Napa

27 May

Booze Bus

I just got back from my San Francisco/Napa Trip and wow was that a whirlwind tour. I flew in late Tuesday, and then Wednesday had a full day of meetings at my vendor’s headquarters in San Mateo. After the “business stuff”, we enjoyed dinner, networking and some wine tasting at Kingfish Restaurant, who I must say did an amazing job on creating a special vegan meal for me. We ended the night early to rest up for our trip to Napa the following morning.

Napa 2012
The incredible view from my vendor’s conference room

Napa 2012
Vegan Tofu and Vegetables over rice at Kingfish Restaurant.

The next morning we got on the road at 7 am for the scenic one and a half hour ride up to the Napa Valley. Once we got to our resort, The Silverado, we had a few quick minutes before we had to board the wine tour “bimo” (limo plus bus equals “bimo”) to head to our first vineyard stop.

Napa 2012Me in the car on my way to Napa.

Napa Trip 2012

The Silverado Resort.

Napa Trip 2012

My private cottage at the resort.

We boarded the bimo at around 9:50 am, and the champagne already started flowing. I don’t think I’ve ever started drinking that early ever.

Napa Trip 2012

Shortly after we reached Cakebread Cellars, where we received a quick tour of the grounds. It was absolutely gorgeous! I’m not a big fan of anything floral, but there were so many beautiful flowers I didn’t know which ones to photograph first.

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa 2012

What I’m Wearing {Jacket: Gift from Jim; Blouse: Macy’s INC (old); Slim chinos: Victoria’s Secret; Flats: Steve Madden (thrifted); Tote: Bijou Fashion Jewlery Store (looks to now be offline? Can’t find the link anymore).}

Napa Trip 2012

After taking it all in, we then got down to business, wine tasting!

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Needless to say after the tasting we were all already a bit silly. Before we knew it, it was time to get back on the bimo and head to vineyard number two… Chateau Montelena

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

After receiving a quick overview of the history of the winery, we were taken inside the “chateau” and were given a tour of the facilities. I found all the equipment visually pretty spectacular. Gives me a new appreciation of where my wine comes from.

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Afterwards we were brought upstairs for our formal tasting. This winery and it’s vintner Jim Barrett are the subject of the 2008 film Bottle Shock, which is about how the winery won the 1976 Judgement of Paris taste test for its Chardonnay. At the time it was a huge upset being Napa wines (or American wines in general) were not highly regarded. Even though they won for their chardonnay, this tasting was heavy on red wines and I usually prefer white wines. It was still really enjoyable and they make some damn good wines.

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

After the tasting, we were all pretty tipsy and in need of a good meal. We enjoyed lunch at the winery in their private event area. The chef was warned in advance a vegan (me!) would be in attendance, and she personally brought me my special meal as well as told me everything in it. It was amazing. I had mini spanikopita bites with vegan cheese, spinach and mushrooms, quinoa salad, grilled veggies and even vegan cookies. My colleagues on the trip were starting to get pretty jealous of my preferred treatment!

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

After lunch it was time to visit winery number three… Frank Family Vineyards.

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

This winery just like all the others was perfectly picturesque. We did our tasting inside their offices with their tasting manager Dennis. Dennis was hilarious and his humor pretty raunchy, which our group totally appreciated. Thank goodness no one from HR went on this trip, they would have had a heart attack.

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

Napa Trip 2012

My favorite part of their office was the clock. We just barely made that cut off that morning!

Napa 2012

After our tasting at Frank Family, we were all pretty beat so we went back to the hotel, took naps and got ready for dinner.

Later on that evening, we dined at Etoile, a local Michelin rated restaurant and had a multi course tasting menu. The chef was kind enough to create a vegan menu for me.

Camera Roll-1862

The food was phenomenal, though I did get a good laugh from my “asparagus forest” appetizer. By far the most bizarre plating I’d ever seen at a restaurant of this caliber. I can’t speak for the wines though being I at that point in the day was so tired from drinking all day I couldn’t stomach even more wine.

Camera Roll-1857

Unfortunately myself and my team couldn’t make it a late night, we had to be up at 3:45 am to catch our early flights back to the east coast the next morning. All in all I had an amazing time, and would love to travel back there some time for a more extended, non-business trip with Jim.

Have you ever been to Napa? Better yet if you are a vegan who has visited Napa, I’d love to hear what your “must visit” restaurants, wineries and resorts are.

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One Response to “Napa”

  1. home, garden, life May 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Thanks for the Napa wine tour, as I have not been. While you recover from your trip, stop by my blog/world! 😉

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