Sterling Vineyards with Kids
Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga, Napa Valley is one of the most family-friendly vineyards we've visited around the world.
The main building is a white stucco structure perched on a hill, inspired by Greek monasteries on the island of Mykonos. It's highly accessible for strollers and wheel chairs, and has stunning views over Napa Valley. Walking through the building is like stepping into a giant wine-making story book, you learn fascinating facts about viticulture and you get to sip wine along the visit!
You get a taste of California, the look of the Mediterranean, and kids get a fantastic ride on the aerial gondola over-looking the valley. Now let's take a tour together!
The entrance of Sterling Vineyards is set between olive trees and white roses, and the main driveway is lined with rows of trees, what a welcome in style!
Before stepping into the aerial tram, you're invited to write down your bucket list on the chalk board strategically set right in front of the tram entrance. I find that it's a clever way to psychologically prepare those that are scared of heights.
Once we got in the gondola, the kids' eyes sparkled with joy as we ascended in height and saw the green valley right beneath us. The fountain below was a nice touch as part of the visual experience.
We arrived on the main level, and he asked us if we could take the gondola again, we promised him that we would, but later.
The view in front of us was breath-taking, the white stucco bell tower and the orange canopies stood out in clear contrast against the Californian sky and the green valley beneath.
The adults were greeted by the gentleman at the first tasting station, we were handed two souvenir glasses that we'd keep through the self-guided tasting tour. We were offered a typically Californian Zinfandel to start.
Then we headed down with ease in the elevator, as we traveled with a stroller, we particularly appreciated the thoughtful accessibility features.
Right when we descended down to the lower terrace, the bells above us rang in a deep and rich tone. We then learned that these bells were imported from an old London church and were first cast in the 10th century!
We arrived at the second tasting station, there was also a water fountain where kids could get water while the adults continued sipping glasses of "grape nectar". I enjoyed seeing the exhibit of different wine bottle sizes, did you know they all had particular names?
Then we headed inside the main building and started learning about the wine-making process in a self-paced and self-guided tour through posters and DVDs.
And just when you thought that the view couldn't get any better, we walked out onto the main terrace, and were greeted with a panoramic view of Napa Valley.
We also saw Castello di Amorosa in a distance, it is another family-friendly winery featuring a 13th century Tuscan castle. We look forward to visiting it on a next trip to the Napa Valley with our kids.
We then tried some robust 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and some fruity Malvasia Bianca while admiring the bird-of-prey that flew above us.
We then headed to the upper level, once again, we moved between the different levels without hassle because of the well-thought out accessibility plans.
Once we arrived at the upper level, we walked through the wine store and out to yet another terrace for the final tasting at the table.
You could order a cheese and charcuterie plate to accompany the three wines, and relax on the terrace while soaking in some sun to let your blood alcohol level drop. We had another surprise visit from a Californian native.
In the gifts shop there's a children's section with nice souvenirs of the trip. As gift shops go, this one has one of the best views.
We took the elevator down to the tram station for another gondola ride. It was a great way to conclude our visit, and we kept our promise to the kids.
Back to ground level, we saw a Wine Trolley that looked like a San Francisco cable car. That sure looks like a lot of fun!
We drove past the vineyards, the roses, and the handsome trees, and said goodbye to Sterling Vineyards. Who knew that visiting a winery with kids could be this much fun? Until next time.
And for the Ladies, check back soon on the blog for a wine-country friendly outfit inspiration!