Napa bargains uncorked

Taste your way through premium wine country on a bread-and-water budget
Lisa Taggart

Napa is the valley of indulgence. Here, north of San Francisco in the land of grapevines and mansions, is where you'll find the country's finest wines and fanciest meals.
It's so lovely here ― and so predictably posh ― you could easily drop a paycheck or two on a single luxurious weekend of soaking it in. But my friend Kate and I recently took on a challenge: we wanted a three-day trip savoring the valley's riches, but we wanted to do it for less than $400.

Tricky? Yes. But after three days we departed, sated and just under budget. Our strategies: We went midweek during the winter, when savings on lodging were substantial. We indulged in one fine lunch, but had simpler fare for dinner. And we sought out wineries offering free tastings.