Friday, December 26, 2014

Gifts from Napa

The gifts have been unwrapped and the family is all cozied up together for the holiday season! After feeling particularly proud of my wrapping of my Mom's present-- wine from Napa in a branded box and fancy wrapping paper--I realized I never shared one of my favorite memories since my move up to the Bay Area.  I didn't go on too many big trips this year--though graduating, getting a job and apartment, moving to a new city, and family emergencies have been more than enough adventure for one year--but I did check another thing off my bucket list! With Scott's secret planning, he whisked me away for a quick trip north of the city to go wine tasting in Napa and explore Petaluma for an afternoon.

We drove up to the Castillo de Amorosa winery in Napa and after my giddy freak out, Scott and I parked the car and instantly set out exploring. The whole winery is built to look like an Italian castle, and the building materials actually came from Tuscany. Scott had signed us up for a tour, so we grabbed some pictures of the flowers, vineyards, views and sampled grape seed oil before meeting our enthusiastic tour guide.

After pointing out the careful details of the decoration and walking around the castle, our tour finally made our way down to the cellars and learned more about the wine we were going to taste. It was so fun seeing the rows and rows of barrels underground, and we made a stop to taste wine that was still fermenting.

Finally, it was time to actually wine taste! Scott splurged and bought us the better wine tasting package so we got to try a ton of different wines. The experience of being in a dimly lit wine cellar trying glasses of $80 bottles of wine in Napa was exhilarating and hilarious at the same time. Scott and I had fun acting fancier than we were while both admitting that at this point of in our lives wine tastes like wine. One exception was a dessert wine that tasted like "liquid gold," and I could have the whole bottle of sweet wine.

Scott and I got caught up in our wine tasting experience and totally got sucked into the gift shop allure. We got three bottles of a Pinot Grigio that we had liked and I threw in an adorable wood box with the winery logo stamped on. I've had two bottles and the box decorating my room for so long, it's nice that I could finally give the gifts away today for Christmas! And I even have to admit the cute box looks even better in my Mom's kitchen.

We ended our wine tasting trip back at the car, but not before sneaking a grape or two from the vine! 

The rest of the night was filled with lots and lots of sushi for dinner before checking into our hotel and watching some guilty pleasure reality TV. 

The next morning we started our drive back to SF with plans (by Scott) to stop in Petaluma for a fun lunch. We grabbed a patio seat at a restaurant right by the river that runs through the town. While eating we saw a little brewery across the water, and decided to check it out after we paid our check. Sitting on a patio now on the opposite side of the river, we tried a few beers including a sample of mead for the first time. 

We ended the weekend's little day trip by looking through a few of the many antique shops that lined the downtown street before stopping at a retro ice cream parlor for some sundaes.

Napa and Petaluma was a perfect mini trip and a fun part of exploring a new part of the Bay Area. It also makes me happy that I could turn an amazing weekend into a great story and gift for my Mom and grandparents during the holidays (especially if it means I get another glass)! Tis the season after all!

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