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Wine Tasting, Cheetahs and Jeep Tours – Oh, My!

Wine Tasting, Cheetahs and Jeep Tours – Oh, My!

Napa Valley makes the Perfect Father’s Day for Dads with Adventure Fever!

By Lincoln McElwee

Enough with the ties already! This father’s day, give dad a gift he’ll remember for a lifetime. Wine him and dine him in a truly unique way with a trip out to Northern California wine country for a bit of wildlife, wine tasting and hot air ballooning!

As one of your first stops should be in the city of Napa, be sure to visit the Andretti Winery, co-founded by none other than the greatest race car driver of all time, Mario Andretti! The winery is actually styled as an Italian village, similar to where Mario Andretti himself grew up as a child, and complete with a stone-tiled piazza, stunning fountain and handsome cypress trees. Inside the winery, visitors can taste world class Italian wines while perusing memorabilia from Mario Andretti’s legendary racing career! 


If dad wants to feel like he’s truly on top of the world for his special day, one way to make it so is by booking a hot air balloon ride. This way, dad can fly over Napa Valley at dawn and, as the tours generally last for an hour, be grounded in time for a field-side champagne breakfast. Though there are several companies in the valley, one of the oldest is Napa Valley Balloons, with its rates per person starting at around $240. As summer is a busy time in Napa Valley, it is recommended that reservations be made several weeks in advance: 


Cycling and wine can go hand-in-hand with bike rentals and tours from Napa Valley Bike Tours. A full-day bike rental starts at $30, while guided tours, which include a picnic lunch and pick-up and delivery of purchased wines, start at around $115:


Along the St. Helena Highway in Rutherford, you’ll find Long Meadow Ranch. Two of the wonderful details about this ranch, which is also a working winery, are the tours and picnics. On Saturday mornings at 10:30AM, the ranch offers an estate tour in a vintage Swiss Army Pinzgauer. The tour also includes an olive oil and wine tasting for $35. For a real treat, treat dad to one of the ranch’s private estate picnics, which can consist of either a guided hike or a back-roads jeep tour. The picnic comes with a lunch of grass-feed beef, ranch-raised produce, and of course Long Meadow Ranch wines ($150): 


If you are fortunate enough to plan a visit up to Spring Mountain, one of Napa Valley’s 11 sub-appellations, there is one winery in particular that will have dad’s name written all over it! Charbay Winery and Distillery, another appointment-only winery, has a reputation of being one of the finest producers of boutique spirits in the country. One father’s day gift that any dad who enjoys whiskey will surely enjoy is the distillery’s limited released whiskey, which costs $325, and is a cult favorite! The distillery’s vodka has even been ranked as the best in the world for several years running by Spirit Journal. Charbay Winery also has the highest tasting room in the county, at 2,300 feet above sea level. There is also a midweek al fresco port and cigar pairing, which is sure to raise dad’s spirits: 


To cater to fathers that are avid golfers, or even recreational fans of the sport, there are a number of golf courses in Napa Valley to enjoy a round of golf. There are the Eagle Vines and Chardonnay Golf Clubs in American Canyon, the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, the Vintner’s Golf Club and Lakeside Grill in Yountville, and the Mount St. Helena Golf Course in St. Helena, to name just a few. Packaging prices vary, so the best bet would be to plan dad’s golfing around the city you plan to spend the most time in, then phone ahead or contact your hotel’s concierge for details.


There is also the wholly unique experience of the Safari West Wildlife Preserve and African Tent Camp in Santa Rosa, CA. Safari West is a functioning African safari in the very heart of wine country! Guests can book day tours or even choose to spend the night camping in the preserve. Also, Safari West is currently promoting their Father’s Day on the Serengeti. The promotion is for an unforgettable sight-seeing tour through the wildlife preserve to see cheetah, lemurs, rhinos, giraffes, and much more. Lunch is included in the cost of the tour, which is $70 for adults. You can also choose a morning or afternoon package. The BBQ lunch – Father’s Day Beer Brunch – can also be ordered separately. To book dad’s adventure, call: 1-800-616-2695.


Lastly, for an eclectic dinner, take dad to the Bounty Hunter Wine Bar and Smokin BBQ in Napa. The ambience of the place alone is worth the trip. The bar rail is an 1887 railroad track from Sheffield, England, and the ceiling is actually hand-stamped Mexican tin. An old riding saddle also works as a barstool at the end of one of the tables. The premium meats are cooked out back on the Southern Pride Smoker, and include beer-can chicken and Kobe beef burgers. On weekends, such as this Father’s Day, BBQ is served until midnight:



  • Cynthia

    Very informative! Thanks