Tuesday Travels: West Coast Wanders {Part One}

After weeks of researching and following other travel blogs it was finally time for @Helihubby and I to head to the West Coast!  Our bags were overpacked and we were off to start Adam’s 30th Birthday Celebration!

Plane

We flew Delta– Lord knows that is another story! Thanks to Delta’s little mess up, I almost didn’t make it through TSA Screeners! With a little Southern Charm and persuading them with my Stella&Dot Business Cards (with my maiden name) they let me through! WHEW! We flew into SFO, picked up our rental car and our first stop? A very late night supper stop at IN-N-OUT Burger. YUMMMMM!!!!

           In-N-Out 2 In-N-Out

{In-N-Out Burger is the Fast Food joint of the stars. Know for their “secret menu” it’s the Waffle House of the West!}

The first two days of our trip were spent in Napa. If you have not been and like wine-or don’t like wine- it is a must do trip! We absolutely loved this portion of our vacation! The only thing we wish we had done differently was allowed more time to just relax at our hotel, The Meritage Resort.They welcomed us with a bottle of wine and a view of a vineyard outside our backdoor. We could have spent a week in Napa alone.

Meritage Resort Wine

Thursday: 

We started the day about 7am. First stop, Oakville Grocery. We heard time and time again from friends about this “cute little grocery store” we just had to stop at on our way into Napa Valley. Boy were they right! It was darling!

Oakville Grocery 1

Oakville is a great stop to start {or end} your day. They have a reasonably priced and unique sandwich menu with picnic tables in a vineyard to dine. Adam and I each had a Breakfast Sandwich…wish I could remember what it was, but oh so tasty!

Oakville Grocery 4

 We did a little shopping- picked up a loaf of bread, a selection of local cheeses and meats for us to snack on throughout the day.

Oakville Grocery 2

{This is the way to go! If you’re  planning a day of tastings stop and grab some snacks. There are not many places to stop for lunch between vineyards.}

Oakville is full of local products and has so much character. During their recent renovation they discovered a well (pictured below) that was originally made when Oakville began in the 1800’s.

Oakville Grocery 6 Oakville 3 Oakville Grocery 5

From Oakville Grocery we continued into Napa Valley for our 10am tour at Castello di Amorosa. 

Castle 1

Apparently Napa is a small world! I ran into one of my best friends from Middle/High School, Brianna and her fiancé Darryl at The Castle! They were recently engaged at Frog’s Leap Winery and were back visiting. They have a great engagement story, if you have some time give it a read!

Touring The Castle was one of our favorite things we did on our trip.

Castle 6 Castle 5 Castle 4

I will say, the tour is fantastic, you learn a lot about the property. Did you know it was used for a Rose Ceremony for the Bachelor during Jake Pavelka’s season? (See the atrium picture below) If you are interested in learning more about the wine and the wine making process, the general tour is probably not for you.  That was the only disappointment we left with- wish we had learned more about wine rather than the facility. 

Castle 7

Out of all the wineries we visited and tastings we did, we left The Castle with the most bottles of wine! We had heard mixed reviews on their selection and really didn’t know what to expect going into the tour. They ended up having two fantastic, sweet wines that both Adam and I enjoyed. We were able to taste 5 wines each accompanied with Sea Salted Chocolate- to die for! Best part of the tasting!

Castle Wine

During our Castle Tour we also got to sample a Cabernet right out of the barrel- pretty cool! Cheers to our first tasting!

Castle Wine2

Next stop, Sterling Vineyards.

Sterling 1

Sterling is the only vineyard with an arial tram- spectacular views!  We really enjoyed the pace of this winery. They had 5 or 6 different tasting stations for us to visit. We were able to go at our pace touring the vineyard and tasting the variations they offered. Definitely worth visiting for the views alone! (Part of your entrance fee includes a Sterling Wine glass to take home.) Cheers!

Sterling 2 Sterling 3

 From Sterling we hopped over to Beringer. Beringer was not originally on our schedule, but just happens to be the producer of a White Zin that my Aunt Tina’s loves. Soooo we just had to stop by!

Beringer 2

Do you Beringer fans recognize this house? If not, grab a bottle of their White Zin and it may come to you!

Beringer 1 Beringer 3

We continued our planned tastings to Sutter Home Winery. Sutter Home is the only winery in the Valley that still offers FREE, yes, you read correctly, FREE tastings! You are offered a variety of 5 samplings- some of the wines are sold nationally in your local grocery store and others are specific to only being sold at the winery.

Sutter Homes 1

Sutter Home was my favorite stop along our route. Our server, Jennifer, was so friendly and knowledgable…and not to mention she is a huge BRAVES fan! While at our tasting we ran into another couple from Atlanta and just had the best time tasting and getting tips of things to see and do in San Francisco! It was the most fun we’d had at a tasting all day! Thanks Jennifer!

Sutter Homes 2

{Then again, maybe we just liked it so much because they gave us these bottles of wine!}

On the way to our final winery we ended up taking a detour to Freemark Abbey’s tasting room. They are currently going through renovations, but we had a great time at our impromptu tasting. They had a wide selection of red wines to taste- Adam and I shared one tasting flight. It’s a small venue right now- standing room only, but a nice little spot to stop if you want to avoid the crowds. Freemark Abbey Freemark Abbey 2

Whew! Are you tired yet? Five wineries in the books on Day 1 and just one more to go! Our last Vineyard for the day was Mumm.

Mumm 1

Mumm is known for their Bubbly- what a fun way to end our first day!

Mumm 2

All their tastings are table service in an open atrium setting and have spectacular views! It was a great place to end our tasting tour for the day. (Side note- we did visit near closing time and traffic leaving was horrible! Keep that in mind for future plans)

Mumm 4

Our final stop on the way back to the resort was the V Marketplace in Yountville. You’ve got to stop by while you are in the Napa area. The vintage 1870 building is the home to Napa’s original hot air balloon company. The building has been restored and is now home to multiple shops, art galleries and restaurants. We browsed around Napa Style- a cafe style shop with all sorts of locally made cooking spices and sauces. (Stay tuned to our Friday Favorites Blog for a details on one of our favorite souvenirs!)

We grabbed a few appetizers and cocktails at Bottega. Oh-My-Gosh! If you can get in, definitely make a stop! Food Network Chef, Michael Chiarello, created a farm to table Italian style menu. It was fantastic! We ordered Polpette alla Griglia-Grilled short rib meatballs, Chiarello Family Vineyard Zinfandel conserva, Cipollini agrodolce, kumqats, sunchoke passata-so delicious! We could have ordered more! We also tried their Calamari Fritti a Monterey Calamari crisped with Arborio rice flour and aioli nero. Each table is served a bread loaf with an absolutely amazing Asiago and Reggiano cheeses dip with fresh garlic, chili and fresh herbs. It is to die for y’all! Oh so yummy! I’m craving it now!

V Marketplace 1

Can’t forget to mention our favorite part…cocktails! I had some sort of Spiked Lemonade with Rosemary…cheers!

V Market Place 2

What a busy and exciting first day of visiting Napa! Six wineries in one day! Stay tuned for {Part 2} of our West Coast Wanders later this week!

All of the Vineyards we visited on Day 1 can be found on @Twitter. Look into  following them, send them a tweet them prior to your visit, especially if you are celebrating something. Each Winery we visited went out of their way to say “Happy Birthday” to Adam or give him an extra tasting because of a tweet I previously mentioned. LOVE LOVE LOVE Twitter…you should too!

@Meritageresort

@OakvilleGrocery 

@TheCastello

@Sterlingwines

@Beringervyds

@SutterHome

@FreemarkAbbey

@MummNapaWinery

We hope you are enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds not experts!

3 thoughts on “Tuesday Travels: West Coast Wanders {Part One}

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