...Trip idea

Ultimate West Coast Wine & Dine

A sophisticated and understated journey through California’s wineries and culinary hotspots with a private driver, staying in intimate and luxurious hotels.

Highlights

  • Spend a week being wined and dined in California’s first-rate restaurants, vineyards, food tours and farm-to-table spots
  • Stay in small, secluded hotels that have excellent service and great locations
  • Enjoy the pleasure of a private driver and wine guide taking you directly to Napa’s insider tasting rooms and wine cellars
  • Take a slow pace in San Francisco enjoying museums, off-radar food experiences and a gourmet dinner
  • Cruise down Highway 1 and soak up scenic coastal views and marine wildlife sightings
  • Stay in Big Sur experiencing the contrast of redwood forests and wild beaches

HOW TO GET THERE

Fly direct from London Heathrow to San Francisco in around 11 hours non-stop.

WHEN TO GO

May all the way up to the end of September is a great time to visit the west coast of America for sunny days and warm nights. In August, enjoy long evenings with the sun setting at 9pm.

BEST FOR

Oenophiles and epicureans will love this foodie and wine discovery tour; it would also make a wonderfully romantic honeymoon for those that relax best while exploring.

Donum Estate, Napa Valley
Donum Estate, Napa Valley
Donum Estate, Napa Valley
Donum Estate, Napa Valley
Winery Meat and Cheese Board With Wine Glasses
Sunrise Mist over California Vineyard Landscape
Napa Valley vineyard at sunset

Days 1-3: Napa Valley

Arriving in San Francisco, allow your driver to whisk you an hour and a half northwards to the delights of Napa Valley along the Silverado Trail shaded by towering oaks. Surrounded by the rolling greens of vines, feel the long-haul journey slip away as you explore one of the world’s best wine regions.

Over the next few days, get to know Napa and its vineyards on an exclusive tour with a private driver and dedicated wine expert. Gain access to small, boutique wineries, meet wine producers, have lunch on their estates and taste award-winning cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay while revelling in Napa’s sunny landscapes. One of our favourite spots is the Kunde Family Winery in the Sonoma Valley for sampling fine wines, cheese platters and sensational sunset views. At the remarkable Donum Estate, taste vintage wines alongside an ATV tour around their fascinating sculpture park including works by Ai Weiwei and Yayoi Kusama. Evenings are for gastronomic explorations of Napa’s foodie scene including farm-to-table restaurants and Michelin-starred dining, accompanied by fine wines of course.

Auberge Du Soleil, Napa Valley
Auberge Du Soleil, Napa Valley
Auberge Du Soleil, Napa Valley
Auberge Du Soleil, Napa Valley
Auberge Du Soleil, Napa Valley
Auberge Du Soleil, Napa Valley

STAY: Auberge Du Soleil, Napa Valley

A sophisticated adults-only haven, Auberge Du Soleil in Napa Valley is influenced by Provence in its style, architecture and certainly its gastronomic offering. Surrounded by some of Napa’s most interesting viticultural estates, a stay here is a luxe entry point into the world of wine and top-class food. Book direct with the hotel for a magical early-morning hot air balloon ride over the peaceful vineyards before a lavish champagne breakfast. The hotel also has a spa with three swimming pools, a tennis court and much lauded Michelin-star restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine.

People enjoying sunny weather in Mission Dolores Park, San Franc
San Francisco, CA, USA – July 27, 2023: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
San Francisco bread
San Francisco Beach View At Golden Hour
Fisherman’s wharf sign in San Francisco, United States of America

Days 4-5: San Francisco

Leaving Napa Valley behind you, take your time through the backroads and small communities until you reach the coast. We recommend stopping for freshly shucked oysters in Tomales Bay, overlooking the surf-crested Pacific Ocean on the Point Reyes Peninsula.

Cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and be welcomed to a slower pace exploration of San Francisco. Spend a morning wandering the city’s many galleries including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art designed by Snøhetta studio, filled with cultural gems by Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe and Dan Flavin. Enjoy the plenitude of culinary delights in San Francisco – taste tacos to tikka marsala burritos on a  foodie tour of Mission District with an expert guide that includes a skip-the-line stop at the famous bakery Tartine for flaky pastries. Come evening, let us make reservations in one of San Francisco’s exquisite restaurants – such as institution Gary Danko in Fisherman’s Wharf for French-inspired cuisine that includes a heaving cheese trolley.

1 Hotel San Francisco
1 Hotel San Francisco
1 Hotel San Francisco
1 Hotel San Francisco
1 Hotel San Francisco
1 Hotel San Francisco

STAY: 1 Hotel, San Francisco

In a city of large-scale hotels, we prefer smaller and more understated 1 Hotel, a feel-good sustainable place to stay, decorated with native greenery and reclaimed materials. Pick one of the spacious suites and enjoy panoramic views of the waterfront; another perk of 1 Hotel is the Bamford wellness spa, the perfect pick-me-up after a day’s sightseeing.

Route 1 Big Sur California
Carmel by the Sea
California Bixby bridge in Big Sur Monterey County in Route 1
Bixby Creek Bridge,Highway 1 and Big Sur coast California. Bixby Canyon Bridge in California and Big Sur.
Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, California USA

Day 5-7: Big Sur

Leaving the city lights behind, your driver will take you southwards along one of California’s most celebrated road trip highlights – the Pacific Coast Highway and 17 Mile Drive which curves around the coastal communities, rugged beaches, millionaires’ homes and cypress trees of Monterey Peninsula.

Stop in pretty Carmel-by-the-Sea and work up an appetite with a walk or bike ride along the clifftop boardwalks of Point Lobos National Park, looking out for whales, otters and pelicans in the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy a seafood feast before hitting the dramatic road that runs alongside the seascapes of Big Sur and arriving at your cliffside hotel. With a few days here, experience not only Big Sur’s coastal majesty but also head inland to find peace within the soaring redwood forest. Take a gourmet picnic and hike through old oak groves to a remote cove to enjoy the solitude and natural beauty of the surf-crested ocean and wild, empty beach. For a final thrill, ascend in a helicopter to admire Highway 1, the frothing ocean and natural beauty of California before heading to San Francisco for your return flight home.

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur

STAY: Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur

Clasped to the cliffside, Post Ranch Inn is a modernist retreat with a series of architecturally designed standalone timber and glass suites, all of which benefit from mesmerising Big Sur sea views. A place to switch off and relax, Post Ranch Inn has three swimming pools and a spa offering organic treatments. Come evening, head to the dramatic restaurant, which seems to hover over the sea in a glass cube, to sample wholesome farm-to-table fare before gazing at the starry night sky through Post Ranch’s powerful telescope. Wine lovers may like to time their visit to Post Ranch with the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival in November which includes a ‘pinot walkabout’, a sommelier-led dinner and nearby wineries in attendance with their best appellations to try.

SUMMARY

Those who relish time savouring fine food and wine in sunny climes will adore this exclusive trip around some of California’s most lauded vineyards, accoladed restaurants and off-the-tourist-track foodie experiences. Throw in coastal charm, buzzy cities and abundant nature and you’ve got yourself the perfect West Coast discovery.

Sarah Ward Hedges

Personal Travel Designer

01488 689700 Read Sarah’s profile
“Having a private driver is the ultimate luxury for this trip, taking you directly to insider experiences, like having a tête-à-tête with a wine producer in Napa or simply stopping whenever you feel like it for a photo opportunity or to gaze at sensational sea views.”

Have questions? Our knowledgeable team of experts are on-hand to take your call or if you prefer by Zoom. Talk to us about your holiday dreams or challenge us with your travel conundrums.

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