Napa Valley Officially Has Its Own Monopoly Board
A handful of Napa Valley’s iconic wineries have yet a new claim to fame—squares on a Monopoly game board. Yep, that’s right: The official Monopoly Napa Valley Edition hit shelves this week.
Similar to the classic version of the game introduced in 1935, you can still count on that salary as you pass “go.” However, the Northern California wine country rendition replaces its famous Atlantic City squares, from Boardwalk to Park Place, with iconic Napa Valley-inspired alternatives.
Fans will spot wineries the likes of Beringer, Sterling Vineyards, Napa Cellars, Hall Wines and Frank Family Vineyards. Also in the mix? Hotspot hotels, renowned restaurants and wine country landmarks. Prime real estate once held by railroads now sport hot-air balloon rides, bike trails, a high-end car service and more. The dreaded luxury and income tax squares now assess a wine tax, and the often coveted, high-rent Boardwalk spot belongs to Napa Valley’s towering Grape Crusher sculpture.
The classic game’s strategy remains the same: Houses and hotels allow players to increase the value of the properties and charge more rent. “Chance” and “Community Chest” cards are customized to the region. Depending on the luck of the draw, players run the risk of having to go directly to “Jail,” or a chance to go to a party in front of the water fountains at the Alpha Omega Vineyard.
“It was fun growing up. It was probably the most iconic game that I remember,” says Frank Family Vineyards founder Rich Frank. The game was unveiled on the vineyard’s Calistoga, California, property earlier this week.
“Whoever thought when we were doing that as kids that we’d be standing here pulling back a curtain on us being on a board,” Frank said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Said to be the oldest continuously operating winery in California, the Beringer Brothers celebrated their first harvest in 1876. The winery survived Prohibition, producing sacramental wine and medicinal brandy, plus grape bricks—aka concentrated grape juice that home winemakers could easily ferment on the sly.
In addition to being recognized as a State Historic Landmark, the St. Helena winery’s Rhine House (a replica of the house in Mainz, Germany, where Frederick and Jacob Beringer grew up) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
2000 Main Street, St. Helena, 707-257-5771
Guests must ride an aerial tram to visit this winery, making the simple act of getting here an adventure. In operation since the early 1970s, the hilltop winery is currently closed to the public due to damage sustained from the Glass Fire in September 2020. But virtual wine tastings are available now until the winery reopens in spring or summer 2023.
1111 West Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga, 800-726-6136, sterlingvineyards.com
Frank Family Vineyards
Founded 30 years ago, Frank Family Vineyards may seem like the youngster of the group, but the Calistoga estate includes the historic Larkmead Winery. First constructed in 1884, the stone building originally housed the third winery to ever produce in Napa, earning it a place on the National Register of Historical Places. (The current Larkmead Winery is across the street.)
1091 Larkmead Lane Calistoga, 707-942-0859, frankfamilyvineyards.com
Known for its abundance of Michelin-starred restaurants—plan well in advance if The French Laundry is on your wish list—Yountville is where Napa Valley’s first grapevines took root. It’s best explored on foot—all the better to pop into the area’s dozen-plus tasting rooms.
Located at the northern end of Napa Valley, this laidback spot is famous for its geothermal hot springs and therapeutic mud baths. And plenty of wine, too! Calistoga’s walkable downtown boasts an eclectic blend of tasting rooms, shops and restaurants.
The Model Bakery
Everything is made from scratch at this local favorite, but it’s the English muffins that skyrocketed the local favorite to national fame. Featured on Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list four times, the Model Bakery boasts multiple locations, but the downtown St. Helena address (with brick ovens built in the 1920s) is the original.
1357 Main Street, St. Helena, 707-963-8192, themodelbakery.com
Oxbow Public Market
Steps off the river in downtown Napa, this bustling marketplace is home to everything from handmade sourdough bagels and house-made pickles to gourmet Argentinian empanadas and sustainably-grown oysters.
610 & 644 First Street, Napa, 707-226-6529, oxbowpublicmarket.com
An 18-page wine list, more than 40 American whiskeys available by the glass and mouth-watering barbecue. We highly recommend the Beer Can Chicken.
975 First Street, Napa, 707-226-3976, bountyhunterwinebar.com