Monday, October 20, 2014

Meet Me In...Napa!

This was the last of 3 meet-up trips with friends, my birthday weekend, and our 3rd annual girls Napa trip.  And what a great trip it was!  We have been so lucky to have absolutely perfect weather every year we've been to Napa.  This year we stayed at the house in Sonoma where we stayed the first year.  Such a cute little house...we love it!


Our first afternoon after meeting up in San Francisco, we made a stop at Cline Cellars and this fine gentleman was our greeter:

Handsome greeter at Cline
Our second stop was...say it with me...Gundlach Bundschu (gun-lock-bun-shoe).  They had some of their freshly picked grapes out for a snack.

Our last stop of day one was at the appointment-only, Scribe.  The wine was good, the scenery was beautiful, but the service was just meh.  We ended the evening in the hot tub after enjoying some local pizza we picked up in Sonoma Square.

View from Scribe winery
Day 2 began with a liquid breakfast at Rombauer.  This winery was so beautiful!  And they did a first for all of us...served the white wine AFTER the red wines...which really worked for their big chardonnay. 

Of course, Jack the Squirrel joined us on the trip; but he was accompanied by Danielle-Barbie!  The real Danielle had to miss our 3rd year Napa trip (don't feel too sorry for her...she went to Germany!) so we represented her as a blonde everywhere we went (now, that's the reason you might want to feel sorry for her!).
Danielle-Barbie and Jack the Squirrel at Rombauer
Our second stop of the day was at Failla...(pronounced Fay-la) just across the Silverado Trail from Rombauer.  Failla provided a seated tasting with us and 2 other couples in their cute little cottage house. It was a pleasure listening to Jeff describe the wines to us.  ;0)

Failla Winery

After two great tastings, Wes drove us to Goose and Gander for a great little lunch break.  We sat outside and enjoyed the wonderful California weather, a charcuterie board, and a bottle of vino.  Perfection.

Lisa doing her best 'Vanna' for Goose and Gander
After lunch we walked down the block to Orin Swift's tasting room.  We met some fun, crazy people and drank some great wine and did a toast to our friend, Andy, who loves Orin Swift!

Orin Swift wines have the best labels!
Next, Wes drove us past, and then back to, Charles Krug!  LOL!  We love our Wes!  And we love Candice at Charles Krug.  She had more fun with Jack and Danielle than we did!

Charles Krug's new tasting room

Jack and Danielle getting along and enjoying some wine!

Karen is a member at Krug so we got to go "backstage"

Where Candice had even MORE fun with Danielle and Jack!

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Karen, Brittany, Jack, Danielle-Barbie, Shellie, and Lisa

We made a couple more pit-stops on our way to dinner at the Farm at Carneros Inn.  Wes even found us a vineyard to play in at sunset.

Karen and Brittany at Alpha Omega

Playing in the vineyard

Sunset in Napa
On day 3 the fog was slower to burn off in the morning and there was still a slight chill in the air.  We started our day at the lovely Etude winery.  Etude prides themselves on their Carneros Pinot Noir and they didn't disappoint.

Wall of wine at Etude
After Etude we did a really cool candlelit cave tour and barrel tasting at Del Dotto.  Every taste was directly from a barrel, and at the end we all shared a bottle of vino.

Sharing a bottle of Del Dotto with with Danielle-Barbie

Wes knew the back way to the balcony and got a fun photo of us!
After these two tastings we had worked up an appetite!  Wes called in a lunch order for us at Oakville Grocery and we picked that up and took it to Sequoia Grove where we sat outside at a picnic table and enjoyed a birthday bottle of wine compliments of the real Danielle! 


Old wine cellar in the floor of the grocery
Oakville Grocery happens to be the oldest continually operating grocery in California...since 1881!

Karen, Shellie, Lisa, and Brittany

After lunch we stopped by St. Suprey but they were very snooty so we just posed out front and left!  LOL!  We then went to Stags Leap winery at the recommendation of a good friend and had some AMAZING wine!

Posing at St. Suprey

More posing at Stags Leap!

Danielle-Barbie got in on the photo shoot!

Jack the Squirrel was more about the wine

Our fun guy pouring the wine at Stags Leap!
After Stags Leap we made one last stop at Silverado but we were too late for a tasting so we just did more posing...and included Wes this time!

Wes, Karen, Shellie, Brittany, and Lisa

We were too late for wine, but they gave Danielle-Barbie and Jack the Squirrel a capful!

View from the Silverado tasting room
Next we had a real treat.  Wes took us to meet his father and tour his vineyard.  It was a perfect ending to a perfect time in Napa/Sonoma.  Now we know where Wes gets his charm!

John DeBow showing us his vineyard

Stunning Fall colors

John shows Lisa how to cork the bottle



Karen is up next!

Ginger muscle!

The following morning on our way to San Francisco we made a pit-stop at Imagery...which ended up being my favorite stop of the trip! They love to explore new varietals and little known grape regions and they love to support artists...both local and worldwide.

Trees surrounding Imagery Winery

Ah...Fall!  Don't see this much in Phoenix!

Beautiful grounds of Imagery

Another wall of wine!

Jack the Squirrel and one of my favorite labels

Imagery Garden tended by Girl and the Fig

Enjoying our last morning in Sonoma
This was the first time we all spent the day/night in San Francisco before flying home.  While it's not a city in which I ever see myself living, I certainly love to visit...especially when we have the beautiful weather that we enjoyed!

The beautiful Pacific Coast

The iconic Cliff House
 We enjoyed lunch at the world famous Cliff House with a wonderful view!

Shellie, Lisa, and Karen at Cliff House

Another shout-out to Danielle - a boutique in Cow Hollow

Streets of San Francisco

Redwood "forest" at the base of the Transamerica Pyramid

Looking up at the Transamerica Pyramid

Lunch on our last day

Shucking oysters that were DELISH!

So, once again, we had an amazing trip to wine country. I was fortunate enough to celebrate my birthday with my fantabulous girlfriends...and I thank them for a very special day in the midst of a very wonderful trip.  And how lucky am I that at this time next year we will all be together again, for my wedding in Italy??!!  I am blessed. 
"Brittany...look at your foot!"

Karen...were you that hungry?!

"The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it"
~Hubert H. Humphrey

"Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy."
~Benjamin Franklin

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