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Napa Day 2 – Wine, Wine & More Wine

Posted Sep 07 2010 7:51pm

We really had no agenda for our impulse getaway to Napa, just stay at a nice hotel for a couple of days, check out some wineries and eat amazing food. On Saturday, I woke up wired at 7 AM, got dressed and headed to the gym while hubby slept in. The AVIA Napa does not have it’s own gym, but allows the guests to use a nice public membership gym next door. It was a quick, brisk walk to it in the chilly, overcast morning weather typical for the northern California coastal areas. Working out at the gym was an interesting experience since I haven’t used a public gym like that in years since getting a home gym. It reminded me why I’m not a huge fan of them with all the strange member rules like no cell phones in the workout area, sign up boards that must be used for cardio equipment even when the gym is not crowded and having to scrub down all the equipment after each use (and watching members that weren’t, ick!). But it was still nice to get in an AM workout to get charged for the day of exploring wineries and shopping.

Since we had no agenda, we pulled out of the hotel around 10 am while I looked up nearby wineries on Yelp. After just a few minutes on beautiful scenic and winding roads, we were out of downtown Napa and in front of Folio Winemakers Studio . Is 10:30 AM too early to start tasting wine? Not when you’re on vacation. :-)

This was the fabulous view from the back porch with a breeze and not a cloud in the sky.

After about and hour of wine tasting, enjoying the views from the porch and exploring the grape fields, we moved on to Domaine Carneros Winery for a little sparkling wine tasting and a light lunch and what amazing views!

The dried figs and strawberries were wonderful, I made them disappear quickly, as well as the pistachios and bread crackers. We sat there and enjoyed the scenery and people watching for about an hour, there were a lot of couples – many looking like they stepped out of a Tommy Hilfiger ad, adult groups and no kids. We probably could have enjoyed sitting there for a few more hours, but our waitress was making regular stops trying to talk us into more tasting and food plates.

Next stop was across the street to Cuvasion Estate Wines which was worlds away with a much more modern and open feel to the tasting room empathizing their green initiatives . The outer walls were glass panels that could be opened up to the outside in nice weather and much of the power was pulled from solar panels.

I’m not a huge chardonnay fan, but theirs was one of the best I’ve tasted with a rich, buttery flavor thanks to malolactic fermentation , but we ended up selecting a syrah and zinfandel to take home.

Three wineries and plenty of tasting did us in, I ‘d had about my wine limit tasting here, there and everywhere. It was wonderful that we weren’t trying to cram every winery in, but rather just going with the flow and enjoying where we landed knowing we could go back anytime. Relaxing and enjoying amazing views and weather with a minor wine buzz did wonders for forgetting the stresses of the weeks prior. We headed back to the hotel to relax and utilize the free wifi for a bit until hitting downtown Napa on foot for another evening of sight-seeing, shopping and eating.

There are some fun shops throughout Napa like this bike shop where I was disappointed to see my dream bike was already sold. :-P

Being fans of the original Japanese Iron Chef, we wanted to eat at Morimoto Napa . But all the tables were taken on a busy Saturday night and we weren’t feeling being crammed into the sushi bar or communal table which were the only options. I’m up for a sushi bar occasionally, but last time we got seated next to a guy new to sushi and spent the evening grilling me on what’s good, how to eat it, etc. After an eventful day, we were looking for a more peaceful dining experience.

I was mesmerized by this lush outdoor hallway dividing a bistro and hotel in an historic building.

Another bistro lined in edible shrubs, aren’t the little apples cute?

I was temped to pick this up for our kitchen until I saw the $150 price tag. Another super fun day and I slept like a rock after so much excitement and wine. :-)

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