EXPERIENCING NICE THINGS, SIDE BY SIDE: One of the loveliest parts about love, or so say love stories, is the staring into the eyes of your paramour, as she or he stares into yours, and murmuring "I love you" over and over (or the lovey-dovey words of your choice). But sociologists and experts and parents and friends would all say that while staring into a sweetheart's bottomless eye pools -- or however they're so romantically described, typically -- is wonderful, doing something together, in the world, is the better choice. Then you have a shared experience, to discuss and dissect, later on, when you're back home and doing the whole eye-staring, bottomless-pool-admiring thing. Napa Valley, you might have heard, is rather strong in the category of delightful shared experiences, and a number of destinations will be upping that strength for lovers, and those who simply love being out on a beautiful Saturday, come Feb. 14. Take a glance at your favorite winery to see what they have going, or make for...
GRGICH HILLS: The Rutherford-based estate is hosting a Wine & Chocolate Festival for Valentine's Weekend. If you think that fine, handcrafted hunks of cocoa-licious goodness will be paired with some silky vinos, you'd be correct. The tasting lasts about 45 minutes and is fifty dollars a person. And, please, chocolate and wine. This is sort of what you'd be eating over the weekend at some point, so why not have a guided experience? Valentine's Day just stepped up.
NAPA VALLEY WINE TRAIN: A trio of trains are running in honor of the Day o' Hearts, including one on Valentine's Eve, in case your Feb. 14 is plum full of plans. Delights like "old world charm" and "a glass of sparkling wine" await, and there are winery tours you can add onto your ride. When the soft-eyed daydream of Valentine's Day is made into a movie, this vintage rail-runner will have to make a quaint cameo, for sure.
PINE RIDGE VINEYARDS: The Sweethearts Ball gets gussied up on Friday, Feb. 13, and the setting shall match the occasion: You'll be dining in the Cabernet Caves of the Silverado Trail winemaker. Reservations are a must, and we weren't joshing about the gussy-up part; while Napa Valley observes casual chic most days, a certain February holiday calls for a little finery and fashion. Have evening gloves? A bow tie? Good and good.