Wine tour day! I may have been looking forward to this more than anything else. After a quick breakfast at the café next to our hotel (which was, among other things, about a quarter of the price of breakfast at our hotel) we went out front and caught our bus, which was right on time. A quick stop at the tour office, some driving around in circles in San Fransisco, and we were across the Golden Gate Bridge (our first crossing) and on our way.

Driving out of San Fransisco and into the next valley is kind of surreal. The fog suddenly vanishes and it's a bright and sunny day in Northern California. We started in Sonoma county, at the Jacuzzi (yes, that Jacuzzi) winery. Their wines were good, but nothing in particular jumped out at us. They also had an olive oil press and we got to try those. The property itself was beautiful, with olives and grapes everywhere. It was about 2-4 weeks before harvest, they said.

The next stop was literally across the street, at the Cline winery. I liked theirs better, and we ended up getting two bottles. This one was more "working farm" than its neighbor (which was more "fake Italian villa") and had an area for rehabilitating birds and some miniature donkeys.

Lunch was next, and not a moment too soon. Drinking all that wine is hard on the stomach. We headed into Sonoma proper and ate at a little restaurant in the town square, which was solidly mediocre. Next door was ice cream, which was really good. I would've liked to spend more time there, but it was already an all-day tour and we had one more stop in Napa.

Napa is, somehow, about 20 degrees warmer than neighboring Sonoma. This allows grapes that require different climates to be grown within close proximity to each other. The winery we stopped at in Napa specialized in champagne. Well, "method champagne sparkling wines." This place was huge, and we got a full tour. It was good, but I still like prosecco better (and it's cheaper). I kept this to myself. Champagne Guy seemed to take the skyrocketing popularity of prosecco somewhat personally.

It was about 90 degrees in Napa Valley, so we were somewhat relieved to head back into the air conditioned tour van. It was a 2-3 hour drive back, thanks to SF traffic. I think everyone fell asleep. Drinking is hard work.

We had dinner reservations at Bartlett Hall, another gastropub. This one was actually pretty good. Yummy pizza. This is also where I found out my cousin had given birth. Congratulations, Catie!

Mouse over the pictures for commentary, click for large images

Day 1 - Day 3