Christina Najjar’s Napa Valley
The author and influencer Christina Najjar — known to her more than two million social media followers as Tinx — spent eight formative years in the Bay Area of Northern California, attending Stanford University, where she majored in English, and working in San Francisco for the Gap, Poshmark and other companies. During her time in the region, she frequently decamped to wine country seeking revelry and respite.
“I’m a super fan of Napa,” she said during a recent telephone interview. Ms. Najjar, who lives in Los Angeles, was fresh from BottleRock, an annual music festival held at the Napa Valley Expo. “I have my old favorites, but I’m always looking for the next big thing. Right now, for me, that’s Realm Cellars, this top-notch cabernet producer that’s renovating its tasting rooms and reopening this fall.” She’s also excited about NOMA, a cafe, market and gathering place opening next month in downtown St. Helena. “It’s Napa’s version of Erewhon,” she said, referencing the high-end organic supermarket, “and you know we love Erewhon.”
For Ms. Najjar, the well-heeled haunts of Napa Valley exude “rich mom” energy — Ms. Najjar, 32, is internet famous for satirizing wealthy mothers in various parts of the world; her Rich Mom sweatshirts routinely sell out. But you need not empty your bank account to make the most of a romp down the Silverado Trail, the 29-mile route that runs along the eastern edge of the valley. “You can keep it casual, bike around, or pile into a party bus with a bunch of your friends and split the cost,” she said. “You do want to think about transportation if you’re going to have more than a few glasses.”
Ms. Najjar’s first book, “The Shift,” a guide to dating and self-empowerment, was published in May and made its debut at No. 3 on The New York Times’s best-seller list. (“BottleRock was my way to celebrate,” she said.) Here are five of her favorite places to visit in Napa.
The tasting room of this highly rated cabernet sauvignon producer occupies a Victorian home built in 1878 — locals call it Faust Haus — and every room features a singular style of art and décor. “It’s one of the coolest places to taste in wine country, period,” said Ms. Najjar. “The setting is enough of a reason to go, but on top of that, there’s their cab,” which comes from Coombsville, an area of Napa Valley known to produce cabernet sauvignon with rich fruit flavor and refreshing acidity. “It’s the best,” she said.
2. Carneros Resort and Spa
“This place looks like a Nancy Meyers dream come to life,” said Ms. Najjar. Indeed, the Carneros Resort and Spa fits right in with the aesthetic pioneered by the film director and “quiet luxury” auteur known for films like “Something’s Gotta Give.” Surrounded by rolling vineyards, the resort sprawls over 28 acres. The rooms are in stand-alone cottages (some with outdoor bathtubs), and there’s a farm, a spa that makes use of local lavender and sage, and a hilltop swimming pool that’s “ideal for Instagramming,” Ms. Najjar said.
Off Highway 29, in a stone estate in the Oakville district, Cardinale produces and serves some of Napa Valley’s most prized cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc: They only make one version of each varietal per year. “Their wine has serious rich mom vibes,” said Ms. Najjar. Cardinale’s tasting room, lined with picture windows, overlooks Atlas Peak, one of Napa Valley’s pre-eminent viticultural areas; on a nice day, you can enjoy your wine tasting on the patio outside.
Owned by two women, this downtown Napa wine bar kicks into high gear in the evening, when most wineries have shut their doors. “It’s the perfect place to go if you’ve done a couple of tastings around the valley and want to keep the party going,” said Ms. Najjar. In addition to a plethora of wines from around the world, Cadet serves a variety of beer, tea and snacks like potato chips with trout roe, whose crunch and salinity pair well with a glass of Champagne. This summer, Cadet’s owners plan to open Chispa, a tequila bar, across the street.
When hunger (wine-fueled or otherwise) inevitably strikes, few places slay the appetite like Torc, a farm-to-table mainstay of downtown Napa where the chef Sean O’Toole reinterprets American classics with European techniques, said Ms. Najjar. Housemade pastas and a rotating cast of seasonal specialties like tempura squash blossoms dominate the menu, but the move, according to Ms. Najjar, is the grilled cheese topped with unctuous curls of black truffle. “Pair it with a glass of Realm’s the Bard,” a red blend inspired by Shakespeare, “and you’re doing Napa like a pro,” she said.