Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sonoma or Bust! (Part II)

Sorry about the delay in posting about Day 2 ... J. had the day off yesterday so we went to the beach :)

We had a slow start on Saturday morning ... but we managed to make it to the rest of the wineries on our itinerary!  We started out at Benziger Family Winery.  It was gorgeous.  We took the tour around the vineyards, which was really interesting and informative.  The vineyard is actually a fully functioning organic farm, with its own recycling center on the premises.  Half of the acres are planted with grapes and the other half are planted with other crops, they've got vegetable gardens and cows, goats and sheep.  It was really interesting to learn about the different methods they use on the farm.  We tasted four wines, but the Chardonnay was by far the best (in my opinion!)  Then we bought some crackers, cheese, salami and a bottle of the Chardonnay and headed outside for a little lunch in the sun.  It was another gorgeous day and Benziger had tables set up for "picnic-ing!"

On the tour:

Barrels of wine in "The Cave:"

L.Rae and I in The Cave:

J. and I in The Cave:

Labels on the barrels:

Look, no hands!  The boys and their wine yokes:

Looking good boys!

Group shot in the "official" wine country vehicle:

A note about Benziger ... they have a sister winery, Imagery Estate Winery, and if you pay for the tour/tasting at Benziger you can taste at Imagery for free.  I think this is a great deal ... most tastings cost $10-20 and a free one is always appreciated!  We didn't taste at Imagery this time, but I've been there in the past and enjoyed it.  

After Benziger, we headed over to the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards ... B.'s favorite and a must-see on our list. This family was so cool.  Two of the Jacuzzi sons immigrated to the West Coast (from Italy) in the early 1900's, making their way down to California.  Their father, a wood-worker and vineyard farmer, joined them in 1911.  They were fascinated by aviation and made several notable improvements to the propeller.  However, a tragic plane crash, which took the life of the one of the Jacuzzi brothers, ended their stint in aviation.  The Jacuzzi brothers then started manufacturing water well pumps and eventually, the bath and spa that bears their name.  The family then got into wine making.  I thought their story was really fascinating!  The vineyard was beautiful, they had olive oil tasting AND their tasting was free.  They had a very extensive tasting menu.  Three of the wines were $1 to taste ... but I'd say that's pretty reasonable!  They also had my favorite ... the Chocolate Wine Shot.  We got them with the dessert port in it ... SO delicious!

The winery was GORGEOUS:

N., me, B. at Jacuzzi:

 J., with his wine yoke, and his new Mrs.:

We ended at Cline Cellars, right across the street from Jacuzzi.  We tasted outside in a big tent that they had set-up.  It was such a gorgeous day so it was great to be outside ... especially for our sun deprived San Fransican ... L.Rae.  Cline also did a free tasting which was very nice ... I think we tried 4 or 5 wines.  And then we proceeded to have one last wine country photo shoot in the parking lot: 

And then we piled into the car and headed back to San Francisco.  We had a quick dinner at Blowfish Sushi, which was AMAZING.  I haven't found a new sushi place in Everett/Seattle yet and this definitely satisfied my sushi craving.  After dinner we went back to L.Rae's and crashed, HARD.  We had such a good night's sleep, which was much needed!  

Come back tomorrow to find out about our last day of vacation ... a few hours of sight-seeing in San Francisco before heading off to the airport!

1 comment:

  1. That looks like so much fun! I've always wanted to visit a winery. Great pics!