Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California

Have I mentioned how in love I am with California? Seriously… madly in love! What tops the cake, are the moments I get to head up north, to the wine country and spend some time hanging out with my family. They just moved into this great new home where the backyard looks out onto the vineyards. Yep, definitely jealous! 

My uncle is quite the wine connoisseur and foodie aficionado.  He’s always been one of the most important people in my life, so it’s that much more special to share this same passion for food and wine. I get so inspired listening to him talk about winemaking, and all that he’s learned since he’s moved to Napa. Which is crazy, since he was already incredibly knowledgeable about this stuff! Every time I’m up there visiting, I get the opportunity to visit so many stellar wineries – some I’m already familiar with from my days selling wine and some I’ve never heard of, but definitely rock my world! Last week, I was able to make one of those said trips, while my mom was in town, and it was definitely a trip to remember! 

Day One – A relaxing night with family

Our first night started out great! My ADORABLE little cousin and I got some great play time in. I love that little lady! She’s by far the best. My aunt made a wonderful dinner and we relaxed on their back deck drinking wine and catching up on life. While my aunt put my cousin to bed, my uncle took us for a walk through the vineyards, right as the sun was starting to go down. The result was absolutely magical! The next morning I woke up early to head back into those vineyards and capture some more of that beauty. These grapes will eventually find their ways into either the highly acclaimed Spottswoode Winery or the yummy Trespass Vineyards.  Is it really possible that one plant can be so captivating and ethereal?

 

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any KindAdventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any KindAdventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any KindAdventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any KindAdventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any KindAdventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

Day Two – Wine Tasting in Sonoma

We decided to switch things up a bit and head over the mountains into Sonoma territory. I’ve never been to this part of the wine country, so I was excited to see what Napa’s “rival” was all about. Sonoma is the hippy, but a cool friend to the more proper and distinguishable Napa. They truly do try to compete against each other. We initially thought it would be hilarious to ask one of the tasters which one is better… Napa or Sonoma, but we determined that to continue tasting, it would be best to hold our tongues and avoid a major beat down. Personally, I like them both. Although I’m more of a robust Napa Cab type of person, I did enjoy a lot of the wines we were sipping on that day.

Arrowood

Our first stop in Sonoma was at Arrowood. This certified, organic vineyard is nestled at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains – the mountains that run between Napa and Sonoma. It’s a beautiful property. The tasting room is located in a large farmhouse-style tasting room with a massive, inviting, wrap-around porch. The inside is my favorite. Immediately as you walk in, you are greeted by a monumental chandelier hanging from a vaulted ceiling. The room has a very cozy feel to it and I dream of having this same look for my own house one day.

 

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

The tasting was wonderful, but the highlight was their dessert wine. The 2009 Saralee’s Vineyard Late Harvest Riesling was a showstopper! It had juicy bright flavors that taste like peaches and pears dipped in honey.  Throw a little citrus in there to round out the palate and it’s truly some liquid candy in a glass.  My uncle bought one of these great bottles and was kind enough to open it up that evening when we returned home. There’s nothing like sitting in the backyard, vineyards in the distance, relaxing and sipping on some AMAZING dessert wine!

Chateau St. Jean

Our second stop took us to Chateau St. Jean. I was captivated by this elegant winery. It was the perfect portrayal of a French Provincial castle, surrounded by lush, fairytale-like gardens and expansive lawns. I can only imagine the weddings that are held there!

 

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

If you get a chance to go there, check out the main tasting room. It’s decked out with a ton of wine gear, gourmet food and French provincial decor for sale. Their smaller tasting room is set away in an intimate cocktail room that opens up onto another garden patio and perfectly mowed lawns. If you have time, make sure to bring some food and enjoy a romantic picnic on one of their patios, surrounded by the never-ending gardens. 

 

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

Landmark Vineyards

Next stop found us at Landmark Vineyards. Their main varietals are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and they do a pretty great job with them! We had an amazing wine server. A former teacher, he kept us on point and focused. It’s easy to get distracted and chat endlessly with each other, that you forget to really taste the wine and take in all of the information about each bottle. This is especially true the further into the vineyard hopping you go. This guy was a lot of fun and kept us laughing!

 

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

St. Francis

The final stop of the day was the well-known, St. Francis Winery. It was the perfect end to the day! The tasting was epic and the wine server kept them coming, all the while testing our wine knowledge with various trivia. It ended up being the place we purchased the most wine from, and I would say, had the best time.  I picked up two bottles. The 2012 Three Valleys Zinfandel and the 2012 Rockpile Red. Both were very sturdy wines with a lot of flavor. Keep an eye out for future posts, when I finally open up these lovely wines! I’m excited to officially review them, sans 4 vineyard tastings clouding my palate.

 

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

Two quick things to note about this vineyard. 

1. They are certified sustainable and follow organic farming practices.

2. They have an amazing winemaker and she just happens to be female. The wine industry has been a male-dominated field for a very long time and it’s exciting to see a female show off her killer skills. I’m not a feminist in the least, but I do get excited when a girl represents! 

Day Three – One last stop, well actually two

Dean & Deluca

I’ve instated a new tradition when I’m in Napa and that is to stop by Dean & Deluca on my way out. It helps to drown my sorrows in a massive cup of caffeine, every time I leave my family. I love wandering this store, looking at every single product. It’s my little piece of foodie heaven.

 

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

Peju Province Winery

Despite my better judgment, I decided to stop by Peju.  Adam and I both adore Peju and since he wasn’t able to come this time, I wanted to bring him something nice. My initial thought was a quick stop and that was it. I had a client call that afternoon and wanted to be home for that. I should have known better than anything involving wine is never a fast process. An hour later, I walked out with a half a case of wine, a new membership to the winery and an even greater love for this winery. 

 

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

If you get a chance to stop by, make sure to try their Fifty/Fifty Red Wine. A rich blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s perfection in a glass! I picked up two bottles while I was there, so keep your eyes out for a complete review in the near future!

 

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

Another reason why I’m obsessed with Peju is their commitment to sustainability. They are certified organic and go out of their way to make sure all that they do supports the land. You can read all about it here.

 

Adventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any KindAdventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any KindAdventures in Napa & Sonoma California | Designs of Any Kind

Quick Travel Guide

Arrowood Vineyards & Winery

  • Address: 14347 CA-12, Glen Ellen, CA 95442
  • Phone: (707) 935-2600
  • Hours: Mon – Sun 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • Tasting Prices: Click Here

Chateau St. Jean

  • Address: 8555 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, CA 95452
  • Phone: (707) 833-4134
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tasting Prices: Click Here

Landmark Vineyards

  • Address: 101 Adobe Canyon Rd, Kenwood, CA 95452
  • Phone: (707) 833-0053
  • Hours: Mon – Sun 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tasting Prices: Click Here

St. Francis Winery

  • Address: 100 N Pythian Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95409
  • Phone: (707) 833-0242
  • Hours: Mon – Sun 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tasting Prices: Click Here

Peju Province Winery

  • Address: 8466 St Helena Hwy, Rutherford, CA 94573
  • Phone: (707) 963-3600
  • Hours: Mon – Sun 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Tasting Prices: Click Here

Dean & Deluca

  • Address: 607 S. St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574
  • Phone: (707) 967-9980
  • Hours: Sun.-Thurs.: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Fri. & Sat.: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

 

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