Thursday, October 11, 2012

Star-Spangled Journey: One Wine Day in Napa Valley

The last US state that we explored for this journey was actually the first state we visited. We flew to San Francisco and my friend from way back in college who is now with UC Berkeley, Jay Balza, picked us up at the airport and brought us to Nob Hill where we would be staying for the duration of our San Francisco trip. Prior to the visit, my friend promised to take us to Napa Valley. And so the next day, off we went to the wine county.

Our first stop was The Meriatge Resort & Spa located at the Napa Valley Corporate Park. It is a luxury resort with a vineyard on a hill.

If Batman has his bat cave, The Meritage has its own wine cave. Inside the Estate Cave, wine tasting is offered at the Trinitas Tasting Room. We were too early for a wine tasting session as the room was still closed. Also located inside the Estate Cave is the Spa Terra for an indulging relaxation.

From the Estate Cave, we proceeded to the vineyard. While we were there, we saw several people doing their morning walks and jogs through the vineyard.

The fruits of the vine.

View of The Meritage from the vineyard.

The resort also has its chapel, Our Lady of the Grapes. It can accommodate ninety-five (95) persons.  You can have your wedding, reception and honeymoon all in one place.

From The Meritage, we proceeded to the Robert Mondavi Winery. 

The place had various walking tours, inclusive of wine tasting, to choose from. We opted for the 90 minutes walking tour with a sit-down tasting of three wines.

Our tour started inside one of the rooms where the guide gave a historical account of the winery, its beginnings and the man behind the establishment Robert Mondavi.

Then we found ourselves meandering the paths in the vineyard, plucking and tasting grapes, and trying to tell the difference of one variety of grape from the other. 

Harvesting grapes for personal consumption.

Once we had enough of the grapes, we were then led to this huge building where they turn the harvested grapes into wine.

The fermentation process.

The storing and cellaring of the wine.

To know more on how they make wine, please do check out their videos here.

We capped the tour with the tasting of three choices of wine. While doing this, our guide made us describe the flavors that we tasted while we took a sip of the wine and then asked us to guess the kind of wine it was.

Our last stop for the day was the V. Sattui Winery where we had lunch in their picnic grounds.

Our lunch at the picnic ground.

Then we explored the garden of V. Sattui, its museum and of course, the deli shop.

Blooms in the garden 

Tools of the trade

Inside the deli shop

Cheese galore!

And while we were there, a wedding has just taken place within the grounds of the winery.

In between visits to the winery, we made a detour to the St. Joseph Chapel, a Carmelite House of Prayer in Napa to offer a prayer of thanksgiving.

So a day of eating grapes and tasting wine and visiting three wineries still doesn't make me a wine connoisseur. I can't even tell whether I'm having a Chardonnay or Merlot, a Sauvignon Blanc or a Cabernet Franc. Just a good thing though, I didn't feel dizzy with the glasses of wine I had to consume that day.

Let me leave you with a quote from V. Sattui Winery.

For more information on the vineyards and wineries I visited, please click the links below:

The Meritage Resort and Spa
Robert Mondavi Winery
V. Sattui Winery

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