As host of the Food Network’s “Party Crushing,” Eden Passante specializes in entertaining, and she captures her creative home and party planning ideas on her Instagram page (@sugarandcharm) and lifestyle blog. The expert hostess recently took a solo trip to Napa Valley and Sonoma County to explore wineries, spas, restaurants, and luxury resorts on a four-day adventure. “My family has been visiting Napa and Sonoma for over 15 years,” she wrote on her blog post recapping the trip. “We have family in the area and it’s truly one of our favorite regions to vacation.” Passante ventured to some new places on her most recent trip and she shares highlights below.
Editor’s note: The 2020 Glass Fire destroyed much of the Meadowood property, including the Restaurant at Meadowood. The resort is currently taking reservations for when it reopens, with a new restaurant, in the summer of 2021.
1. This was your first solo trip in a while—what would you say to other travelers thinking about planning a solo vacation?
Do it! It was so rejuvenating and much needed. Anytime you push yourself out of your comfort zone, it usually results in an experience you’ll never forget and this was a trip I will always remember.
2. Which wineries did you visit on your trip and what were some of your favorite experiences?
I got to visit Alpha Omega, Round Pond, 1881 Napa, Freemark Abbey, Benziger, and Paradise Ridge. They were all special for different reasons. I loved my food and wine experience at Round Pond. The lunch was fantastic and views were stunning on the terrace. Benziger is always a favorite for making biodynamic wines and the property is just beautiful! 1881 is a new tasting room and museum in an old farmhouse, which was special to taste in and read about the history of wine. Freemark Abbey was the only winery with an extensive wine library and I got to taste wines dating back to 1999! Alpha Omega reds are so good and sitting on the patio with the fountain was just beautiful!
3. Other than wine tasting, what type of activities did you do on your trip? Any highlights?
The spa at Meadowood was a highlight, my dinner at Press Restaurant was also a highlight. The food was wonderful! Also, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center was incredible and I was so happy I got to visit. I want to return with my kids one day. My son takes his stuffed Snoopy that I bought from the gift shop with him everywhere!
4. What were some of your favorite meals on this trip?
I really loved Press Restaurant in Napa and my lunch at Round Pond! I also took a cooking class at Meadowood that was incredibly fun!
5. Where did you stay and how were the accommodations?
I stayed at Meadowood, which has the best service in the world! The attention to detail and the grounds are spectacular. I also stayed at Vintners Resort [in Santa Rosa], which was beautiful. I had a delicious meal by the fire at the on-site restaurant, John Ash & Co.
6. What ‘musts’ are on your list for your next visit to Wine Country?
I always have a list when I visit this area. I would love to do more hot springs and spa activities, visit even more incredible wineries and some outdoor hikes. It’s truly one of my favorite places in the world!
7. What advice do you have for travelers considering a trip to Napa and Sonoma Wine Country?
Go! You will have the best time. Make a plan and an itinerary for yourself because there is so much to see and do. Take advantage of the gorgeous outdoors and spas too! Wine, food, and spa! It’s perfect.