Busting our way out of Idaho and through Nevada, we retired for the evening at our airbnb in St. Helena, a wine capital of California and a small city in Napa. The airbnb that I scored was a treehouse on a beautiful plot of land surrounded by the mountains. We took it easy the night we got there and tucked into our wooden box rather early.
At about 3:30 AM I awoke to Jenny freaking out cause our wooden box was swaying, A LOT. The wind seemed somewhat intense, and we figured that the tree house wasn’t sturdy and we should get out. Turns out, California has earthquakes. Everything was fine in the end, even our tree house held up nicely! We just went back to sleep out of confusion more than exhaustion to prepare for tomorrow’s wine tasting festivities. A much needed festivity after a late night earthquake.
The next morning, we geared up with coffee and water to start our two-day wine tour. We began with the oldest winery in the area, Nichelini, which was built in 1850 and is still run by the same family. The girl who worked our tasting was a 5th generation Nichelini. Jenny and I are both a fan of dry, red wines, but we learned a lot at these tastings and we explored (with our taste buds) many different wines we never really had before. They even had me buying a bottle of rose in the end!
Next we went to a beautiful winery in St. Helena called Inglenook, which was built in the 1880’s. It was eventually bought by Francis Ford Coppola (director of the Godfather series) and restored to its original state. You’re allowed to just park and walk through the house, so we grabbed a French Press in the café and wandered through the vine-covered house and Coppola museum on the top floor.
Lastly that day, per my request, we went to Velo Vino. It’s the winery owned and run by the Clif family. As a huge fan of clif bars, I couldn't resist. Also it’s completely bicycle themed. They had so many Luna Bar flavors I’d never seen before and also served some sporty concoction called Sport Tea to boost your energy. Wineries with flair are my favorite.
We stopped by the market before heading up to the tree house in the mountains. It made sense to get some cheese to go with our newly acquired bottle of wine. Turns out, all the markets around town lost power from the earthquake and their cheeses were marked “unsafe”. So we got chocolate. That evening we sat by the pool (another perk of staying at the tree house) and watched the sun go down.
The next morning we said goodbye to our tree house and headed south towards San Francisco. We found ourselves driving through Sonoma, and made a few winery pit stops along the way.
KAZ winery wins the prize. It’s a quirky place with a varied list of wines that were poured by KAZ himself! We got the whole story and enjoyed his punny wine bottles. He even signed one for us. His wines were highly acidic, some not my style, but the presentation was so fun and engaging that it didn't even matter. If you're ever in Sonoma, KAZ winery is a must.
We ended our wine tour with Ty Caton wine tasting room, a classy joint with high, white ceilings and large 'tasting' pours. The wine was phenomenal and our tasting master was thorough, giving us a well rounded day of complete opposite vibes.