Bring Kids to Napa Wine Country — A Bad Idea
It probably seems like a good idea when the kids are finally down and you are at the computer with a nice glass of wine in your hand. Sure, why not plan a little family vacation to Napa Valley, kids and all?
Here’s the truth. It’s not a good idea. In fact, it’s a bad idea.
Let’s be very clear. One goes to Disneyland to immerse the kids in the magic of Disney and ride some rides. One heads to New York for a deep dive into the cosmopolitan/international big city culture. One heads to Gettysburg to be exposed to history. But you go to Napa to drink and eat like adults and enjoy the pretty backdrop. It’s not what kids want and it’s not what Napa is for.
Unless your kids are 21 or older, don’t bring them here. Why? Because you’re coming here to drink. You may think your kids will behave and appreciate a well-appointed tasting room. You may think a quick stop at the boring old Grist Mill will satisfy them. You may think they’ll appreciate a bowl of pasta while you and the spouse chow down on sous vide beets and basil. But they won’t.
There are a number of articles you can find to justify dragging your kids to this part of the world: “Doing Napa with the Kids!” They are all wrong. Why would you want ruin any possible future appreciation of this place for your kids might one day develop by giving them memories of sitting in a chair in the corner of a tasting room while you stand at the bar slurping down shots of Cabernet? Why would you want to spoil a chance to suck down the best shots of Cabernet you’ve ever had by having to peek over your shoulder ever minute to make sure the little ones haven’t run into the cellar or aren’t reaching up to try and grab that beautiful $350 crystal Riedel decanter tottering on the merchandise table?
While a lovely and unique place, Napa Valley is not, I promise you, so special that you must get here even if it means bringing the young kids along. This all sounds harsh. But what I’m doing here really is looking out for the adults. Treat yourself right. Drop the kids at the aunt’s house for a few days. Get granny to come over and watch them. Then, and only then, head off for Napa. Splurge for a driver. Take two or three days to yourself to drink copious amounts of great wine. Linger at beautiful restaurants, Look down at the valley from atop Spring Mountain. Learn to cook pasta right at the CIA. But do it without the kids.
You’re gonna thank me.
I totally agree with this but I want to emphasize that it really is a NAPA thing. I wouldn’t want people to extrapolate this to other regions of California (Sonoma, Mendocino, Paso, Santa Barbara) where they really are welcoming of families and not at all resentful if you bring your (well-behaved or taken out of the tasting room when NOT well behaved) kids. Napa is getting to the point that it’s almost not appropriate for most normal adults (sorry, but I had to say it!) — it often feels like our very presence is an imposition. But that’s for another blog.
Great work, as usual.
Wine for Normal People
Thanks for commenting.
I’m going to disagree with you. My take is hat Napa is extremely accommodating to adults of all sorts. I think what you might b referring to or being influenced by is the price of Napa wines. Yes, they are high priced hight, but that is a function of supply and demand.