Archive for the Napa/Sonoma Trip October 2010 Category

NAPA/SONOMA TRIP OCTOBER 2010 – PRE-TRIP UPDATE #4

Posted in Napa/Sonoma Trip October 2010, Pre-Trip Update #4 with tags , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by ballymote

The trip that was once a year in the distance, is now less than two months away. Hundreds of wineries which had been paired down to 24 have been further paired down. Reservations have been made for dinner for three of our nights.

 The wineries are still subject to change but here is the current line-up.

 NAPA

Del Dotto

Kapcsandy

Alpha-Omega

Shafer

Phelps

Hess Collection (for the art)

Black Cat (invitation from Merrill Lundquist)

 Possibly:  Whitehall Lane & Hendry

 SONOMA

 Bella

Thumbprint

Mayo (Reserve tasting w/food)

Landmark

Chateau St. Jean

Paul Hobbs

 Possibly:  Sojourn & Audelssa

 

We have restaurant reservations for Ad Hoc on October 4th, Bottega on October 5th and Cyrus on October 8th. We may just leave the other nights open for some spontaneity and I am certain we will pass some wineries where we just “drop in”. We would also like to do a leisurely drive to the coast and travel the coast road from Bodega Bay to the town of Jenner,with a nice lunch overlooking the Pacific.

I’m sure I’ll have another update on this trip as we get even closer.

52 Days and counting.

NAPA/SONOMA OCTOBER TRIP – UPDATE #3

Posted in Info on Wine, Napa/Sonoma Trip October 2010, Pre-Trip Update #3 with tags , , on July 1, 2010 by ballymote

In preparation for our trip I had put in a lot of time researching the hundreds of wineries and tasting rooms in Napa and Sonoma.  It was excruciatingly difficult to narrow all the stops I wanted to make down to 4 a day for six days. When at last, I had completed this herculean task of eliminating some great places and arriving at a final list of the 24 chosen ones I came to a startling conclusion…….this isn’t going to work, either. It isn’t going to work because it doesn’t allow time for spontaneity.  It precludes the spur of the moment “let’s stop here, this place looks great.” You just can’t do that when you are on a schedule and afterall, this IS a vacation and should be relaxing. Anyway, I thought I would share the Final 24 with you before it is shredded and a new Final (fewer) list evolves.

TWELVE SONOMA WINERIES TO VISIT

BELLA

THUMBPRINT                ALT CHOICE: BEVAN CELLARS

SIDURI

AUDELSSA

PAUL HOBBS

SOJOURN                    ALT CHOICE: CHATEAU ST. JEAN

MERRY EDWARDS

MAYO (FOOD PAIRING)

 ERNA SCHEIN

JOSEPH SWAN        ALT CHOICE: GLORIA FERRER

PAPAPIETRO PERRY

GUNDLACH-BUNSCHU (PICNIC)

TWELVE NAPA WINERIES TO VISIT

DEL DOTTO

KAPCSANDY             ALT CHOICE: CHAT. MONTELENA

ALPHA-OMEGA       ALT CHOICE: HESS COLLECTION

DAVID ARTHUR

 PHELPS

LARKMEAD              ALT CHOICE: DOMAINE CHANDON

FRANK FAMILY

SHAFER

HOWELL MOUNTAIN

OUTPOST

O’SHAUGHNESSY              ALT CHOICE: NEAL

LADERA

LAMBORN

I’ll be back in a few days with a revised final list that will probably not be the final list, either.

NAPA/SONOMA TRIP OCT 2ND – 9TH – UPDATE #2

Posted in Pre-Trip Update #2 with tags , , , , on May 25, 2010 by ballymote

We are six weeks closer to our trip than when I last wrote about it. All the reservations have been made, restaurants researched, wineries considered and, as for myself, I am totally Trip-Advisored out! Despite all that, each day brings a new search for some detail I may have overlooked. Just when I am certain there are no other search words related to Napa, Sonoma, Food or Wine, I think of a new one and a few hours more are spent in Googleland. If it sounds like I am complaining, I am not. This is part of the fun of travel; the pre-trip details, and I thoroughly enjoy it. My wife, Kathy, and fellow travelers, Carol and Joe, Gerry and Joann have graciously allowed me to do the planning on this venture and it’s important to me that my obsession with wine not interfere with everyone enjoying this trip.

There is certainly more to Napa Valley/ Sonoma and the entire San Francisco Bay area than just wine and we certainly plan on seeing as much as we can. One of the really difficult things for me has been choosing amongst the hundreds of wineries to create a trip that will be both fun and informative. It’s very difficult to properly visit more than four wineries in a day and with four months to go I have already chosen 12 in Sonoma and 12 in Napa. Undoubtedly, some of these will change as many require appointments and as we will be visiting during the busy “crush” season, some will not be able to take visitors.

In the next update I will list the 24 wineries that I have chosen and give some reasons why each is on the list. We may also  name some of the restaurants we would like to visit. Stay tuned!

PILGRAMIGE TO MECCA – NAPA/SONOMA TRIP-OCTOBER 2nd – 9th 2010

Posted in Info on Wine, Napa/Sonoma Trip October 2010 with tags , , , , on April 10, 2010 by ballymote

It’s been over 20 years since my first and only visit to Wine Country so it’s only fitting that my wife, Kathy, and I, along with our good friends, Gerry and JoAnn B. and Joe and Carol B. will make the journey this fall. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the trip with great anticipation. The past few months have already seen a great deal of planning and, from my point of view, that planning and research plays a large role in making a vacation fun.

I thought it might be interesting and informative to readers to share the things I learned in outlining this adventure, and to periodically post here some details on how the trip is shaping up. Consequently, this will be the first of several updates on what, I hope, will be a very enjoyable visit to Napa and Sonoma.

There are a great many decisions yet to be made but we do know that we will be spending the week at the Renaissance Lodge at Sonoma, a Marriott Property. We do intend to spend the first night in San Francisco and are looking into  a nice downtown location. One of the things we are looking forward to during this trip (especially because this is a blog on WINE & FOOD) are the many really good restaurants in the area. At this stage in the planning, we have zeroed in on Gary Danko, for that first night. There is no end to the websites offering advice on wineries and restaurants in that area. My primary sources thus far in the search have been, Trip Advisor, Chowhound, Fodors, and three very informative Wine Boards, the eRobertParker.com, Wine Spectator and Wine Berserkers. There is such an abundance of trip reports and lists of peoples favorites that it almost becomes information overload.

In the weeks and months ahead I will keep you informed of our plans and hopefully, by September we will have created an itinerary that will make this a great trip for all of us. As with all great trips, the real enjoyment is in the planning and anticipation. That is how you take full advantage of any vacation. Once they actually begin, they are almost over! Stay tuned.

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