We are becoming Napa regulars. Kate’s parents were in town for her birthday so we did a quick day trip to taste some wine. Driving up we hit a bunch of traffic so we were worried that Napa would be packed. It was a gorgeous 85 degree day after all. But between drivers peeling off to go to the amusement park in Vallejo, heading to Sonoma, and going to the touristy venues within Napa, we were able to visit our favorite wineries with no crowds.
Since most people go to taste wine, get drunk, and don’t buy anything, the wineries are forced to charge tasting fees and push people through as fast as possible. In particular, the larger vineyards have tailored their facilities for tourists. They have paved parking lots, high tasting fees, large productions, rehearsed tours, and no personal attention.
In contrast, every vineyard we went to was fairly empty. They all do small productions which always sold out. They all had a posted tasting fee, which was easily waived with a bit of schmoozing. We tasted a TON of wine (I believe 20 tastings at just 3 vineyards, in just a few hours) and didn’t pay anything for them. The people working at the counter were always incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, and not the least bit snobby. It was perfect.
On this trip we went to Cosentino, Peju, and Hagafen. Combine that with an incredible lunch at Mustard’s… I had an ahi tuna sandwich which was the largest block of tuna i’ve ever had. With fresh ginger and other spices, it was great.
Kate and I have already been to Napa 3 times together. It’s the same distance from SF to Napa as it is to Cupertino, a drive I did everyday when I worked at Apple.
I know we’ll be going back often. It’s one of our favorite places in the world.