Napa and Sonoma are so much greater than the grape. These Northern California valleys are among the most beautiful places in America. Join friends and three distinguished members of the Caltech community, David Baltimore, Alice Huang, and Tom Mannion, on a journey of exploration into the science of food and wine in this stunning region. From an oyster farm in Tomales Bay to the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis to the lively streets of Yountville and Healdsburg, you’ll explore the centers of local life. You’ll visit the historic Sonoma Mission, chat with a cheesemaker extraordinaire, and learn food and wine pairing from skilled chefs at the Culinary Institute of America. And, of course, you’ll taste a parade of wonderful wines from award-winning vineyards. Yet, if a single grape was never grown in Napa or Sonoma, we’d still be happy to idle away a long weekend here, strolling an olive orchard or lingering over dinner to watch the hills turn gold at sunset. California living has never been better!
A Message From Caltech Associates
David Baltimore

User-added image
David Baltimore served as President of Caltech for nine years, then was appointed President Emeritus and the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology in 2006. Awarded the Nobel Prize at the age of 37 for research in virology, Baltimore has profoundly influenced national science policy on such issues as recombinant DNA research and the AIDS epidemic. He is an accomplished researcher, educator, administrator and public advocate for science and engineering and is considered one of the world’s most influential biologists. Baltimore received his BA from Swarthmore College and his PhD from Rockefeller University.

Alice Huang

User-added image
Alice Huang is a distinguished virologist and proponent for women in science. She joined Caltech in 1997 and is a Senior Faculty Associate in Biology. Prior to Caltech, Huang was Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and subsequently Dean for Science at New York University. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Keystone Center, Health Effects Institute, Keck Graduate Institute, University of Massachusetts, Johns Hopkins University, the Rockefeller Foundation, Waksman Foundation for Microbiology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in which she served as President from 2010-11. She is also a fellow of American Women in Science, the Academy of Microbiology, and the AAAS. Additionally, Huang holds a private pilot certificate.

Tom Mannion

User-added image
Tom Mannion joined Caltech in 1993. He organizes student events, pranks, clubs, leadership development, and other areas of student life. In 2003, Mannion started the class PA-16 Cooking Basics, which is often referred to as the most popular elective class on campus. Mannion received his BA and MA in International Relations at George Washington University. He earned certificates from the Culinary Institute of America in Wine, Wine and Food Pairing, Mediterranean Cuisine, to name a few. His work has been featured on CNN and local networks, as well as in Newsweek, Reuters, and newspapers across the country. During an interview with Pat Morrison of NPR, Stephen Hawking, who was a cooking class regular, rated Mannion’s food two Michelin stars!
Napa & Sonoma
November 8-12, 2017
5 Days / 4 Nights
Starting Point: San Francisco airport - 8:00 am Sacramento airport - 10:00 am

Ending Point: San Francisco airport - 11:00 am Santa Rosa airport - 1:00 pm

Picture Yourself...
  • Savoring private winery tours and tastings
  • Learning the science behind food and wine pairings at the Culinary Institute of America
  • Touring an oyster farm on Tomales Bay
  • Exploring the classic towns of Yountville, Healdsburg and Sonoma
Itinerary at a glance
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

We meet at Sacramento and San Francisco airports before we rendezvous as a group at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis, where we will learn about innovations in wine and food sciences research. Enjoy tastings from the Honey Pollination Center and the Olive Center before a tour of the LEED Platinum facilities that are the most environmentally advanced in the world for making wine, beer, and processed foods. Blind wine expert Dr. Hoby Wedler will lead a tasting in the dark, which will engage all your senses and illuminate how sight can frame judgements about wine before we even taste it.

Later in the afternoon, we check into the Vintage Inn. Just a few minutes’ walk is one of our favorite Yountville restaurants where we'll enjoy a festive welcome dinner.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

This morning we travel up the road to the world renowned Culinary Institute of America. Here we'll join our instructor for an in-depth master class on wine and food pairing. The cuisine draws from local produce and fresh flavors inspired by Tuscany, Provence, and California. 

In the afternoon we will visit the elegant, ivy-covered Inglenook Château for a tasting paired with artisanal cheeses. Dating back to the 1800s, Francis Ford Coppola purchased the estate in 1975 and features a movie memorabilia museum.

Caltech alums Chris Flatt (‘04) and Anita Choi (’04) will open their St. Helena home for an evening reception with friends. We will enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres with stunning views from their backyard of the end of the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Friday, November 10, 2017

This morning, a scenic drive takes us west from Napa Valley to Tomales Bay. Here we visit a famous oyster farm and learn about the aquaculture of the bay, including how oysters are grown and harvested. We will enjoy a shucking (and slurping) demonstration alongside a classic Sonoma-style picnic lunch.

Of all of the artisanal food trends, none makes us happier than cheese making. The many ways in which time and techniques can transform milk into cheese of endless varieties is a great lesson in chemistry and tradition. We’ll meet with a local cheesemaker who will talk about the processes that give cheeses their personalities.

Late this afternoon we arrive in Healdsburg. Condé Nast Traveler named Healdsburg a Top 10 Foodie Destination and you get to be the judge. We’ll experience a leisurely progressive food and wine tasting tour—from wine and food pairings at a range of wineries to Sonoma’s most extensive dessert cart—and go with the tasty Sonoma flow.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

This morning we journey south to historic Sonoma, where we will be guided through the Sonoma Mission and square. The last of the 21 Franciscan missions of Alta California, Sonoma was founded in 1821 at the northern end of El Camino Real (The King's Highway). 

Not far down the road lies the Carneros region, the grape-growing area that spans the southern edges of Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The distinct mix of warm days, morning fog, and a long growing season yields distinctive and acclaimed grapes. We'll taste some of the region's finest on a guided tour.

To conclude our journey in wine country, we've reserved a table at one of Healdsburg’s finest restaurants. During this farewell dinner, we’ll toast to our time together and share our best moments.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Following breakfast, we will part company with one vehicle departing to San Francisco airport and another to nearby Santa Rosa airport.
Napa & Sonoma
November 8-12, 2017
5 Days / 4 Nights

Program Dates & Prices
Tour prices are per person and reflect the cost of the land program
November 8-12, 2017$6,498.00$7,896.00
$5,498 (per person based on 30+ travelers)
$5,998 (per person based on 20-29 travelers)
$6,498 (per person based on 12-19 travelers)

Tour pricing is tiered, based on final number of participants.  At the time of guest reservation, guests will be invoiced at the tier price for 12 – 19 participants ($6,498 per person in double occupancy, $7,896 in single occupancy).  At the time of final payment (August 1, 2017), amount due will reflect the corresponding price tier of participants.  If between the time of final payment and the trip taking place additional guests reserve, thus affecting pricing, participants will be issued a refund reflecting the reduction in tour price.

What's Included:
• Memorable accommodations for 4 nights
• All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
• Full-time experienced guide(s) who are with you throughout the trip, handle behind-the-scenes logistics and are there to help with anything from shipping wine home to buying a tube of toothpaste
• Support vehicle(s)
• All activities in the itinerary, including tours and tastings
• Gratuities for hotels, meals and baggage
​• Trip literature
​​​• All land transportation during the trip
Napa & Sonoma
November 8-12, 2017
5 Days / 4 Nights
The northern coastal region of California has a temperate, pleasant climate. Mornings and evenings can be somewhat chilly and misty and there is a chance for rain in November.

Vintage Inn

Just steps away from Yountville’s restaurants and shops, this luxurious inn is nestled in a 23-acre estate. Spacious, gracious rooms have either a private balcony or terrace. There’s a great pool, and lovely gardens scented by lilies and lavender.

Hotel Healdsburg

Set on the western edge of Healdsburg's historic town plaza, with beautifully appointed guest rooms, country gardens, pool, and a luxurious spa, Hotel Healdsburg provides a tranquil setting for guests to relax.

Napa & Sonoma
November 8-12, 2017
5 Days / 4 Nights