For wine and countryside!
Whether you’re an aspiring beginner or professional photographer, Napa Valley will have a permanent place in your portfolio. From infinite rows of vineyards to the sunny countryside – you can guarantee that traveling back home will involve looking back on all the memories you captured with the utmost nostalgia.
Napa Valley Aloft Hot Air Balloon Rides
Don’t let a fear of heights stop you from experiencing the spectacular aerial views of Napa Valley. You might be surprised to learn how safe hot air balloon rides are than walking down the street or riding in a car. Napa Valley Aloft hot air balloons are located by the beloved V- Marketplace, and are scheduled at dawn to ascend to the sky – because that’s when the winds are calm, and the temperatures are the coolest. Summertime and the livin’ is easy, indeed. Expect to find perfect angles for taking snapshots of the rising sun peaking from the mountains, patches of vineyard fields, and The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Yes, you read that right! Furthermore, hot air balloon rides last about 3.5 – 4 hours, so expect to be standing most of the time. Dress comfortably! Leave the gorgeous dress and fancy shoes back in the hotel room. You can save them for dinner and dancing later. So, lean back, breathe in the lovely air and clouds, and gush over the stunning sights. It isn’t every day you get to experience life in a hot air balloon.
The Vineyards and Wineries (of course)
Let them drink wine! You can never leave Napa Valley wines and vineyards off the list of places to photograph. Ever. They don’t call it “Wine Country” for nothing! In a blind taste test competition, Napa Valley wine was the preferred over world-renowned French wine. Crazy, right? Therefore, have a glass – maybe, ten or more – during your trip. Start your wine journey early in the day (maybe, after a hot air balloon ride?) so you can fit as much as possible into your itinerary. Clear your schedule for a whole day to explore the vineyards and wineries by foot, bicycle, and even horseback. Indulge in the sceneries decorated with sunshine, the smell of flowers tickling your nose, and the impacting visual of the thousands of grapes harvested that will soon become that buttery sip of Antica Cabernet Sauvignon during dinner. Some famous wineries to stop by are the Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, Peju Province Winery, and the Beaulieu Vineyard. To further suit your fancy, have a spontaneous adventure aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, where you can enjoy gourmet meals, vineyard scenery, and even more wine.
The Culinary Masterpieces of Michelin – Star Restaurants & Lively Eateries
Rise and dine. I know it’s tempting to bite into that delicious, meticulous meal crafted to perfection – but you have to take a picture first. Did you know: Napa Valley houses seven restaurants with Michelin approval? Stop by a Michelen – starred restaurant such as Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, where chefs pour their hearts and souls into dishes, or find comfort in a casual, but family-friendly atmosphere in Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch. You will excitedly discover all kinds of opportunities for future pictures your inner-foodie will delight over. Rest assured, you will expose that mouthwatering angle to give justice to succulent main courses, and sparkling champagne that somehow gives off that texture of liquid gold. Other recommendations for restaurants include La Toque, a restaurant reminiscent of a Spanish Tavern, French-Vietnamese fusion Bui Bistro, and the Boon Fly Café.
Festivals and Special Holiday Events
Due to all the amazing events in Napa Valley, you have to come back next year, and the year after that to live them all over again. Such events include the Festival Napa Valley, which features live classic, jazz, and opera music and exquisite performances, the surreal and spirited Napa County Fair, and the Napa Valley Wine Auction that caters to the desires of every wine lover. However, Napa offers festivals and events all year round. These examples are only the beginning. Seize the moments where laughter, chatter, and hilarious moments go hand-in-hand with the surrounding festivities by catching families, endearing couples, and good friends making life-long memories through your lenses. Besides the decorations and comfortable crowd, you can capture some sincerely wonderful moments through people-watching.
Lake Berryessa and other lovely things in Mother Nature
Nested in Ht. Helena is Lake Berryessa, the largest man-made lake in Napa Valley. Fancy fishing and boat rides? This is your refreshing destination. Take a detox from the hub-bub of night life and never-ending day activities with a relaxing expedition around the lake. From the boat, you can absorb the sights of gargantuan mountains and the incredible array of trees. Every breath you take is as fresh as the last one. Being in a nature is the perfect reset for getting back into gear besides being a place of tranquility. I mean, who doesn’t love rolling hills and greenery?
Historical Buildings & Sites
Historical buildings, such as the Alexandria Hotel and Annex and Napa Valley Opera House barely graze the surface of the historical site checklist. Away from the animated wineries and restaurants – you can take a silent stroll educating yourself on the history Napa has to offer. California’s history is lush as it is, but Napa Valley provides a phenomenal platform of where to start learning about the early winemakers. Also, Victorian architecture dating back centuries ago can be found deep within Napa Valley, where a time gone-by still lives on in the rich energy of the locals today and their efforts to preserve their town. Additional sites include the Castello di Amorosa, an authentic Italian winery established in 1885, and the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park where picnics are encouraged.
Art Galleries and Public Art
Art lovers, rejoice. Napa Valley not only has endless amounts of wine, but they are also a home to many California artists and exhibitions. You are truly transported when wandering into the magical art galleries, location inspirations, and museums. Don’t forget to visit the Jessel Gallery in Napa, where you will awe and find yourself smiling over the watercolor paintings and hand-made crafts. A little off the Cameros Highway is di Rosa, an indoor and outdoor art space featuring the contemporary artwork of Northern California artists. Public art, on the other hand, exist all over Napa in the form of sculptures and architecture. Whenever you step out of a winery, you probably might see a funky piece of work that makes you smile. Art is truly a lovely thing, isn’t it?
And there you have it photographers and travelers: a photographer’s guide to wine country. Make sure to put down the camera, always be in the moment, and have someone take a photograph of you too!