Our Trip to Wine Country…

Here is a recap of our trip to Wine Country!

A good friend was turning 40 and she is a big wine drinker.  I mean, she loves the stuff (and so do I) as you can see from this wine cork project and this wine bottle one too. So what better place to celebrate a big birthday then California wine country?

I had been to Napa before, twice.  Once when I was 14 years old and couldn’t truly appreciate it.  And once when I was in my early 20’s (but it was only a quick day trip).  Needless to say I was very excited to go again.

4 couples went.  We rented a house in Glen Ellen which was fantastic. The property was amazing.  The house had a pool and hot tub, a beautiful piece of land, bocce ball, corn hole, other games, a well stocked kitchen, was adorably decorated, was in a great location and had a winery right next door. We spent a lot of time at the house when we weren’t out at the wineries.

Day one…

We had a limo pick us up and take us to Napa for a jam packed day of visiting wineries.  Smart move since we knew we’d be drinking wine all day.  We got picked up at 9am.  Our first stop was Domaine Carneros for a champagne tasting.  In Napa it’s okay to have champagne for breakfast. 😉 It was a perfect way to start our day. The property was gorgeous and the tour/tasting was really fun.

Next up was Honig, a smaller vineyard but equally pretty. We did a private tasting there as well.  (Side note, I was at the dentists office recently reading O magazine and saw this winery featured.) Anyway, it was amazing and the wine was great and we got to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather. Coming from Naples where it is 92 degrees everyday and 100% humidity and going to Napa where it was 50’s in the morning then warmed up to 70’s was a welcome change.

After our tasting, we ate a quick lunch, and then we headed to Peju Winery for another private tasting.  What a gorgeous property!  Our tour guide was a little over the top, but the wine was delicious and we did have a lot of laughs.

Then we headed to Rutherford. Again, wow, beautiful property. I swear each place was nicer than that last.  No private tasting there but we did grab a bottle of red and one white and just sat in the beautiful courtyard for a bit.  It was getting late though and we wanted to try to hit one more winery, Sterling, and I am so glad we did.  One of the couples we were with had been before and convinced us we needed to check it out.  So we grabbed our unfinished bottles from Rutherford for the limo ride and headed there. And guess what? Sterling was probably my favorite winery of the day!  You have to take a gondola to the top and once you get up there it’s like….WOW, holy crap this is amazing.  The views are unreal and the wine is tasty too. It is one of my favorites.  It was a great place to end a completely awesome and fun day!

We had the limo from 9-6pm and we used up every second.  I think we got back to the house at 5:58.  That night we cooked dinner at the house and hung out in the hot tub drinking more wine and having tons of laughs.  It was fabulous.

Day 2…

We had a private tasting scheduled at Kunde in Sonoma and it was AMAZING.  We started in a private room, then toured the inside of the mountain (where they store their barrels), then headed up the mountain on a tour bus.  We stopped a few times along the way as our guide (who was amazing!!) explained about the grapes, the winery, the wine, etc. and made our way to the top where there was an outdoor bar area for us to try more wines.  It was chilly and windy up there so they gave us blankets, but oh my goodness the views were breathtaking and the wine was so damn good.

After this tour we found a local place for lunch, then headed back to our house.  Later, we walked next door to the small vineyard called Loxton Cellars.  This place was super small but really cool and it was awesome to be able to walk to it.  We had a quick tasting bought a few bottles and sat outside and drank them.  Then we headed back to the house again to just hang out.

Day 3…

Our last day.  🙁

We started out at Matanzas Creek Winery.  The property here is so gorgeous and is known for it’s fields of lavendar, which weren’t in full bloom but gorgeous nonetheless.  We did a quick tasting here then walked around the property for a while and took lots of pictures.

We then headed to lunch and walked around Sonoma for a little bit.  Then to another tasting scheduled at Chateau St Jean.  Another stunning place.  Wow.  We sat outside for our tasting and then the clouds rolled in and it started pouring and we even saw hail!

After this we went home packed up our stuff and headed to dinner in downtown Glen Ellen.  My husband and I were heading to the airport straight from dinner, taking the red eye out of San Fran while the others all had flights in the morning.  Coming back from California is always a drag. You either fly all day or all night.  Anyway after a delicious dinner at the Glen Ellen Starr we headed to the airport. We weren’t sure how much traffic we’d hit but it was fine and we got there with plenty of time to spare.

Overall, we had THE BEST time and I am so glad we were able to go.  My husband was apprehensive to leave the kids for 4 days, but they did just fine with my mother and we had such a great time!  I want to go back again soon since there is SO MUCH to see.  I would love to make this an annual event!

Have you ever been to this area?  What was your favorite winery?

And PS – all the wineries used these contraptions.  Anyone have one?  They are pricey but amazing.

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