Friday, November 13, 2009

Wine Tasting in Sonoma and Napa Valley

After treating ourselves to a light breakfast and eight cups of coffee at the Fort Bragg Denny's we got back on Highway 1 towards wine country! Highway 1, a.k.a. Big Sur, offers spectacular views of the Pacific coast. Thankfully, there are many turn-outs for slower traffic so we often pull aside and take our time driving along the windy road and taking in the view.

A view from the Big Sur!
One of many Sonoma Coast turn-offs.
Chris on the beach on Sonoma Coast.
Clammy rock on the shore.
Chris sea shell seeking down by the sea shore. He gave me big one and said "Here, make yourself a big ol' English teacher necklace." :)
Probably not the safest beach for swimming...
Cool kitty cat on the shore.
Don't they look like they're all going to open wide and start singing in harmony? Maybe it's just me...

Weird seaweed that's not found on the Atlantic coast. It grosses me out.

Succulent vegetation covering the sea wall.

We attempted to camp at Point Reyes, but the cheapest camping available was a whopping $42 a night! It's too bad we missed seeing the Tule Elk grazing or the old lighthouse but it's just plain unaffordable to stay there.
A fee to pee? You gotta be kidding me.
How rude!

Since camping was obviously out of out budget at Point Reyes, we found a Walmart a few towns away and slept there for the night. The next morning we drove to Sonoma Valley for a long day of wine tasting. We visited six wineries over the course of the day and we each tried about 40 wines! We had a lot of fun and ended up buying three bottles: One port, one white merlot and one raspberry sparkling.

Cline Winery was probably our favorite winery to visit. It is a French style winery and many of their grape vines are between 90-120 years old. Cline offers a complimentary tasting and the woman pouring for us was quite generous with the pours and also gave us a couple free tastings of their reserve wines. There was a big fountain and a bunch of bird cages behind the winery.
I know why the caged bird sings. Because she lives on a vineyard in Sonoma Valley!
Prettier pigeon than the Chicago breed.
This feller had an 18 inch long tail!
Coo... coo... coo...
The Dod in front of a vineyard in Sonoma Valley.

After Cline, we crossed the street to visit Italian style Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. In addition to the complimentary wine tasting, they had olive oils that were infused with everything from garlic basil to blood orange.
Jacuzzi castle. An Italian family owned vineyard and winery.
Fountain behind Jacuzzi winery.
The pirate atop the fountain decorated assumably in honor of Veteran's Day.
Posing in front of the Jacuzzi vineyards.
We found a chair built for a giant near the Roshambo winery.

On Friday, we decided to hit up a few more wineries in Napa Valley. Napa is typically more expensive than Sonoma, so we did a little research and visited a few that were $0-$5. Folie a Deux and Napa Cellars was our first stop. Comme-ci comme-ca. Next, we stopped by Sutter Home.

We were pleasantly surprised to have such a fun time wine tasting at Sutter Home. 100% of their profits from their White Zinfandel Reserve go towards breast cancer funding. Their three-red varietal wine simply titled "Red" was right up my alley. Also, the woman running the show was delightful!

After Sutter Home, we went to a boutique winery across the street which had two excellent cabernets and port wines. The bottles were $25 and up so we declined purchasing any. We ended at another boutique winery and there was a dozen or so people tasting as well so we tried our five and split unnoticed.

After a couple of hours driving on windy paths we finally found a place to stay for the night. $25 to park in a parking lot for the night. I'm sorry that California is in such a state of economic crisis but please! If the nightly State Park fee remains at a whopping $35, you're going to lose your tourist industry as well.

1 comment:

  1. Hey cool stuff. I miss living out there but it is pretty communistic. I lived in Monterey.

    Partied with Ted and Heather last night. Ted's all ready for opeing day.

    The Big Sur bridge you passed over is really cool. I used to play drums at the pull over. My wifes grandfather helped build it. That's good jade looking area. After a good storm you will find it on the beach or stuck in the rocks. If you ever get back that way let me know and I'll tell you about some places you have to see.

    Have fun and peace.