Sunday, September 28, 2014

San Francisco to Napa: Part 3. Wine Day.

Where I left off was our 30 hour Ragnar race....

Our team crossed the finish line Saturday afternoon at 3:30. Which means from Friday at 4am-Saturday 3:30pm, we were either running or in a van. And we were quite delirious tired.

Saturday night we went to dinner at Oenotri in downtown Napa. It was an Italian restaurant that made their pasta to order. I had a delicious rigatoni with a red sauce with fresh basil and walnuts. It was like red sauce meets pesto. At that point - saltine crackers would've tasted like gourmet cuisine this meal was exceptionally incredible!!! #hungry #famished #dehydrated

Happy, hungry, celebratory faces

The beautiful vines ready for harvest!

We were in bed by 8:30 and slept until 7 am! Some of the team had flights to catch in the morning early Sunday morning, but there were 7 of us who stayed in Napa to tour wineries - so we had a busy day ahead of us.

We actually knew a girl through the race that lives in San Francisco, and she offered to be our designated driver for $30/pp. She was amazing and acted as our own personal tour guide, and knew so much about the area. It couldn't have turned out better.

1st stop was Cheateau Montelena . This was by far my favorite vineyard. It was an older vineyard, with an very interesting history. The most intimate of the 3 wineries we saw, and we spent a great deal of time in the tasting room learning about the history.

This was the pond that you were "greeted" with as you approached the tasting room. It was so peaceful.

This was their building where their casks were stored. (All those bins are full of grapes!!!)

More grapes! Don't they look too perfect to be real? We were so blessed to get to experience wine country during harvest season!

I dare you to walk by this room, and not have your mouth start watering! You got the sweetest smell of sugar and grapes. Mmmm...

This was a quick photo I took of the production process. This belt pushed the grapes through a machine that removes the grapes off the vine! So cool! Can you imagine working here?!
Stop #2 was Rambauer Winery in St. Helena. This was a bit of a more "commercial" winery. But they had some incredible views, and a gorgeous rose garden. And their Chardonnay's were divine ( and I don't even like chardonnay). If you are looking for a vineyard with breath-taking views and space to just walk around and enjoy, I recommend this one....


I'm not sure what is behind this little door. But our guess is little wine elves. Kind of like the Keebler elves?

The greenery is just perfect.

After spending 30 hours in a mini van together, it feels natural to get 7 of us cuddled up on a bench like this. ;)

Stop # 3 was lunch! We had reservations at a place called Farmstead in St. Helena, which is a part of Long Meadow Ranch. This restaurant was amazing. It was a farm-to-table with an open kitchen. They also had their own tasting room, but we did not try the wine - as this was our "non-wine stop". I had the "hash" - which was made with braised beef, poached egg, and beets. It was melt-in-your-mouth incredible.

Our 4th and final stop was Domaine Carneros in Napa. This was probably the most impressive-looking tasting room. They specialized in the sparkling wines, so we topped off our celebration with some bubbly!!

I'm not a huge sparkling wine fan, but it was still wonderful. The atmosphere just makes everything perfect.

Before you think "how drunk were you guys by the end of the day?" I'm going to make a clarification. We actually didn't drink that much at all. I'm explaining this, because the next few pictures may have you wondering. Due to the fact that Napa charges $30/tasting, we shared the tastings. Which is actually a really good idea so you don't get too tipsy, and can really just enjoy the tastes of the wine. (Totally recommend it, actually! Especially if you're a light-weight like we all are)

As we were leaving this tasting room, there happened to be a large group of people taking pictures in strange monster-looking costumes. Eyebrows were raised. But we had to inquire. When in Rome, right? They apparently were promoting a Monster's Ball - and were going to the vineyards in the costume. This tasting room did not allow them in due to their attire, but as we were leaving (and out of site of the staff) - we snagged a fast photo-shoot with them. It was the strangest and most hilarious moment of the day!!

The guys did take a look at the merchandise in the tasting room, to get some sun hats......

And Ryan really wanted to get a fedora. But I shut that down faster than you can say "hat" ;)

We didn't approve of those hats, either.
It may not have been the classiest moment, but we weren't disrupting the other customers (we were off the premises). And how often do you find a random group of people in costumes in Napa? You only live once!
Ryan and I decided these are our "Napa faces"

Such a wonderful day! So many good memories and laughs were enjoyed!!


Marlys said...

That sounded much more enjoyable than the brutal race you ran! I can only imagine how wonderful the wine must have tasted! And the food sounded wonderful, too! Love to travel vicariously with you!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I haven't been to napa but it looks so beautiful and it sounds like you visited at the perfect time. The pictures are beautiful! I am glad you got to reward yourself for all the hard work and enjoy the area!

Amber said...

I would love to go to Napa one day! But $30 a tasting? Holy crapola! That would be an expensive day. Good idea to share most of the tastings.

Marlys said...

Looking forward to Part 4!!