Red, Red Wine…in Napa Valley!

Wine. What a wonderful thing. Whoever thought about smashing grapes to make this delicious drink was a genius. I recently got the opportunity to vacation to San Francisco for the first time. And how can you go to San Francisco without taking a day to go to Wine Country?! Adam and I googled and found a bus tour through Viator called the Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour. It’s an all day tour that starts right in the city and takes you to three wineries in Napa and Sonoma. Neither of us had ever done anything like this and we were super excited!.  We love wine so we were extra pumped to go taste some of the best.

nicholson ranch 1

The day finally came and we headed out of our hotel down the street to the tour bus stop. We got on to a nice coach bus with comfy seats, Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Wi-Fi wasn’t needed though when you’re driving through San Fran, over the Golden Gate Bridge and through the rolling hills of wine country- so many great views to see! We headed out on our journey- our tour guide was great- giving us a bunch of facts and tidbits on the history of San Francisco as we drove through the city. We then got to the Golden Gate Bridge- and it was so foggy- we could barely see anything (I didn’t realize just how foggy San Fran was until now)! As we crossed the bridge and closer to our first stop in Sonoma, it started to get warm and so sunny. Like 20 degrees warmer than it was back in San Francisco.

As we got closer to our first destination, there were less and less houses and more and more rows of grapes. It was beautiful, serene and so peaceful. I had a brief moment where I thought, this is it, I’m moving to wine country! This is the dream! We couldn’t wait to get to the first winery. The first winery we visited was called Nicholson Ranch in Sonoma. When we pulled up it was just as you imagine. A beautiful looking castle type house with perfectly straight rows of grapes that stretched for miles in almost every direction. We got off the bus and boy was it warm! The jacket needed to come off immediately! Still can’t get over the temperature difference from San Fran to Sonoma- they’re only about an hour away. Anyway, they gave us a tour of the vineyard, and told us the history of Nicolson Ranch. All while enjoying our first tasting of wine. We headed back into the tasting room where we had a few more tastings of their delicious wine. Of course, Adam and I bought a bottle on the spot. It was so good! We then were given some time to wander on our own. It was then we found the most peaceful place on earth. I mean look at the view (pic below)! I probably could have sat there all day (maybe even longer) and I would have been totally content. It was like the world stood still and all of the stress of life went away. It was wonderful. Writing this post right now is giving me such an itch to buy a plane ticket right now and go back!


Our next stop was Madonna Estates in Napa.  We stepped off the bus and of course, another beautiful winery. We apparently came at a great time of year where we were able to see the grapes almost ready to be picked. At Madonna Estates, they took us inside the room where they keep all of their barrels of wine. Each barrel of wine contains 300 bottles of wine! I need a barrel for my house… There must have been hundreds of barrels in this room, it was awesome to see. The woman there told us all about the history and how to properly smell and drink our wine to get the full, perfect taste. I won’t tell how- you’ll have to go visit them yourself. We then went into their tasting room where they had a variety of great wines to taste. It really was some of the best wine I’ve ever had. I think I had a few tastings of one specific wine there but can’t remember the name for the life of me- at this point the wine may have been getting to my head. 😉

Good thing lunch was next! The tour bus took us to the cutest little town called Yountville. There were quite a few little restaurants to choose from and quite a few boutique shops in the town. Adam and I ate a delicious meal at Bottega which I also highly recommend. It was such a cute restaurant and a great area, I really didn’t want to leave.

Back to the bus for our third stop. I’m sure most of you have heard of this winery…Sutter Home! It was such a beautiful property. The landscaping was gorgeous and it was great to be able to walk around and see the flowers and trees. It was fun to see a larger more commercial winery as well. We had our tasting there and even though I have drank Sutter Home wine before, it tasted just a little bit better drinking it in Napa Valley.

Adam is not a big sweet wine fan so after talking to our tour guide he actually let us in on a little secret- there was a port winery right next store called Prager. We strolled away from the group so Adam could try some Port Wine. This place was very cool. They had dollar bills all over their walls. It was a very small place and they were super personable and friendly. Adam had a tasting of the Ports (he did share little sips with me!) and he even got to keep the glass! I love souvenirs so I was pumped about this one. I’m glad we got to sneak off and go to Prager. It was a fun little winery that we didn’t expect to be able to go to!

The bus ride home was nice and relaxing. It had been a long day with lots of wine! I think I actually dozed off for a bit. I thought we were back at the hotel when I felt the bus stopping but they actually surprised us and took us to a little tourist point right before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. We got some really cool pictures there and I’m so happy we were able to stop! And able to see the bridge (the fog had finally cleared)! It was such a great day and such a great tour, I would highly recommend it to anyone that is visiting out there. This is a day I will never forget.

Now that I’ve completely reminisced on the day by writing this post, I am definitely ready to go back to Wine Country!


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