Whilst National Wine Day is celebrated in the US on May 25th, it is the perfect excuse to celebrate all the wonderful wine countries worldwide. Tuscany in Italy and California’s Napa Valley are two world-renowned destinations for exceptional wine tours, stunning vineyard views, and top tier tastings. So how do they differ when sampling the two?
Scenery/Activities Tuscany and Napa
Tuscany and Napa Valley are both strikingly beautiful destinations, with rolling vineyards, impressive wineries, and world-class produce that stands the test of taste.
Tuscany is a sought-after destination for extended holidays, where visitors can explore historic sites, sprawling provinces, and world-class art galleries alongside the wineries. Drive through rolling hills and olive groves, past historic villages, stone castles, and ancient churches, as you explore the vineyards across the region.
Taste your way through Tuscany!
Vineyards in Tuscany are often small and family-run. A visit will usually include a leisurely tour of the vineyard and a rustic introduction to winemaking, followed by an indulgent feast of food and wine pairings.
The most popular tours lead to the famous Chianti Region.
When you’ve had your fill of wine, visit the UNESCO-listed towns of Siena and San Gimignano to see the magnificent Siena Cathedral and the medieval castle of Monteriggioni.
Explore the Uffizi in Florence and marvel at the world’s greatest collection of Italian Renaissance Art in the incredible three-floor gallery. Stop by Pisa for a picture with the Leaning Tower or hit up the hot springs in Bagno Vignoni.
In Tuscany, the winemaking focuses on a 2000-year history of the traditional process, whilst the vineyards in Napa Valley have commercialised winemaking to enhance the visitors’ experience. You can even make your own blends in some of the vineyards!
Board the Napa Valley Wine Train, on a 36-mile round-trip from Napa to St. Helena, stopping at celebrated wineries along the way.
Enjoy wine tastings, gorgeous vistas, and the luxurious interiors of this vintage train.
What’s more you can enjoy the tastings without a designated driver!
Napa Valley has great grapes!
Unlike the laid-back layout and feasting style of Tuscan wine tours, the Napa Valley tours are curated to educate and entertain visitors, with tasting and bottle buying as the focus. Enjoy fairy-tale like grounds at Chateau Montelena Winery or breath-taking views and traditional wines at Mayacamas Vineyards & Winery.
Whilst the vineyards are the focal point, there is also plenty else to explore. Visit the Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art and enjoy the impressive collection of contemporary art and sculptures.
Hike to Coyote Peak for panoramic views over the valley or book a sunrise hot-air balloon ride from the Domaine Chandon Winery. Finish your trip in Calistoga and relax and rejuvenate at the Calistoga Spa and Hot Springs.
Tuscany is bucolic and quaint with authentic experiences and traditional practices. Napa is impressive and expansive, and accessible to every kind of connoisseur. They come out equal in this round with 9/10.
Food and Restaurant Tuscany and Napa
With good wine comes great food, and both Tuscany and Napa Valley have plenty of perfect pairings on offer. From small bites paired with wine tastings to restaurants with vineyard views and indulgent menus, a trip to both destinations is a feast of flavours.
In Tuscany, most wine tours offer lunches of local Tuscan dishes paired with the wines, but the region also has plenty of restaurants and eateries to discover. In Florence, enjoy dinner at La Giostra where Tuscan trattoria cuisine is given a gourmet twist, and funky ambience makes for an excellent evening.
Wine and dine!
For something special, Enoteca Pinchiorri is a three Michelin-Starred restaurant in Florence, serving exquisite Italian dishes paired with tasty Tuscan wines.
In Napa Valley, The French Laundry is a renowned three-Michelin starred restaurant serving an exquisite set menu of French dishes served in a magical stone farmhouse setting. The Matheson is a fantastic venue, with farm-to-table dining, a dedicated sushi kitchen, and a rooftop cocktail lounge and bar. Find moreish dishes and wood-fired pizzas at North Block Restaurant or try the plant-based menu at Little Saint.
Both destinations have incredible dining options. Whilst Tuscany focuses on local produce and exquisite Italian cooking, Napa Valley has a fabulous selection of international cuisines. Napa Valley wins this round with 9.5/10 and Tuscany just behind with 9/10.
Book your trip to Tuscany or Napa Valley with JourneyHero!
Nightlife Tuscany and Napa
The long summer evenings in Napa Valley and Tuscany are best spent with a bottle of Tuscan wine or your own Napa blend as you watch the sunset on your day’s adventures. If a hearty dinner is enough to refuel your energy, both Tuscany and Napa Valley have plenty of after sunset entertainment to enjoy.
In Napa Valley, the surrounding towns of Calistoga and Napa are your best bet for after-hours fun. Enjoy an evening of live music, DJs, and dancing in the town of Napa at Blue Note Napa or JAM Cellars Ballroom. Sip cocktails at Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar and enjoy beautiful views of the Napa skyline or taste crafted tipples at Goose and Gander.
Enjoy creative cocktails and swanky vibes at Moyo or fabulous views and late-night parties at Flo.
If dancing is more your style head to Tenax for some techno or YAB for glitzy club glamour.
Tuscan sunsets are magical!
Though both destinations have enough options to keep the after-hours adventurers entertained, their true attractions are in the breezy and beautiful lifestyle of the day. Tuscany has a few more options than Napa Valley, so Tuscany wins this round with 8/10 and Napa Valley 7.5/10.
From boutique boltholes to vineyard villas and luxury hotels, both Tuscany and Napa Valley have options for every kind of visitor.
In Tuscany, spend your time exploring the quaint hotels, farmhouses, and B&Bs of the Tuscan countryside. Stay in the heart of a Tuscan wine estate at Viticcio, a traditional styled Tuscan farmhouse, offering scenic views and cosy accommodation. Le Piazze Boutique Hotel is a gorgeous and tranquil accommodation in the Chianti Vineyards. If you’d prefer to stay in Florence, book your stay at St Regis Florence for grand rooms and the onsite Michelin-starred restaurant.
Enjoy flying wines in Napa Valley!
Auberge de Soleil offers bucolic hillside views, an exclusive spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Bardessono offers elegant and luxurious accommodation just steps from the vineyards in Yountville.
Napa Valley’s hotels are stunning though slightly higher priced, whilst Tuscany’s accommodations range from quaint villas and farmhouses to beautiful luxury hotels. They come out equal in this round with 9/10.
So how do these two fine wines compare? In terms of numbers, they score equally with a final score of 8.8/10 for both destinations. It is an unsurprising result, as these are two renowned and beautiful destinations that sit high on every wine lover’s list. Go to both for a taste of the best.