Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Trip to Wine Country - Napa Valley (Part 1)

Last weekend the hubby and I flew up to Napa Valley for a long weekend to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.

                                       April 20, 2013 - St. Helena (Napa Valley), CA

April 20, 2008 - Key West, FL

It was a gorgeous weekend packed with gorgeous sights, great food and even better wine - and I can't wait to share some of it with you! I feel the need to say right up front that this is not a sponsored post - I just want to share some great finds with those who might be headed to Napa themselves someday (and you should! it's awesome!).

Our trip started bright and early on Friday 4/19, when we flew into San Francisco and rented a car to continue the rest of the way to Napa Valley. Just after passing over the Golden Gate Bridge (which was surrounded in fog that day - so no good pics), we stopped in Sausalito for lunch at a tiny family-run placed called Avatars. Their speciality is Indian-Mexican fusion. One of the owners was our server and encouraged us to let him create something for us, rather than ordering off the menu. We went for it - and weren't disappointed! We had an amazing red curry with grilled vegetables and a yummy "Punjab" curried enchilada. I know, curry enchilada sounds strange - but it was really delicious!

After fortifying ourselves, we set back out on the road. We took the 101 to the 37 to the 29. It's really a nice drive, in my opinion - passing through farm lands and the vineyards of Sonoma, and finally into Napa Valley:

The first town in Napa Valley is Napa, CA itself. Hundreds of wineries, restaurants and hotels/bed & breakfasts are situated along the 25 mile stretch from Napa north to Calistoga. Our home for the weekend was The Harvest Inn in St. Helena:

A cross between a bed & breakfast and a hotel, The Harvest Inn had beautiful buildings and gardens, and amazing vineyard and mountain views, which we enjoyed every morning while we ate breakfast on the patio:

We arrived after most wineries had finished their tastings for the evening (most are only open until 5pm), so we had a quiet night in, enjoying the wine bar at the inn and our beautiful fireplace room. But the next day, our anniversary - it was wine-tasting on! Our first stop was Schweiger Vineyards, a small, by-appointment-only vineyard on Spring Mountain.

There we enjoyed a wine & cheese tasting, along with a tour of the vineyard and barrel cellar (where the picture above of us standing in front of wine barrels was taken).

This ended up being one of our favorite wine tasting experiences of the weekend. Since it was by-appointment only, there was only 1 other couple there during our tour and tasting, so it felt very private and personalized. We enjoyed hearing about the history of the family-owned and operated vineyard and about how they produce their wines. Best of all - the wines we tasted were great, too! We ended up taking home 2 bottles - the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and the X Port.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - when we head to 2 wineries and an amazing dinner spot in Calistoga!

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