Thursday, June 24, 2010

[Travel] Gimme Grapes... Wine Tasting Tour

When I started planning the first leg of our trip to Sonoma County, I was overwhelmed.  With over 300 wineries in the county, I was clueless where to start.

I did a bit a researching and online recommendation reading and decided to hire Gene Warren of Healdsburg Area Winery Tours to take all the guess work out.  For $100 each for the day, Gene drove us around for 6 hours and took us to 5 wineries he hand selected based on our varietal preferences. 

Not having to spend hours researching and comparing vineyards and locations, the fear of dui's, and having an educated and experienced local giving us the low down was worth way more than we paid. 

We were picked up at 10am and started our day in Alexander Valley (which is known for the cabernet and chardonnay varietals).  We drove up to a picturesque estate at the top of hill, Robert Young Estate Winery.

The Tasting Room is in the winery here

We were even lucky enough to get a tour of the Wine Cave.
French oak barrels for aging
the events room in the cave
(how awesome would this be for a small wedding, rehearsal dinner, or anniversary party??)
Buds and Bunches Tee - Anthropologie, summer '10 (on sale here)
Hinge Printed Cotton Skirt - Nordstrom, summer '10 (on sale here)
Kimchi Blue Braided O-Ring Stretch Belt - Urban Outfitters, spring '10 (here)
Stormy Grey Morning After Mini Bag (shown below) - Rebecca Minkoff, winter '10 (here or here)

Next up was DeLormier, home to the cutest cocker spaniel that I didn't get to take a picture of because I was too busy playing. 

The tasting we had here was awesome.  We were able to taste two wines side by side to compare them, like a Cabernet Sauvignon from 2005 vs 2006.  We went through so many pairs, I lost count.

I mean, it was just about noon.
Tasting Room

After that we decided it was time to take our picnic lunch and get a breather (and some water).  Gene drove us to our next destination, Dutcher Crossing, where we picnic'd outside among the most beautiful landscape east of Hawaii.
We picked up some gourmet sandwiches at Oakville Grocery before we got picked up and they just hit the (half buzzed) spot.  Then the lovely ladies of Dutcher Crossing brought us some delicious homemade dessert. YUM!
After lunch, we had a tasting in Dutcher Crossing's tasting room and from there things get a bit hazy.  We moved further into the Russian River Valley (king of Pinot- my fav), so I'll cut the commentary and just finish posting pictures....

The gardens at C. Donatiello...
lots of lemons

Last up, Arista Winery, with their tasty pinot noirs and beautiful Japanese gardens...
miles of vines...
little worse for wear....

Once again, time for bed before the sun sets... ha.


  1. OMG, looked soooo fun. You also definitely look progressively drunker, HAHAH! :) You did look adorbs, tho, totally.

  2. Oh, that scenery is gorgeous!!!! I'm jealous!!! :)
    And I see you got the skirt from Nordstrom, it looks great. I, sadly, had to pass on it.

  3. Love your outfit E! So perfect for the wineries.

    What a great idea to get the driver/guide.

    Looks like such a fun trip, I am loving that courtyard!

  4. so fun!! we went to San Fran last spring, and we really regret not making it to the wine country. Guess we will have to go back some day! Love your wine-tasting outfit!

  5. Justine - haha def! I'm surprised I even posted the last pic of us... I did leave a few out haha...

    Fshnonmymind - I did! They actually had it instore in my size so I grabbed it :)

    Andi - The driver was the best thing, I highly recommend to anyone going to that area. It was a blast.

    CL - You'll def have to get back to wine country... we are already talking about going back in a few years maybe with another couple or two. It's a pricier vacation (mainly bc we are East Coasters), but it was so much fun!


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