In honour of #winewednesday, I thought I would do a quick review of the awesome tour we did on our honeymoon in Napa Valley in 2014. We went through the company Green Dream Tours and it was worth every penny we spent!
Our tour guide picked us up at our bed & breakfast (Washington Square Inn – check it out if you’re looking for a place to stay in San Fran!) around 8:30AM. We were joined by three other couples on the trip in a comfy and spacious bus. We immediately headed out through Oakland to Napa Valley. The weather in San Francisco was awful for August – about 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) – so we were very happy to get to a sunny Napa Valley.
The first stop wasn’t an actual vineyard, but the tasting room for Spelletich Family Winery. They were set up for all of us and the son of the owner/vinter was there to lead us through all of the wine. Unfortunately for me, the wine took effect pretty much immediately (I mean, it’s not like I drink wine at 10:30AM on a regular basis) and I called out my poor husband for hating wine. From that point on every person on our tour was trying to find him a wine that he would like. The bonus of your husband not really liking wine? More for me! He is a good sport about it nonetheless. Anyway, Spelletich provided us with five great wines and a port. I was still trying to be frugal and at this point I only purchased a “flight pack” of four of their wines in travel-friendly sized bottles. I would highly recommend their 3 Spells Chardonnay, despite not being a white wine drinker myself!
After Spelletich, our tour guide took us to the Oxbow Public Market for lunch. This was actually one of the reasons I chose this tour – we got to choose our own lunch from a variety of local vendors in the market. They had a seafood stop, Mexican, a pub with craft beer flights, and much more. I actually enjoyed just sampling different olive oils and breads. This is a great opportunity for you to explore things that Napa has to offer other than wine!
With our bellies full, we were off to the next vineyard – Judd’s Hill Winery. This vineyard has a beautiful setting with plenty of spots for photo ops. We sampled a number of wines with a very knowledgeable sommelier. Our (my) favorite was the pairing of their Old Vine Zinfandel with their homemade BBQ sauce. My resolve was slightly weaker at this point, so we opted to purchase a bottle of both the wine and the sauce to bring home to share (and it actually made it all the way back to Calgary!).
The last stop on our tour was the Andretti Winery. This is a beautiful stop and we really enjoyed ourselves here – taking plenty of photos and sampling wines and other Andretti goods. We purchased a bottle of Pinot Grigio to share with our bus companions along with a few jars of the Sweet Hot Beer Mustard (you MUST try this – it is my favorite dip/spread/mustard maybe ever!).
Upon returning to the bus, our tour guide quizzed us for the chance to win… more wine! Luckily I am a keener and read the pamphlet that he gave us earlier and I knew the answer to his question: What country consumes the most wine per capita in the world? Answer: Luxembourg! Hooray, one bottle for me. We also received a complimentary bottle of wine as it was our honeymoon. So, I can let you count the bottles of wine we had with us at this point (four + little ones). One of the couples on our tour had opted to stay in Napa for the night, so there were only six of us for the beautiful drive home. Another couple on the tour from New Jersey had also purchased a bottle of wine. Now, despite not being a wine drinker, even my husband got in on the fun. Our tour guide provided us with a cork screw and plastic sippy cups to enjoy our wine and the great company all the way back to San Francisco (FYI – about 1.5 hours). It was quite the treat to have a glass of Pinot while driving over the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge.
I know you have many options to choose from for wine tours from San Francisco, but I would highly recommend Green Dream Tours. Their tours are small – never more than 14 people on a tour – and they choose family-run, boutique wineries over the larger, crowded varieties found around Napa. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and he provided us with great commentary and entertainment while on the bus. The fact that they offered us a honeymoon gift was such a nice plus!
Have you ever been to Napa or Sonoma? Where are your favorite places to visit when you’re there?
Stay tuned for another wine Wednesday post from Tuscany!