Napa Valley – August 2018

I take a lot of photos, lol.

In my attempt to organize them all for those who want to see them (and avoid flooding Facebook), I’ve compiled them in their own respective posts, complete with mini walk-through.

Prior to my Neurotrauma conference in Toronto, Susan whisked her friend Janet, me, and Nathan away just north of San Francisco toward Sonoma and Napa Valley, the wine Mecca of America. Other than shitty cabernets from Wal-Mart, I didn’t have very much knowledge of wine, but this trip helped clear some of that ignorance up, and by the end I was swirling glasses and pointing out tannins like a pro 😛 . Side note: I also found out cabernets are definitely not my thing!

Here’s a compilation of that trip:

Janet was a BALLER and rented a limo to take us to three different wineries our first day. The journey took about 40 minutes, but there was a fully stocked bar (and Mama Kearns ready to pop champagne like a pro) to keep us company:

The first winery was Chateau Montelena Winery, on which the movie Bottle Shock (2008) is based. Owned briefly by a Chinese family, there were several pagodas and a jade green lake to admire, along with some fun Irish paraphernalia here and there:

The second was Castello di Amorosa, and my personal favorite of the day. The castle was BEAUTIFUL, scenery GORGEOUS, and the tour especially was led by a wine connoisseur who really talked to us and let us try more things than planned!

With all the perfect scenery, I couldn’t bear to leave without a few good shots, much to Nathan’s chagrin. Thanks to Susan for snapping these pics of me and Nathan:

The last winery was Inglenook Winery, owned for a time by the Coppola family. It had a  historical film technology museum to boot, and a car that looked exactly like Doc Hudson 🙂

A nighttime stroll around Sonoma Square rounded out our first romantic evening:

 

The second day, Susan planned an AMAZING Wine Train experience for us, complete with old-time train, a full three-course fancy meal, and three included wine-train stops between Napa and St. Helena.

St. Supery, owned by Chanel,  was my favorite of all three we visited. The tour involved a quick history of their fully ecologically-sustainable estate, and a walk through a few rows of their grapes to touch, pick, and eat grapes as needed! 🙂 Nathan also spent a lot of money to fulfill his dream of his own Panama hat too.

The second was Beringer Winery, one of the oldest in Napa. The wines are stored in caves within and under the estate, which was pretty cool, but it was by far the most commercialized of all the wineries we’d seen so far. However, I got my own hat in their extensive gift shop to complement Nathan’s:

The last winery we visited was Raymond Winery, which was a quick left turn into contemporary and well… weird, at least compared to the sophistication of the rest of the trip. Roy Raymond left the Beringer Winery after it was sold to Nestle to start this place. Not sure how he feels about the eclectic taste of the place now, but it was a fun ending to the overall tour. Not only did the grounds contain a lush vegetable and fruit garden (I picked many cherry tomatoes from the vine), a shrine to their bulldogs, and a sensory experience museum, it’s apparently John Legend’s winery of choice (see the piano tucked away in the background), though his Chardonnay was a little too buttery for me.

The train ride back to Napa was leisurely and relaxing, and Nathan and I got to sit outside with coffee and enjoy the sun beginning to set against the Western mountain range (much greener from the coast compared to the browning mountain range to the East).

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Thanks Napa! You were a wonderful, romantic getaway! 🙂 ❤

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