‘Cabernets and Coloring Books’

Visiting the wine country in Napa Valley, CA used to require you to pay nearly as much as the cost of the trip for a weekend babysitter, or the stress of finding a place to leave the kids. Now, however, many of the wineries are providing family experiences and welcoming children of all ages- even those too young to appreciate the finest part; the wine.

In a New York Times article from May 22 called “At Wineries, the Visitors Can Be Young and Bubbly,” Kermit Pattison says, “With a little planning, the wineries of Napa will serve the under-aged. Some wineries offer coloring books, crayons, and fruit juices to occupy children while their parents sip chardonnays and cabernets. Others have picnic areas, interactive displays, aerial trams or caves that capture young imaginations.

The Napa Valley Wine Train, which operates rail trips with meals in vintage cars, holds a family night, when kids go into one car supervised by a day care worker while their parents enjoy a romantic dinner in another. It’s only a matter of time before a restaurateur puts pinot butter and jelly on the menu.

The Napa Valley is known for cozy bed-and-breakfasts, romantic restaurants, and of course wine. That combination encourages behavior that sooner-or-later produces children…I believed it was time for the wine country to face the consequences of what it had wrought…The Napa Valley has about 300 wineries, and their attitudes toward kids run the gamut. The best rule of thumb is to call ahead.”

Some wineries that welcome kids include: Sterling Vineyards, V. Sattui Winery, Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery , Frog’s Leap Winery, St. Supery Winery, and Napa Valley Wine Train .