Warren and I had been wanting to tour the wine country of California for several years so winning the Vacation of a Lifetime made 2013 the perfect year to do it. So, in mid-July, we hopped on a very early flight to San Francisco, rented a car, and headed to Napa. After driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, we stopped at Muir Woods and marveled at the height and beauty of the 1500 years old redwoods there.
We arrived mid afternoon at Churchill Manor, a Napa bed and breakfast in an absolutely beautiful mansion built in 1889. We were shown to our room, the luxurious Rutherford Room, where delicious chocolate truffles with filling made from grapes grown by the owners were waiting for us.
Later that day, we had time to visit with the delightful owners, Brian and Joanna. Brian took an hour to plot out for us on a map the different wineries and vineyards he recommended. He also pointed out great picnic and scenic areas. The next morning we had breakfast in the bright and sunny veranda and then headed out for wine tastings. As we were leaving, Joanna gave us a bottle of wine made from the grapes of her father’s vineyard.
Taking Brian’s advice, we headed to the Robert Mondavi Winery, where we learned about all the details of making wine. Our next stop was Silenus Vineyards, where an enthusiastic student from UC Davis, studying whatever aspiring vintners study, explained various wines to us. All along the way we enjoyed cool weather and absolutely beautiful scenery.
Our next bed and breakfast was the Wine Country Inn in St. Helena. Our room, or more aptly, our one bedroom apartment, Overlook Cottage, had a private deck with a bubbling fountain that overlooked the gardens and the mountains.
The bathroom had heated floors and a 3 headed walk in glass block and tile shower. That evening we had dinner plans in town but didn’t even have to be concerned about parking, thanks to the inn’s complimentary shuttle to all the restaurants. Monday morning, after a delicious buffet breakfast, it was on to Calistoga.