Of course, while in San Francisco, I could never miss an opportunity to experience the joys of wine country. It was completely different than my experience in Southern France. Napa is absolutely beautiful! Even though it was raining, it was such a serene area. I could live there forever, drinking wine and eating cheese! Small things make me happy. I was chatting with one of the girls who worked at the winery, who said something that made me think. She said that working at Artesa has taught her that wine and good food is not a luxury – it is something that everyone can enjoy from time to time! You don’t have to be a millionaire to take some time to do things you love. There was definitely a similar philosophy in my house in France – but here I sometimes forget it. My host mom taught me that food and wine is one of the great joys of life, and I love meeting people who reinforce that philosophy!

The first vineyard we visited was Artesa Winery. This was so modern – the shop was actually carved out of the ground, and was located on top of a hill that looked over all of the vineyards. Outside was waterfalls and sculptures that added to the beauty. Inside, the artwork and architecture was simplistic and natural, adding to the very earthy feel of the winery. Most importantly, the wine was delicious! Yes, I did taste it at 11am. Go big or go home. My favorite was the Chardonnay.

The next vineyard we went to was Buena Vista . This was totally opposite from Artesa. It had a more country feel, located in a barn with a walk-around loft on the top. Our sommelier was excellent – he had us all laughing as he taught us how to pair wine with food. He made us taste an acidic red wine and swirl it all around our mouth. Then, he gave us a little piece of cheese, and told us to eat it at the same time as we are tasting the wine. The acidity in the wine completely disappeared, and the taste was a whole lot more smooth. It was crazy how different the taste was, because they food took away the taste of the acid. He explained to us how to balance bold wines with foods high in fat and protein. I learned so much about food and wine tasting – plus I tasted so many different kinds of wine! He showed us the importance of aging a wine by giving us one red from 2008, and another from 2007. They tasted completely different! Be sure and age your wines people!

Bartholomew winery was our final stop, and we actually were too tired to taste any more wine! But the views were majestic, we stumbled along the gardens smelling flowers and people watching. Overall, a great day in Napa!

I definitely was still craving more at the end of the day. I felt like I only got a little sample of California wines and now I want more! Maybe someday soon I’ll be back!?

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