I am going to totally switch gears for a minute here and talk about something I love and I know many of you do too…WINE!
I remember always getting that White Zin kind of wine at weddings and events thinking I was so cool and of course it was pink so it was a pretty drink. Every time I drank a glass I thought to myself “How grown up do I look…I’m sure I look so sophisticated.”
HaHa is that crazy or what…BUT I know I’m not the only one, right?? I know there’s are several of you out there with me, whether you want to admit it to me or not!
Honestly, I didn’t get really into wine until I was about 24. I had this super cool job doing event planning and marketing and had extra tickets to this huge wine tasting event. James and I were still dating at the time and I knew his parents were also into wine and loved going to tastings so the four of us went to this event. I have to tell you I remember not liking a single one…well maybe one or two. But, I just didn’t get it. However, over the next year I had a ton of events for work and even went to a few fun tasting events with my in-laws and all of a sudden I liked it. Just like that. There was no turning back for me. I loved wine, well champagne will always be my first love, but wine is so good.
Ok, so before I sound like I’m a complete wino, I have to say I only have a glass or two once a week to every other week. Y’all I have kids, mama can’t handle much more than that…..UNLESS there is a trip to Wine Country involved.
Living near California’s most notable Wine Country I get asked ALL OF THE TIME for suggestions on where to go wine tasting. I have been to a ton of different places here in Nor Cal, but have also been to The Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. But, today I want to share my most recent trips up to The Valley, you may have seen it on my Stories.
I have to admit, I will probably never suggest any of the obvious places, because that is just not my style. I mean places like Sterling, Castello di Amorosa and even Beringer are definitely places to visit at least once if you’ve never been to The Valley because they have such amazing tourist sites within them. Like the gondola at Sterling, Castello di Amorosa is this super cool mid evil castle and Beringer offers a pretty cool cave tour, which all make for fun winery visits. And although these places all have great crowd pleasing wines, I mean my mom found something at both Sterling and The Castle….and she is definitely NOT a wine drinker, they just don’t fulfill my palette.
Here is a list of the last 8 places I have visited for tastings in the past couple of months (these are in order of visiting, not the order of recommendation):
This place is so pretty and is perfect if you love sparkling wine/champagne. They offer a variety of styles including a sparkling rose...better believe I snagged that one, it was so good! Mumm features a great patio with plenty of seating and it’s a perfect spot to hang out for a little while and sip some bubbly. I honestly think my mom, sister and I were here for over an hour. One of the great things about Mumm is they don’t require a reservation so you can just show up and taste. So whether you plan your visit or decide to add it on, you’re all set to just pop in and get started.
Ok so this is actually located off Saint Helena Hwy, and it is the cutest little spot. Once you walk into the tasting room you’re greeted with a splash of one of their white wines, and then escorted to their patio. You guys you feel like your sitting in your backyard sipping on some wine with your friends. It is so cute and my favorite part was our host talked about each wine, as well as told us the history behind the wine and how the owners met and fell in love over their love of wine…So romantic. Besides this, the wine are fantastic. I ended buying the Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak (2013 here), Grenache Mendicino and the Chenin Blanc
This place has been one of my favorites lately. It’s set in a house and you taste on the back porch over looking some of their vineyards. This place allows you to walk the grounds and is a great place to snap a photo within the vines. One of the cool things about this place is its organic and dry farming practices. I have been here a few times because it’s that good, it’s just a peaceful spot (must note that I always go up during the week when it’s not very busy. Wines I have are: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah and the Rose. This is also another by appointment only spots.
When you see the drive up to this tasting room, you are in awe of the fun trees over the driveway. I had never been here, but it had good ratings and the drive up into the tasting room sold me immediately. They offer a great selection, even something our pouring host referred to as the porch pounder, which my mom bought 2 bottles of. Such a great place and the census favorite was the Peju 50/50, this was one of my favorites, but we also picked up the Syrah. This is an open tasting room, no appointment needed.
It’s pretty cool inside, but nothing super special…kind of reminds me of a log cabin inside. Totally cute and a super relaxed and chill vibe. My sis bought a couple of wines from here and loves them. Honestly, it was our fifth stop for the day, I was hot, tired and at my limit for the day so unfortunately, I didn’t allow myself the best experience here. The wines are rated pretty good and I have had their higher distributed wines out at a restaurant and they are solid, great go-to options.
There is so much to say about this place, from the amazing outdoor water feature, to the chill patio and the AMAZING wines. One of my girlfriends is a member here so we typically like to come here for a quick free tasting (included in membership) and its also pretty empty first thing in the morning (10 AMish). Wines I have from here are Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Verdot. Reservations for a tasting aren’t required, but I would recommend it because they do fill up pretty fast.
So I would put this on my must visit every time list. The place itself is gorgeous, from the architecture, the decor, and the outstanding view…I could seriously sit outside all day on the patio enjoying the peaceful view. These wines are for serious wine drinkers, as it’s not a cheap place to taste or buy wine. The tasting fee is $75 a person and I think it’s only waived if you buy 6 bottles of wine (and these are not cheap like $75+). Joseph Phelps is known for their Insignia and after this trip, I can see why. Oh my was it delish. They were actually pouring two different years, I love being able to try verticals of a wine to see how they slightly differ from year to year. Also, note this is appointment only tasting
Another one that is located in the cutest white house and I couldn’t get over the all of the pretty flowers and landscaping…truly a beautiful winery. I love that the tasting is setup around a large dining table…you know family style, I think it’s fun being able to chat with others and learn from them other places to check out. I will say if you are not a red wine drinker then this is not your place, as all but the first one were red. A unique thing about Nickel & Nickel is they focus on single vineyard wines, which you don’t always see a lot of. I took away a couple of bottles, including the Sori Bracco Cabernet Sauvignon and En Route Pinot
Alright so that’s a quick little round up of the places I’ve recently tasted at. I’d love hear your favorite wines that are based out of the Napa and Sonoma Regions, whether you have been there or not. I am always looking for new suggestions on wines to try and even more so I’d love to try and visit those places for you so you know what to expect if you are planning a trip out this way.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a fantastic week! Please let me know if you like this kind of posts, so I know if I should do another one from here or even other wine country’s I’ve been to!
I love the Riedel wine glasses. I did a tasting once comparing wine in a Riedel wine glass verse a standard glass you can pick up anywhere and let me tell you, the wine tastes SOO much better! So I have linked to both the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Chardonnay glasses that you can use for pretty much anything, but have also linked a some fun glasses that are great for entertainment.