June 16, 2010
While I was out in California a few weeks ago for my friend Alexandra’s wedding, I also made a point to swing up to St. Helena in the Napa Valley where another one of my close friends now lives. She and her darling family pretty much live the bucolic, Napa, country lifestyle complete with Montessori school spring musicals (we got to see a stirring performance of 3-5 year olds sing songs to the theme of “Down on the Farm”) raising their own chickens (we had fresh eggs for breakfast each morning), and running a successful wine business that now includes about 7 different wine labels (We served the 75 Wine Co. Cabernet Sauvignon at our wedding). If I didn’t love her so much I would hate her.
Here is a brief photo journal of our two day trip.
After driving in from San Francisco we headed straight for Gott’s Roadside (formerly Taylor’s). Perhaps it is the California sun or the fresh Napa air that makes their food so delicious, but I always make a point to grab a burger there each time I visit my friend. On top of that they will wrap your burger in lettuce instead of a bun upon request, something this wheat and gluten intolerant girl much appreciates. I washed is all down with a vanilla milkshake of course.
Their slogan is “Tray Gourmet.” Isn’t that just beyond great?
Cliff Lede Vineyards
My friend also surprised Steve and I with a few prearranged winery visits! The girl is a rock star. Not only does she have two little ones, she is pregnant with her third and still manages to win hostess of the year award.
Our first stop was a private tour and tasting at Cliff Lede Vineyards. The vineyard Vice President and General Manager, Jack Bittner, is a close friend of my friend and also happens have grown up in Stow, MA just minuets from my husband’s home town of Mayanrd, MA. The two Massachusetts boys loved catching up about all things New England. What a small world and fun surprise! Jack was wonderful and gave us a tour of their impecable facilities and then had a beautiful wine tasting prepared for us. Talk about VIP treatment. I was overwhelmed.
This is where the wine gets to live after being pressed, complete with a gorgeous oil painting and barrel cave for storing and aging. They must have little elves that live here and clean every night. The place was spotless. I want to live here.
Can’t you just picture the villain in a James Bond movie, running across the catwalk? I can almost hear the clink, clink, clink of his shoes as he tries to escape.
The tasting and mixing table laid out for us to sample three different wines.
Beautifully printed cards explained the history and mix of each wine. My favorite was the 2006 Poetry – Stags Leap District. It was absolutely amazing…and of course, the most expensive (oh well).
More fabulous art around the property.
Round Pond Estate
We then made a visit to Round Pond Estate for more wine tasting and vineyard relaxation. The tasting room and and patio area had amazing views of the entire valley.
It is easy to see why the Napa Valley is such a perfect climate and location for growing grapes. The sun drenched days and cool nights are perfect for growing just about anything.
Rows and rows
And flowers galore! The whole valley was just blooming.
Down on the Farm
Of course no farm would be complete without horses.
And on top of all that fun and beauty we got to enjoy some fabulous wine! Our 48 hours there felt like a mini honeymoon. It was wonderful. I will leave you with a few photos I snapped from our San Fransisco hotel room. The bright lights and buildings are such a contrast to the Napa countryside.