Travel Review: Wine Country

I recently had the pleasure of traveling to wine country in California with a handful of my favorite people. It's probably not surprising given the name of our company that I love wine, so this was a dream trip. We visited a variety of wineries for tastings and food pairings and tours, and I'm excited to share some of the highlights with you. 

GloriaFerrar

Is anyone else a huge fan of sparkling wine, too? Because I am mildly obsessed with bubbly, which made our first stop of the trip a huge win for me. We visited Gloria Ferrer and sat on the patio overlooking vineyards and tasted a flight (okay, I tasted two) of sparkling wine. I'm not kidding, they have the BEST sparkling rosé wine. I'm still dreaming about it.

GloriaFerrer_wines

For me, it was all downhill after Gloria Ferrer, but I did particularly enjoy the wine and food pairing we had at St Francis. It is incredible how well the pairings were orchestrated. Granted, I frequently pair my wines with delicacies like Pizza Shuttle and Braum's, so this was on a whole new level for me. 

Day Two started with a horseback ride around Lake Sonoma, courtesy of Nikki at The Ranch. When I was much younger, I was an equestrian, so trail rides are one of my favorite things to fit into any trip. The scenery was dreamy, and we beat the heat by going in the early morning. After, we visited Jordan Winery, and got a tour of the beautiful grounds paired with an amazing tasting. 

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In between scheduled visits, we had a little extra time and made a quick stop at Arrowood Vineyards. There, we met the friendliest sommelier who happily answered my questions (and ribbed us a little about KD and the Thunder). But did you know that wines made in the US are named by the grape varietal they are made from, but up to 25% of the wine can be made from other varietals? Winemakers blend various other varietals in to balance the flavor or pull out different notes. 

Later, we stopped at Rodney Strong for wine and music trivia by Jason Bodlovich, a talented musician who found his match in Greg Magill, who easily identified 95% of the songs within the first four seconds. I asked for some early 2000s or current day Top 40 trivia so I could contribute to our team, but I was shot down.

ChimneyRock
ChimneyRock

Day Three started with Chimney Rock, which was very pleasant. We also visited Hall Wines, home to an incredible collection of art, and Newton Vineyard, where I met Richard, my favorite sommelier. 

By the end of Day Three, I, as an avid wine drinker, was hitting my limit. Thankfully, we were staying in a HomeAway rental – a beautiful, three story home right in the mountains, with a view from our balcony that would put peace in the Grinch's heart. 

BalconyView

Overall, it was an unforgettable trip. Yes, the wine was amazing, but more importantly, I enjoyed seeing the passion and thought that goes into winemaking. I highly recommend taking a trip. Whether you're a wine drinker or not, you'll leave with an appreciation for the art of winemaking that you can't develop until you see it up close.