Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wine Tour in the Napa Valley

Okay, it's official....I think this is becoming a grastronomic blog. At least, wining and dining across the world.

Today we set out to tour the Napa Valley. With a few hastily scribbled notes from a "Google" of "Napa Valley Wine Tours",and purchasing a map of San Francisco, we set off in the general direction. Daringly enough, we decided to cross the Golden Gate bridge, despite the possibility of protests due to the Olympic torch fiasco. Indeed, the look-out points for viewing and taking pictures of the bridge were packed with both protesters, curious on-lookers and about as many police in powerful vehicles of all description as I've ever seen in one place.

We decided to just get across and out of any disruption, and in crossing the span were immediately transported back to 1968. This is a certain sort of magic, because after all we are in San Francisco to celebrate Bruce Alberts' 70th. birthday. Bruce was Larry's PhD advisor in Princeton. We were married in 1968 and moved to the USA just as Trenton, NJ was on fire with riots. If you're old enough to remember, the USA was embroiled in the Vietnam war and upon our arrival into the "Ivy League" we were swept up in the fervor of anti-war sentiment and protest. It was almost like we were seeing the same people on that bridge today! Perhaps there were some of the same there....who knows. We honked in support...well, I honked, since I was driving, Larry was more intent on staying on the bridge, what with his newly derived fear of heights....too hilarious really. I was exclaiming and flashing the peace sign and Larry was praying that our license plate was not being photographed by undercover cops who would later arrest us for being subversive Canadians. That was a flashback to Students for a Democratic Society petitions:)

After the elation of crossing the GG Bridge, you are shortly into the real deal. The Napa Valley. Following highway 29 north, we swung off at Yountville to get some local information. (History: In the early 1800's the area that now makes up the Town of Yountville was owned by Mexico. In 1836 George C. Yount obtained a land grant from the Mexican government. The first grape vines in the valley were planted by George C. Yount in 1838). Again, par hazard as they say in France, we parked in a "Bicycle Tour" of the Napa Valley brother David would really enjoy this mode of visiting wineries. It's all quite flat in this area and the weather was a perfect 68 degrees Fahrenheit, with a light breeze and cloud/sun filled sky. One of the destinations I was originally headed for was the ,"Domaine Chandon" and the ladies in the info. centre readily agreed that this was a stellar place to taste and dine.As you can see, they specialize in "bubbly" and we had a wonderful light lunch outside on the patio. A quick tour of the property, gift shop and we're off to our next destination. "Sterling Wineries". On the way we pass "Robert Mondavi", "Beaulieu", "Louis Martini", "Beringer", "Culinary Institute of America", "Charles Krug" and end up at the top of the tour....Sterling, with a gondola ride (sorry Larry) to the best view in the valley.Sterling's architecture reflects the owners upbringing in Greece and is a totally different look to all of the other establishments. We tour the wine making facility and end up at a tasting of 4 different wines. What goes up, must come down! By now Larry is not amused at the idea of any more pictures of him at lofty heights....down we go, and back to South San Fran via way of Berkley, Oakland, and the Bay Bridge. Tomorrow will have us singing ....Do you know the Way to San Jose....????????????


  1. Isn't this just the best spot to relax with bubbles finding your tongue? What happy memories you are making and also what happy memories you remind me of.

    love, D

  2. The pictures look great but with my fear of heights I fee sorry for Larry. Kirk always does of good job of telling me what I am missing. Thanks for sharing your wonderful times. Linda

  3. I have been wondering if you would escape the demonstrations; somehow you are always around when these events are in motion. Wine country sounds absolutely delightful. Bravo Larry for scaling the heights!