  37. […] today with an old friend who just had her second baby, and Saturday with two of my other besties (the Napa girls!) for a fun day in the city. Cannot. Wait. Girl time is seriously the best time. : […]

  38. All of your pictures are amazing! It is a good tip to ask the locals what their favorite wineries are!

  39. Melissa 01.21.2014

    Hello! I have been reading your blog and taking notes for our one year anniversary trip together this May to Napa. I wanted to ask if you used the Platypus Tour everyday you were there? How long should we make out trip to Napa? Did you stay both trips at the Embassy Hotel?

    We were thinking of renting a car and driving from San Diego there, but I read about not driving to the winery due to a lots of cops tracking down people. What can be another way? Biking? Ferry? Walking?

    Thank you!!!! Look forward to hearing back from you.

    • Kristin 01.25.2014

      FUN! We used Platypus for one day, and rented a town car + driver through Apex Limos for the second day. We stayed at Embassy Suites for 2 nights and The River Terrace Inn for 1 night. I would say 2 or 3 days is plenty if you’re doing wine tasting in Napa!

      You are correct – they are very strict with drinking/driving, so you can rent a tour or driver, or they also have bikes that you can rent and bike from winery to winery!

  40. Liane R 01.22.2014

    We also loved Mumm and Peju. Nothing like sitting outside on a nice day, tasting wine and we ended up joining Peju’s wine club. The last few times we have gone we have stayed in Sonoma. A quaint little town with and old time town square which has some tasting rooms as well. Great photos!

  41. Maria K 01.22.2014

    Your trip sounds amazing! Where did y’all stay???

    • Kristin 01.25.2014

      We stayed at the Embassy Suites for 2 nights, and The River Terrace Inn for 1 night!

  42. Kim 02.12.2014

    My 2 GF and I are planning a trip to Napa for July and stumbled across this and well… Frnakly as my friend Kelly put it “I basically want to copy everything those girls did on the blog, down to the chicken and bacon sandwich at the Oakville Grocery!! ”

    I do have a real question though… you mentioned the limo service was APEX but linked Amax… and they are BOTH real limo services- but Amax looks significantly more expensive..

  43. […] heading to Seattle this weekend for a quick girlfriend getaway with my Napa ladies. My friend Lindsey recently moved to the area so Natalie (my fellow shortie) and I are heading out […]

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