Don't let sticker-shock scare you from touring one of the world's foremost wine countries. Try these five money-saving tips.
Splurging for a memorable meal, plush accommodations, or a few reserve wine tastings is part of the fun of a wine lover's romp through Napa Valley. However, if you alternate your well-chosen splurges with these cost-cutting strategies, you actually might have enough money left over to bring home some bottles of wine:
1. Pack a picnic: The dry, mild climate that makes Napa Valley such a great place for grapes to grow also makes it a paradise for picnickers. Many wineries welcome visitors with picnic tables overlooking scenic vistas. Find a list of wineries offering picnic areas at www.napavintners.com.
Finding the goodies for your picnic can be a pleasurable treasure hunt; most every wine country town has quaint food shops and serious gourmet delis.
2. Splurge at lunch: So you have your heart set on a world-famous culinary destination-a Napa outpost of your favorite celebrity chef or someone whose cookbook you've used and admired for years. If you're on a budget, book lunch instead of dinner, when you can usually savor the great flavors and savoir fare of the kitchen at scaled-back prices.