California Wine Country Getaway

If you follow me on Twitter you know I was recently in California’s Wine Country, again! It was great to see old friends and make new ones, as well as drink some AMAZING wines! Today I’d like to share a recap in photos of the trip.

how good is that


Arriving into Wine Country from San Francisco, the landscape looks like a watercolor painting!


First stop in Napa was to visit our friends the John and Cynthia Kasten. They make Kasten Family Wines. Kevin and I fell in love with their wines years ago and love that we now call them friends! They just built this beautiful barn on the property, thinking it might be the perfect location for a wedding, hint hint! 

Kasten grapes

The grapes were beautiful, these were actually harvested at night the following evening! Can’t wait to drink these!

Kasten view

The view from the loft in the barn!

Kasten Barn

The barn was just built but it looks like it’s been there for years.

  Kasten truck


Next up we had to visit Mark Herold Wines. We had wines to pick up since we are club members and well we had to taste them as well! 

Mark Herold

There is never an empty glass when visiting the tasting room, right down from the Oxbow Market!


After visiting the guys at Mark Herold we had planned to eat at ZUZU as it is tradition. I was craving their Boquerones. Sadly they had a terrible kitchen fire and were closed, but thankfully they have gotten everything cleaned and fixed and are now back in business! 

A few years back we visited Robert Sinskey Vineyards on the Silverado Trail and fell in love. The wines are delicious, they pair the tasting with gourmet foods, and the Vineyard and building is beautiful. On our first trip here we bought a bottle of their POV, and it had a tragic accident, it fell out of the car and shattered in a Los Angeles parking lot. Ever since that dreadful night it’s been my mission to get back to visit and buy a replacement! 

RSV Robert Sinskey Robert Sinskey 2

I highly recommend visiting this Winery since they have such an emphasis on wine and food.  They even have a garden right in front of the tasting hall. 

Shaun in RSV garden

I loved how they had the pumpkins growing on the arbor.

Hanging Pumpkins RS black tomatoes RS eggplants Shaun walking thru RS GardenRS Vines

Up the Silverado Trail we then went to PlumpJack Winery which is co-founded by California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom. The location was beautiful and the wines were amazing. It was hard to select a favorite but Kevin and I did buy 2 bottles of the Merlot. The 2013 Merlot is bold and delicious.  They also had beautiful Olive trees on the property. 



Plumpjack wines Plumpjack

That evening we had dinner with our good friend Tammy at Bistro Don Giovanni. The food delicious, we shared three of the fresh pasta dishes, as well as 2 amazing desserts. 


The next two days we left Napa Valley and went to Sonoma County. We started the day in  Healdsburg and had a delicious lunch at the Healdsburg Bar & Grill, sitting outside enjoying a delicious perfectly cooked burger and a glass of wine is heaven on earth!  Our first wine tasting of the day we actually just went next door to taste at Kendall Jackson. I think a lot of us give Kendall Jackson a bad name since they are mainly known for mass produced oaky Chardonnay. Let me tell you they have so much more, everything we tried at the tasting room/restaurant was so good. 

kj tasting room

The tasting room was nicely designed.

Kendall Jackson

We then walked around Healdsburg and ended up at the Oakville Grocery. This is a secondary location but it’s still amazing. Oakville Grocery is the oldest continually operating grocery in California. We had to take a look around and have a cookie.  I had a salted chocolate chunk cookie, and Kevin had this carrot cake sandwich cookie, (great idea, I’m working on my own recipe).

Oakville Grocery 

That evening we went to our favorite restaurant in Sausalito Copita Tequileria y Comida. The food is always amazing, it’s owned by the Chef of PBS fame Joanne Weir. She has a new cookbook out called Kitchen Gypsy, and every recipe looks delicious. She took time to chat with Kevin and I which is always a treat. She will be in Seattle at the Hot Stove Society in December and I look forward to seeing her again! 

Joanne Weir

Our next wine adventure took us to Sonoma! I wanted to try a new place, since we always go to our favorites. So we stumbled into Adobe Road Wines. From the first sip we knew that the wines were different but amazing. We sampled all that they had on the tasting menu and the two that stood out were the Cabernet Franc and the Viognier. The Cab Franc was just a glass of full beauty. The Viognier was unlike any I’ve had before, the strong floral nose gave way to a long crisp orange finish. Adobe Road is a fascinating winery as they also own TRG-Aston Martin Racing, fast cars and good wine! 

Adobe Road

Each was as good as the last if not better!

Next up we visited Roche Winery which is a favorite, great wine, affordable prices and great people.  We enjoyed a few tastes, even some from the barrels, and met more great people, even a couple from Seattle! 


Reserve is amazing but then again so is the non reserve!

Roche Barrels

I love tasting from the barrel, we bought futures from the barrels back in May, which we will get next year!

After leaving Sonoma we went thru Kenwood and stopped at a very large winery. Kunde Family Winery, it pulled us in because they offer mountain top wine tastings. Sadly we were to late to take the shuttle up, but we could taste in the tasting room. This place is huge, we had a very lovely lady serve us and it was enjoyable.  The wine was not a favorite of Kevin’s and mine but thats the great thing about going to wine country you get to find what exactly you like. The family owns over a thousand acres and they are beautiful. Actually one of our favorite movies Bottle Shock was filmed partially on the property. The grove of trees is where they filmed the boxing scene! 


Watch Bottle Shock and you will see these trees!


Our last day was spent in Calistoga and Napa. We started the day off by going to the amazing Chateau Montalena, if you don’t know about this winery watch Bottle Shock! We enjoyed some wine and bought into the future! 

KS Chateau Montalena

Our yearly ‘wine portrait’

Chateau Montalena

Calistoga’s climate is amazing, the plants that can grow!

Chateau Montalena 2

Looks quiet but there was a lot of work going on, since we were here during harvest.

Next we had a lunch at a favorite restaurant in Calistoga, Evangeline. We first ate here in May and have craved the delicious food ever since. Kevin and I ordered 4 small dishes and shared them all since we couldn’t decide what to have. 

Calistoga Lunch

Fried Pickles, Croque Madame, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Roast Beef Salad

Since we were in Calistoga we had to see our friends at August Briggs and get some of their delicious wine to bring home! I love all their wines and have found so does every one else. They make single varietal wines and one blend which is called Wishes and it’s to die for. We sampled and purchased the Charbono, this wine is rare as there are only 89 acres of this grape in all of California!

August Briggs

We enjoyed a great dinner outside in Napa at Hog Island Oyster Co. at the Oxbow Public Market. We ate our fair share of oysters but also enjoyed a Brussels Sprout Caesar salad,  it was so yummy, I of course will be coming up with my take on it this weekend, recipe coming soon. 

Hog Island OystersBrussels Caesar

Finally our last stop was where it began years ago. The place that has helped shape our love for good wine and California, The Napa General Store. Tammy has not just educated us on wine but also become a friend. In fact she took us to Fortunati last fall and we got to have a private tasting on the wine makers back deck!  We look forward to many more wines and times in California’s Wine Country! 

Napa General StoreCalistoga Napa Valley Sunset

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