Wednesday, October 7, 2009

California: Wine Country

It's been over a month since our last trip to California so I think I better try to wrap things up! Where does the time go???

Soooo...I left my heart in San Francisco and we headed north to wine country. We stayed in Sonoma at a really cute hotel that was walking distance from the city square. The hotel felt like a private residence with cottages tucked away behind gardens. Our room wasn't quite ready for us when we arrived but no worries! Their was a winery we walked to that had tastings. We each had a glass of white wine and then headed to the pool at our hotel to cool us off from the 90! degree heat (which is what we left back in Richmond).

That night we went to The Carneros Inn in Napa for dinner at Farm (pictured below). This place was amazing and if we could have swung the $800+ rooms per night, we would have stayed. But I was happy with drinks in the open air lounge and dinner under the stars. Dinner was our wedding gift from Chris and Alexa. Thanks guys, it was phenomenal! And, we liked this place so much that we stopped for donuts at the Boon Fly Cafe on our way out of town. And, I liked the donuts so much that I ate half a dozen in one sitting!
The next day we had a driver pick us up and we headed an hour north to the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. A friend of ours in the restaurant business had arranged a private tour at one of her vendors wineries, Ridge. It was really cool to see how and where they make the wines as well as get a history of the vineyard. However, they poured us more than the normal tasting so when we left 1 1/2 hours later I was pretty tipsy!

Several people had suggested picking up lunch at the Dry Creek General Store so we headed there next. It looks like your average country store until you walk in and are met by gourmet cheeses, sandwiches, and products. They even have live bait and tackle, if you are so inclined! I was more interested in the grub.
Our driver knew of a winery close by that had great grounds for a picnic so we took our food to go and headed to Lambert Bridge Winery. Which as the names suggest, is located over a one lane bridge. Think Bridges of Madison County. As soon as we crossed the bridge we felt like we had gone back in time. Here is the building where they do the tastings, complete with it's own sleeping Saint Bernard (unfortunately not pictured).

The grounds were beautiful and the perfect place to have a picnic. I'm not smiling because I have food in my braces, not because I'm not having a good time.

I took these pictures at what we dubbed the Mafia Vineyard, because our driver told us they owned casinos in Las Vegas and had ties to the mafia. The wine wasn't that great but the views were spectacular.

Up next, we head down the coast and visit Monterrey and Big Sur. Some of the prettiest views I have ever seen.

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