Yes, we are home…our plane left San Francisco about 2:30 yesterday afternoon and we landed in Houston about 7:45. It was a pretty good flight, but we had the worst seats on the whole dang plane. We were on the VERY last row of the plane…yep, thats right…back there by the bathrooms. Its really great to be home, but its been a very long first day back. We both went back to work today, but luckily tomorrow is a holiday so we get another break. Okay, okay…back to California…
Our third day in California took us out across the Bay Bridge into Oakland and then northward to Napa Valley. This was definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The vineyards literally line the little 2-lane highway as you make your way through the quaint little towns into the Valley. The vineyard of our choice and our destination on this particular day was Beringer Vineyards, the longest continually operating vineyard in Napa. It was founded by a German man named Jacob Beringer who borrowed money from his brother, a New York millionaire to purchase the land. Jacob Beringer and his brother were able to buy 215 acres for $14,500! He quickly began working to make some changes to the land which included building tunnels dug directly into the hills to be used for storing the barrels of wine, keeping them at a constant, cool temperature in the upper 50’s. Even during Prohibition when all of the other vineyards were forced to shut down, Beringer was able to remain open and in operation by receiving special permission from the Federal government and the Catholic church to produce sacramental wines for religious purposes.
The tour we took was a very small tour that led us through the property, even into the vineyards! We got to get up close and personal with the grapevines and got to see how each of the different vines grows. At the beginning of the tour we actually learned how to taste wine, which is a multi-step process and really does make a difference in how the wine tastes. The grapes had just barely started budding, so the vines were still bare, but it was gorgeous nonetheless. As we moved through the property we got to taste different wines and by the time it was all said and done, we had tasted 5 different kinds. One was a Chardonnay, 3 red wines (one was actually out of the barrel, not yet ready for bottling…it had a very intense flavor), and then finally a dessert wine…the last was definitely my favorite. Its called Beringer Nightingale and if you’re looking for a dessert wine, we highly recommend it. At Beringer they also grow other types of fruit including oranges and pears which they use in some of their wines as well.
This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to California. I would love to go back when the grapes have actually started growing to see the vines and how different they look. We finished our day in Napa with lunch in the city of St. Helena (where Beringer vineyard is) and then walked around Main street window shopping. Now…for the pictures.
This is one of my favorite pictures because you can really see the great scenery. This particular vineyard was used for Cabernet grapes.
Us in the vineyard
Up close of the vines…if you look very closely you can see some small buds on the branches
Matt in front of the fountain
Me in front of the orange trees
After leaving Napa Valley, we decided to go out to a place called Battery Spencer which is close to a region called the Marin Headlands. Before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to go back to San Francisco you exit off to the right and go up into the hills for one of the most spectacular views of the bridge and the city anywhere. It was truly a breathtaking experience. Pictures don’t do this bridge justice…it is truly a beautiful piece of construction.
Us in front of the Golden Gate Bridge at Battery Spencer…that is San Francisco on the other side of the bridge
And finally…last but not least…images of us on real San Francisco cable cars…we are the real San Francisco Treat!
And that folks is the end of Day #3 in California. We ended our very busy day with some room service dinner in the hotel. Day #4 to come soon…stay tuned! Happy Easter!