ROMANCING THE GRAPE
Searching for a romantic getaway? If so, look no further than the gorgeous Napa Valley region in the great state of California. Wineries here offer the best in tastings, some of which take place right on scene in the vineyards.
At Guilliams Vineyards, a small family-run winery, along with tasting the grapes, you will have the opportunity to touch them on the vine and, in addition, explore the fermentation process. Who knows, you might leave the area with a yen to make your own wine. Many people do.
Another experience you might come upon in the valley is a bottle blending day camp. And here you thought only kiddies went to camp! At Juddâ€™s Hill Winery, you can learn to make your own Bordeaux-style cuvee. Youâ€™ll be guided through the element of selecting barrel samples, blending, hand bottling and even labeling. Sign me up for that tour, please!
If youâ€™re hankering for a multi-day camp, check out Schramsberg Vineyards. Their multiday interactive sessions allow participants to experience winemaking first hand. And instruction is provided by the president and chief wine maker himself. Sounds like top of the line, to me.
If you have any recollection of the 1980s TV drama â€œFalcon Crestâ€â€”the ornate Victorian mansion on the property of Spring Mountain Vineyard served as the backdrop for all the shenanigans that took place in the show. Well worth a visit.
One winery you wonâ€™t want to miss is Sterling Vineyards. To reach the property, you ride in a tram, which provides the most fantastic views of the valley. This is indeed an exceptional experience. I never visit the region without treating myself to this thrilling adventure. And the wine deserves a rave, too!
Now, you might not be enamored of wine. But donâ€™t despair. The Napa Valley is famous for its food, as well. Looking for something different in pizza? Youâ€™ve come to the right place. How about a fig pizza with arugula, Gorgonzola dolce and caramelized onions? Or maybe hot Italian sausage, peppers, onions and smoked mozzarella entices you more. If your taste buds have been tickled, hie yourselves over to Bistro Don Giovanni. They also feature other excellent dishes: chicken under a brick, fritto miso and hamburger that will more than stack up to your local favorite.
At Redd Wood, you can indulge in their pizzas whose dough is worked by hand. How about a prosciutto crudo, fontina, arugula pie? Or try their ricotta, corn, bacon, onion pizza.
At Azzurro, you might indulge in one of their specialty pies with spinach, chilies and ricotta. I could go on and on, but Iâ€™ve made myself so hungry, Iâ€™ll need to wind this down soon so I can grab a snack.
I want to alert you to the Napa Valley Opera House venture set to open its doors next April. This venue includes concerts, restraints and a wine bar. Something for everyone. Also, no area beats the valley for baked goods of every kind. Indulge without guilt!
Before you hop in the car or on a train or plane, Google Napa Valley Wineries for a full list of offerings. While youâ€™re at it, check out the fabulous Inns, Bed & Breakfasts and hotels/motels in the immediate area. Youâ€™ll want to stay for a while and, I guarantee, youâ€™ll not want to rush home any time soon.