Short drive (81 miles) to Napa Valley. Sure do hate Sacramento traffic but we made it without any problems.
Arrived at Napa Expo RV Park (another fairground) and was impressed with the campground. Small campground with paved roads and good size sites with paved pad – good Wi-Fi and no trees.
Visited the VC and gathered information and even got half price off 3 winery tastings – glad for that after I saw what one tasting was – $30 per person.
Walked around downtown and was impressed with the area with outside art and the stores. Lots of art structures along the way.
Napa Valley was designated as an American Viticulture Area or AVA in 1981 – first in California.
Headed out of town to the Andretti Vineyard – yes Mario Andretti started the vineyard about 20 years ago – great server with all kinds of stories.
Headed back to town and stopped at the Oxbow Market – so unique with all kinds of stores and restaurants. Did stop at the Fieldworks Brewing Company. Met a guy who was considering going fulltime as he just got a job that he could do on the road – shared stories.
Tuesday another day of sunshine.
Took the dogs and headed north to explore the Napa Valley.
First stop was the town of Yountville. We walked around town and did stop at Priest Ranch Winery and had a glass of wine on the patio.
Then headed to St. Helena. Before getting there we found Whitehall Lane Winery. Found out that wineries outside the city limits are not allowed to sell wine by the glass – how boring – a tasting was $25 and we shared one.
Then made it to St. Helena and walked around town and found Nelson Hills Winery and had a glass of wine.
Continued north to Calistoga and walked around town. Didn’t need to experience another winery at this point.
Headed home on another highway – more winding roads but less traffic.
We were both impressed by the acres and acres of vineyards that have been planted in this area – no ground is left unplanted it seems – vineyards wherever you look.
The houses on the wineries are huge – at least the main house – impressive.
Got back to town and stopped at the Tannery Bend Beerworks – the newest brewery in town – good beer!
Wednesday again no rain – still cool weather but enjoyable.
They even provide a list of “Pet friendly” wineries.
We headed to Sonoma Valley for the day.
First stop was Gundlach Bundschu (Gun Lock Bun Shoe), the winery where my son Josh proposed to Leah – they are happily married in the Bahamas and they provided Gunbun wine at their wedding.
Then we walked around the town of Sonoma – surprised that it was a mission outlook station in the early years – had a fort and mission church. Nice town with lots of shops and restaurants and wine tasting stations.
Did stop at Roche Winery and Vineyard tasting station and had a glass of Syrah.
Then headed north and went as far as Kenwood (about 10 miles). Again lots of vineyards and wineries along the way.
We did see some of the houses that were destroyed in the fires in October. What a sad sight.
On the way back we stopped at the Sonoma Springs Brewery.
Watched Bottleshock in preparation for tomorrow’s winery visits – in 1976 the American wines beat the French wines in a hidden tasting test.
Thursday sunshine – oh what a delight.
Headed out to Chateau Montelena (started in 1882) – great wine and great host – learned the true story about the 1976 Judgement of Paris – interesting how Hollywood embellishes the story.
Notice the signatures on the barrel end.
Then over to Stag’s Leap Winery (first commercial Cab 1973 – which won the best red in the Paris Judgement) – again the wine was great and the host treated us to overabundance of samples – the tasting was $45 for one tasting of 5 wines.
Smoked a Bacon-wrapped Meatloaf tonight.
This trip was only a touch of what you could do in the area; Wine Train, more downtown, more wineries – will have to return.
What we did learn!
Not sure what the exact number but I read and believe there are over 400 wine labels in Napa Valley alone.
Friday is off to San Francisco, California.