Tuesday Travels: Borgo Argenina

Welcome to Borgo Argenina, a truly magical stone estate in the hills of Chianti. IMG_2414.JPGIMG_2419.JPG

Visiting Borgo Argentina was an experience like no other and my absolute favorite part of our Newly Newlywed Italian Adventure. The 998 AD Peasant Farmer home had been abandoned for years when, now owner, Elena Nappa, discovered the property while on a holiday from Milan. A former fashion designer, Elena quickly fell in love with the estate. She knew in her heart it was a calling for her to restore the hamlet into a stunning seven room Bed & Breakfast and that is exactly what she did. Her story of how she transformed this property without electricity and running water into a fully functioning Bed and Breakfast is really remarkable. IMG_2416.JPG

Adam and I drove from Florence to the Chianti hamlet. Passing thousands of grape vines and olive trees, around curvy bends, narrowingly escaping head on collisions with Italian drivers and through the rolling hills to get to Elena’s. Upon arrival at Borgo Argenina we were greeted by Elena’s four-legged friends, Giuseppina and Pasqualina along with other guests who were sitting on the grand stone patio, enjoying a glass of vino taking in the sunset over Chianti. IMG_2420.JPG

“Welcome! You must be new! Elena is upstairs in the Kitchen.” one guest said. Instantly we were family.

Our journey at Borgo Argenina began as we passed the bell to ring for Elena if you arrive after hours and opened the original wooden double doors adorned with iron locks and handles. IMG_2415.JPG

Once inside the main house, up the narrow stone stairway with one tiny window over looking the garden, we found Elena, tooting around her kitchen. IMG_2433.JPG

“Ah! Bella! Benvenuto! I’ve been expecting you! Fett, si?” Elena asked.

She grabbed the keys and escorted us to the Piccola Suite, our home for the next four days. We had a quaint sitting room adjacent to our bedroom, an attached private bath and views of the rolling Chianti Hills and Elena’s garden. PicTapGo-Image-5.jpg

Each room is equip with a mini bar and tea kettle that is refreshed daily, wifi and a hairdryer. (Yay! One less thing to pack!) There is no air conditioning at Borgo Argenina, thankfully, even during the Summer months the nights were cool and a flowing breeze filled our room. Elena took us downstairs, showed us the Parlor and Breakfast Room before heading outside.PicTapGo-Image-2.jpgIMG_2434.JPGIMG_2423.JPGIMG_2422.JPG

After a tour of our suite and parts of the property we sat down with Elena on the stone patio outside. She shared some of her favorite places in Tuscany with us over a glass of wine. PicTapGo-Image.jpg

We chatted for what felt like hours of friends catching up before we realized the time and that we were late for a supper reservation she made for us at Giorgio’s. We will share that experience with y’all a little later. Delizioso!

Every morning, Borgo Argenina guests are greeting to a beautiful breakfast spread prepared by two of Elena’s three employees. On the daily menu: Fresh Coffee, homemade Yogurt, local meats, cheeses and honey, fresh fruit, and varieties of Elena’s Coffee Cake.  PicTapGo-Image-3.jpgPicTapGo-Image-1.jpgPicTapGo-Image-4.jpg

Elena also invites her guests to a nightly Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina. If you’re staying with her, this is a MUST! It was by far the best food we had during our time in Italy and if she had extra room we would have taken the class a second time! Each guest is gifted with her Borgo Argenina Cookbook-filled with Elena’s family recipes and traditional Italian dishes. The time we spent in the kitchen with Elena and other guests was a highlight of our trip. Pop over next Monday to see what was on our Menu! IMG_1196.JPG

Y’all, I really can not express how much HeliHubby and I enjoyed our time at Borgo Argenina. It is in a perfect location to be a “home base” for Montepulciano, Volterra, Siena and more little Tuscan Wine towns. It’s truly an enchanting, one of a kind Italian escape. Elena is absolutely wonderful. She is warm, welcoming and lovely. We felt like we had known her for years and yet we just met. Leaving we all three got a bit teary eyed as we said our “goodbyes.” I don’t know when the Newly Newlyweds will get to return to Chianti to visit Elena, but I do know HeliHubby and I both left a piece of our hearts in Tuscany at Borgo Argenina. It is just magical.

If you’re considering a Tuscan Vacation I highly reccomened you consider Borgo Argenina as your home. Have questions about the hamlet or want help planning your vacation? Feel free to message us- I am happy to help! PicTapGo-Image-7.jpg

Fino all prossima volta, we hope you’re 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!

Tuesday Travels: Ciao Italia

A little over a month ago Adam had the grand idea for a Newly Newlywed Adventure. We began our search of where the road- or friendly skies- would take us. Originally, our plan was to return to Hawaii. IMG_1426.JPG

The Big Island and Kauai were still on our Wish List, but with the recent volcano eruption (and taking a helitour over the volcano was a “must do”) we opted to save that vacation for another time.

We spend days researching. Toyed with Iceland, Africa and Australia. It wasn’t until I put my Key To The World Travel Travel Planner skills to the test and happened to find a fantastic deal to Italy, we just couldn’t pass up.

So, with three weeks until take-off the planning began! Once we decided on Italy, we were both craving Italian food. Naturally, we had to have our “planning meetings” at Antico Pizza Napoletana. (AKA: The BEST pizza in Atlanta!) IMG_0394.JPG

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Unlike most of our vacations, this trip was very unplanned. Besides knowing where we were staying, we had no other set plans.  [I’ll just go ahead and put it out there…Being the planner that I am, I did a really good job with being flexible. Just ask Adam.}

July 3, 2018 our bags were packed and we said arrivederci to the USA onboard a Delta PINK RIBBON Plane. IMG_1054.JPG

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We flew in style- Delta One -for our first 8 hour leg of the trip to Amsterdam. Such fun cheers-ing to vacation and our time away! Our cabin mates just happened to be The Mingos and their entourage. After a 4 hour layer over in Amsterdam, a short 1.5 hour KLM flight and two landing attempts later (the Florence runway is quite small) we arrived in Italy about noon local time on July 4th. IMG_2244.JPG

We grabbed our luggage and headed to the Rental Car Center…that’s right, you read that correctly. We decided to rent a car and drive in Italy! That was an adventure in itself!

{Travel Tip: BE CAREFUL if you decide to rent a car internationally. Even though we used Enterprise and booked the car in advance, they tried to over charge us and cut our days on the rental. Thankfully Adam had copies of the agreement stored in his E-Mail and I had printed copies with me.  Slightly stressful, but we survived and so glad we ended up having a vehicle to get around. Also, keep in mind the rental car center is made up primarily of trailers all on gravel roads. It can be a bit of a work out pulling your luggage to and from your car.}

Two bags full of clothes, two over sized wine suitcases and 4 carry on bags later the Newly Newlyweds were ready to hit the road and head to our first stop, Borgo Argenina. A truly magical Bed & Breakfast we cannot wait to tell you all about!

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Follow along our Italian Adventure over the next days and weeks to come. We’re so looking forward to reminiscing to our time in Italy as we share it with y’all! We can’t wait to return to the beauty of Tuscany someday.

Until next time, we hope you’re 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!

Throwback Thursday: Girls Weekend in the Great State

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Unless your a resident of the Lone Star State, I have a inkling you’ve not. Fun Fact! Fredericksburg is the 5th largest wine producer in the US! Cheers y’all!

Last weekend Aunt Tina and I surprised Mom with {another} 60th Birthday Celebration! She knew she was heading to the GREAT STATE with two of her favorite people, but little did she know all the surprises we had in store!

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We told her to pack her bags- we were heading to Texas! Friday morning we were wheels up for Texas, flying from Atlanta to San Antonio. We picked up our rental car and I played Uber driver for our 57 mile commute to our VRBO rental in Kerrville. (About 25 minutes from downtown Fredericksburg.) Mom just couldn’t wrap her head around WHY we had to rent a house if it was just the three of us. Even though we told her it was cheaper than staying in town and probably a lot nicer than the local Holiday Express Motel.

This home was stunning y’all and Erin, the owner, was fantastic to work with. The house was updated and the views were spectacular- the rolling Texas hills made us feel like we were up in the hills of Hollywood. The Master Bathroom had a walk-in shower with three, yes THREE, shower heads! Don’t get me started on the backyard with the fire pit, outdoor kitchen and  infinity pool- absolutely breathtaking y’all! Highly recommend this property if you’re heading to Fredericksburg for any occasion! Wish we could have spent more time there!

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The real reason we needed a larger house? It was not going to be just the three of us spending the weekend together hopping around tasting wine. We were spending the weekend with a few of our favorite Texas women- sorority sisters, family, friends from fifth grade and friends that are like family! SURPRISE TG!

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Friday Night was spent with guests arriving sporadically surprising Mom. Catching up, laughing like school girls and of course cheers-ing to our Birthday Girl!

Saturday we got up bright and early to hit the Texas Wine Trail! We used The 290 Wine Shuttle Company, which was fantastic! They charter guests around to 13 local wineries for a very reasonable fee. It was so nice not having to worry about calling an Uber or having a one of the girls miss the fun and play Designated Driver.

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We started at Barons Creek for a quick tasting of five or six varieties.

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They have a huge tasting room, complete with multiple private rooms, a lovely back garden space and gift shop. The Viognier was one of our favorites from the tasting- it has ripe apricot and delicate lemon zest flavors combination in this delicious Texas Viognier. This wine has a long, creamy finish. It’s a fantastic companion for shrimp or lobster with butter sauce.

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Mom also really enjoyed their Muscat Canelli, a deliciously sweet and balanced wine bursting with flavors of peach, honeydew and a hint of grapefruit. It is a perfect aperitif on a warm day but you can also pair it with fruit salad or Thai cuisine. That has her name all over it!

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From Barons Creek we had a short wait for the 290 Bus and headed to Grape Creek: The Tuscany of the South.

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Grape Creek is a local favorite. The property was beautiful! You really did feel like you were in Tuscany! The tasting area was VERY crowded and on weekends they do limit the number of guests per tasting groups. This vineyard was highly recommend, so we broke into small groups for tasting prior to our arrival. Our tasting experience was ok. Our guide was not full of that Southern Texas hospitality until I decide to sign up for their Wine Club. We had to wait over an over an our for a tasting, their restaurant was packed and the check-in station seemed a little frazzled and not able to give us real information the wait time, availability, etc. I wish the customer service experience as a little different because the wine was quite good. We ended up finding a spot to sit and share a bottle and a stunningly delicious charcuterie board together before heading to our final stop of the day.

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Our third winery was Fat Ass.

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Our favorite for the atmosphere! {With a name like Fat Ass, how could it not?}  It was such fun y’all! Very laid back, low key environment with a live band. So, so much fun! Their wine supply was down when we were there, but they make a wine slushy that went down way too easily! A perfect drink for Summer days. Definitely plan to stop by Fat Ass when you head to the Texas Wine Country! We had the best time!

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Whew! Feeling wined-up yet? Hang on and pop over next week for our Travel Tuesday series when we wrap up our weekend in the Wine Country!

We hope you’re 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!

Tuesday Travels: Doing Disney {Tasting Around The World}

Hey there Musketeers!

Are you dreaming of Disney on this Travel Tuesday? We just returned from a quick weekend trip. I too, am wishing we were walking our way around Epcot. Sipping on seasonal cocktails and enjoying the fantastic March weather during the Flower and Garden Festival!

Come on! Take the stroll around Epcot with us! It’s not just for kids- adults can love Disney too!

We arrived at Epcot via boat from the Swan & Dolphin Hotel. Did you know you can do that? We went through the back entrace by the International Gateway. It was there we made a quick right to cross the bridge into France, where our day Tasting Around The World began!RenderedImage.jpeg

Our first stop was at Les Vins des Chefs de France for a little cocktail! We cheersed to our Day of Disney with a glass of Champagne and Adam had a French Beer similar to a Blue Moon. IMG_8012.jpeg

Also in France is Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, where we had a yummy French Duo-  a White and Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake. SO good y’all! It just melted in your mouth. The Mousse was so creamy- clearly this was not a Whole30 Day! IMG_8020.jpeg

Did you know you could travel 1,200 miles in just three minutes? You can! At Epcot anyway! From France we made our way to Morocco where Adam had his second beverage, a Casa Beer, an original Lager from the host country.  IMG_8045.jpeg

After Morocco we made our way to Japan where Adam and I shared a Sapporno Beer from Kabuki CafeIMG_8061.jpegIMG_8059.jpeg

We passed through the American Adventure (we can have a Bud Lite anytime y’all) to Italy for another glass of Bubbly! IMG_8064.jpeg

Next, we headed to Biergarten Restaurant in Germany where Adam took in the, ehh, local fashion culture and even found himself an Epcot souvenir! IMG_8070.jpeg

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China was next on our list, before we headed to Norway for a Beer with Olaf! IMG_8086.jpegIMG_8316.jpeg

I think a Margarita is calling my name! Is it for you too? Mexico was next where we had Cucumber Lime Margaritas.  A mix of Tequila Avión Blanco, Fresh Cucumber, Orange Liqueur, Lime Juice and Agave Nectar. Whew y’all! These little babies were strong! Stronger than we expected for sure! We washed down Beef Empanadas filled with Barbacoa Beef, topped with Chipotle Sauce, Crema Mexicana and Queso Fresco and served with a side of Corn Esquites with our Margaritas from Choza de MargaritaIMG_8108.jpeg

We finished our snack in Mexico and  headed North to Canada for a little beer eh! IMG_8140.jpeg

We crossed the pond for a Half & Half at the Rose & Crown Pub in England for our final beverage on our World Tour of Epcot. IMG_8152.jpeg

Well just like that we traveled thousands of miles and tasted ten new toddies in a few short hours! What’s your favorite country to visit while at Epcot? Do you have a favorite cocktail or meal you have to get while visiting? We’d love to hear about it!

Wouldn’t it be nice to be back in Orlando making our way through Epcot and the World Showcase? Who knows…with just a little Pixie Dust anything can happen! Maybe HeliHubby and I will make our return sooner than planned!

 

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

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

Friday Favorite: VINO Edition

Well, as you may or may not of heard, yesterday was apparently National Drink Wine Day. Hello? Could you have a better reason for a celebration? Especially on a Thursday!

Drink Wine Day

Our weekly Friday Favorite could not have come at a better time. During our engagement Adam and I had such a fun time turning nights of registering into Date Nights. The first place we went to register was Pottery Barn. They offer items that work with all of your guest’s budgets- and have a fantastic policy for Newly Newlyweds!

The very first item we put on our register was this super, fancy-dancy, wine opener. I mean, we jokingly put it on the registry because we loved it and said to ourselves, “We will never get it, but lets just do it anyways! Ha! Ha!” Well low and behold if we didn’t get it and the story of how we got it is even better!

The June before our wedding my Mom, Dad and I took a little Road Trip to the GREAT State of Texas to visit my Aunt Tina. She had just had her kitchen redone and a fire pit build in her back yard, so of course we had to go see it in person! A trip to the GREAT State just wouldn’t be the same without a gathering with Aunt Tina’s oh-so-fun friends! What better reason to have a party than having family in town and a newly renovated kitchen? Almost as good of a reason as National Wine Drinking Day! Aunt Tina has some of the MOST fun friends! Everytime we plan a visit to Texas seeing her “family” is a must!

Mom and I spent the day helping Aunt Tina pick up the house and making fun appetizers before her friends arrived. I was (of course) the last to finish getting ready. Once ready I was told to go outside with my Dad and all the husbands…I knew something was up! Much to my surprise Aunt Tina, Mom, all her girl-friends and my cousin, Ashley, came outside wearing crowns and ringing wedding bells! They had planned the whole night for ME and Adam! I was so surprised and didn’t know if I should laugh or cry! A surprise wedding shower and one of my favorites! Each friend brought their favorite bottle of wine and one of their favorite recipes so Adam and I could start our life together with a stocked wine fridge and plenty of recipes! Smart ladies!

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After all the hugs and laughter Aunt Tina brought out another surprise! A rather heavy wrapped box. Everyone was asking, “Do you know what it is? Do you have any guesses?” Umm no y’all…I am pretty shocked at the moment!

I opened it up and much to my surprise it was the Fancy-Dancy Wine Opener!

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Oh-my-gosh y’all! I am still so excited about it! I wish I had pictures of my face! Talk about surprised! I immediately facetimed with Adam to tell him about the surprise party and show him our gift. He was just as surprised and grateful as I was.

It now proudly sits on our bar, in our living room at Casa de Fett. It’s quite the conversation piece and I have to say we do use it often! How? I am not quite sure…it’s so fancy I am scared I am going to break it. Adam is the Official Wine Opener.

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We can’t thank each of your Texas Babes enough  for our wonderful gift ! We absolutely love it and all of you! We’re so thankful to have each of you in our lives and my Aunt Tina is lucky to have you as “sister-friends!”

Do you have a favorite gift from your registry or a favorite bar accessory? Share your go-to’s with us! We’re always adding to our bar and love anything that has to do with wine!

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

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

 

 

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!

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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!!!!

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{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.

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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!

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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!

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 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.

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{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.

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

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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

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Next stop, Sterling Vineyards.

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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!

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 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!

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

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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.

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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!

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{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.

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

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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)

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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!

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

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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!