Wednesday, September 18, 2013

San Francisco Part Three - Napa Valley Continued

Day Two in the Napa Valley was a big and long one.
It started at 10am when our driver(that we hired for the day)picked us up from our hotel.

When Kathleen and I were planning our trip I knew we needed to go to Sterling Vineyards.
I went there my very first visit to the Valley back in 1999 and was overwhelmed at the awesome views.

Sterling is located in Calistoga and sits on top of a mountain.
When you arrive you buy a ticket for the gondola(which also includes a tasting), and you're on your way.
 Great views from up there of the vineyards and the Napa Valley countryside.
 It's only a 3-minute ride to the top and when you get up there the tasting is spread out throughout the grounds.
Such a nice touch versus standing at yet another tasting bar.
(which brad and dean were neither a fan of)
 So, you take your taste and check out the grounds which are awesome.
This is the view from the lower portion of the winery estate.
 Then you make your way a level up and there is yet another tasting.
 There you can check out the view and take a few pictures like we did because's awesome.
 I think this might be one of my favorite pictures from our entire trip.
 Then you make your way up to their rooftop terrace which is the highlight.
There was another tasting there and views to boot!
 Another of my favorites I plan on framing!
 After snapping dozens of pictures and finishing our tastes we decided to order a cheese tray and get single glasses of wine.
No worries, by this time it was 11:45am.
 The view, atmosphere and company were too much not to take more time and enjoy.
 When getting back into the car with our driver to head to our next stop everyone agreed that it was the VERY BEST winery to start our day.
So, remember that if you're planning a trip out there.

Our next winery reservation wasn't for a couple of hours so our driver suggested a smaller vineyard that happens to be one of her favorites.
Lava Vine.
This place is smaller but VERY popular.
 Their wine club has a huge waiting list and the winemakers and employees are known for being fun, laid back and entertaining.
 Their wine was AWESOME!
 Sadly it can't be bought in stores.
I bought a bottle of the grenache for our Thanksgiving meal.
 We all agreed this was our favorite winery of the entire trip.
 Partly that was because they played music for us!
 Bluegrass music at that!
Couldn't ask for more!
This place was far from stuffy.
 Our tasting was rounded out with their superb olive oil.
They let us sample it over dark chocolate with a little bit of salt.
It was to die for!
 We were having so much that we had our driver go to a nearby market and pick up sandwiches and we decided to picnic on the grounds.
 Then our driver Deb joined us for a photo!
What was even funnier while at Lava Vine is that they had a chicken that kept jumping up and eating grapes.
I should have videotaped it!
As you can imagine, by this point we all had a good buzz going but had one more stop to make.
The Franks Family Vineyard.
This place is very well known because the owner was a big-wig at Disney and produced shows like MASH.
Their grounds were very pretty.
 And, their wines were/are delish.
 It was also very fun to see all the famous people who have visited.
 Oprah is big buds with the owners.
 The guys opted out of a tasting and went straight for a bottle.
Kathleen and I decided to still do a tasting.
 All in all, we really liked Franks Family but I'm not sure that I was so overwhelmed that I would go back.
Saying that.. I would buy their wine.
After that our day of wineries was over and that's really were my pictures end.
Unfortunately, we didn't get one.single.picture of us all dressed up for our big dinner at Auberge du Soleil.
Probably a little too much wine early in the day.
You think?
Hope you're not getting bored because I have at least one or maybe two more posts including a night at the St. Francis Yacht Club, the Cal vs. Ohio State and more!

8 comments: said...

I agree...I loved all of our wineries but the only one I would go back to from this day of the trip is Lava...though I would buy Franks and some of Sterlings. I'm really glad we did Franks and especially Sterling and I would def recommend those wineries to others...just don't need to go back since there are 700 wineries in the region! haha

MCW said...

I wanna go!!! So fun. Love that Deb got in a picture.

Annie said...

The second picture of you and Brad (the vertical one) is SO good. You need to frame that one!

Ashley said...

I want to do a winery trip!! I am really enjoying your recaps!

starnes family said...

I love your travel posts. You're so thorough and you'll be glad for it in years to come!

Love Sterling! Such a special place for us.

eas said...

Such great pictures of all of you. Can you please do a post on how you make your hair looks so perfect, like you had it blown out. What sort of brush do you use?

donna said...

what a fabulous vacay! No, we are not getting bored!!! Keep em' pictures coming

Sara said...

Nevermind on my last question about the driver! :) I should've just kept reading.

Soooo fun!!! You got lots of great framers of you and Brad.