Wine Country

Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Well it was another stellar day full of sunshine and mid 20's (Celsius). So why not visit California wine country. It is not even an hour from San Francisco so we had a solid day to visit the area. Good thing as there are over 200 wineries crammed into only 30 miles... in the Napa valley alone. We stopped in Napa to see if the Visitors Centre could give us some tips. We wanted to visit Copia, it is a wine centre in Napa that has wine tasting, films, interactive exhibits, a restaurant, cafe and even culinary demonstrations... it is too bad it went bankrupt two months ago. We also wanted to see Francis Ford Coppola's winery and the display of Oscars and art that he has on display. However, apparently he has removed these from being on display for one reason or another. By this time we were pretty disappointed as the two things we really wanted to do were now no longer. We settled on touring the vineyards of Robert Mondavi. We would selfishly like to thank both the economic situation for closing Copia and Coppola for hocking his Oscar or whatever, because our tour was amazing. We were lucky enough to be on our own tour as this is the slow season. We were even luckier to have Doug as our guide. His knowledge for all things wine is remarkable and only matched by his passion for his craft. We learned more about wine and wine making in the hour we spent with him than we had in our lives to date. He broke the process down and articulated it so well it felt that we had just finished a semester of studying viticulture. And Robert Mondavi himself was quite the pioneer in the American Wine Industry. He developed many technologies and methods that revolutionized the wine making process not only in Napa, but the world. He came up with ideas like using stainless steel instead of oak for the fermentation process and using a jacket like mechanism to regulate and manipulate the temperature in the tanks to achieve the desired results. Through these techniques, he not only made his wine better, he shared his developments with the rest of the wine-making world as he wanted to take the whole industry to the next level. Many in the wine business not only adopted his techniques but praised him for his selflessness. He is highly respected in the industry and it is no wonder his wines are so revered around the world. If you are lucky enough to visit Napa, please visit the Mondavi winery and pray you get Doug to show you around. After such a great experience we decided to leave Napa on a high and head over to Sonoma. Although there were about 60 wineries in the Sonoma Valley we had heard so many nice things about the town of Sonoma we headed straight there. It is a cute little town with as many dogs as there are people we think. The main square is filled with unique shops, restaurants, and of course wine cellars. We went in to one cellar as our hotel gave us a free tasting pass. Although I passed on the opportunity, Meg took one for the team and sampled their products. They gave her so many samples she had to start spitting it out into their little bucket if you can believe it. They even had a dessert wine infused with chocolate which was quite lovely. It is too bad we are so far away from home or we would have picked up a case or two to bring home and share. Tomorrow we make our last stop in California before we head into Oregon. Mendocino here we come.

Megan and Kevin
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