Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Napa, Day 1

I've been asked to be a guest contributor to this entry. Actually, when this blog originated as family vacation blog entries (if you recall), I was THE primary contributor and editor. So it is with a bit of nostelga that I re-enter this world. Thank you L, for the invite.

Our trip to Napa was the best we've ever had to the area. J and I used to travel to Napa and Sonoma when we lived in Southern California, and they were our highlight get-away trips. Now that we live only two hours from Napa, its hard to believe we haven't visited during that time. So it was a long-overdue trip, and ended up being the best trip there that we've ever had.

Trip out was fun, with the usual Starbucks stops...

... and we have some good family time just getting there...here I am with my "drinking-aged" daughter.

Navigating our way from one winery to the next was fun. Not sure what was wrong here, but by my reaction, it must have been important.

After unpacking our stuff at the Yountville Inn, we went across the street to Domaine Chandon, producer of champagne. We didn't actually end up tasting any wine here, not being big champagne drinkers, but a picture with the sign is always a must.

The first real winery we stopped at was Robert Mondavi. Here we are walking from the "regular" tasting room to the reserve room (gotta love those "Free tasting" passes from the Yountville Inn).

There we are, tasting at the bar.

Here's L, holding a glass with 70 dollar reserve Cabernet. Its nice to be 21 in America.

Can you see the Napa motif in E's hair, created by her creative older sister (the one not tasting the wine)?

Mondavi even had a 500 year old Spanish wine press on display.

The second place we visited was "White Cottage Ranch", a small boutique winery up on Howell Mountain. October in wine country means one thing: crush. We were able to participate in the fermentation process a little bit. Here I am actually getting to punch down cap on a vat of fermenting Cabernet.

We did our tasting our on the back patio, which had a great view of the valley around Howell Mountain.

Then, the assistant winemaker treated us to a tasting of everything they currently offer. This was such a highlight, and we had a blast.

Here's L in the vineyard, getting to sample a grape or two from a cabernet vine.

We headed down the mountain towards our dinner destination, the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. On the way, we stopped at Beringer Estate and took a few pictures. Enjoy!

The girls here are getting ready for a killer dinner at the institute.

Here's Rachel at the Culinary Institute before dinner, checking out "Kitchen stadium" (in the words of our chairman's uncle). This is one of their classrooms, with stadium seating above a cooking area. Really cool...

The final event of the evening was a chocolate tasting in our hotel room. We tasted three chocolates from three different countries: Venezuela, Ecuador and Madagascar. The winner...Ecuador.

That was the end of Day 1. Stay tuned to see what happened on Day 2...


  1. Looks like everyone had a grand time. I'm with Eva and Rach, though, not much to do when everyone is up at the bar. Glad you are home safe & sound; just need to get the other traveler back home and all will be well!!

  2. Looks like great fun!! I can't wait to see day #2!!

    You are hereby invited to a Calaveras tasting. We'll find some way to accommodate the young'uns. We ain't Napa, but we have some mighty fine Cabs.

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