After we took in a little of the post-race festivities (drank a couple glasses of complimentary wine from various vineyards at the finish line and posed for some more pictures), we headed back to our hotel room. We still had a full day ahead of us after all!
At the advice of many people prior to our trip, we decided to hire a driver to take us to our selected winery choices this day as to not have to worry about navigation/directions and getting behind the wheel a little too woozy. Best decision ever! Our driver was Deborah Welsh with “Let’s Roll Designated Drivers and Wine Tours”. If you would like her contact information, please email me. I highly recommend her – we had a ball!
Our first winery on the itinerary was Kuleto Estate. The property and grounds were stunning!
A few tidbits about this winery:
- In 1992 Pat Kuleto, a culinary entrepreneur purchased 761 acres of rugged terrain in the mountains of Eastern Napa Valley.
- Planting began in 1993 with a handful of micro-blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Over the next few years, small blocks of Syrah, Zinfandel, Muscat and a number of blending varieties were added to the property.
- Construction of the Kuleto winery began in 1999 and was completed in 2001. In addition to the vineyards beautiful roses, an assortment of crops and herbs and various animals can be seen when walking the property.
I really enjoyed seeing this winery and tasting their various wines. It felt good to walk around and stretch our legs a bit after the race. After the tour we headed to a set table to enjoy more wine tastings and cheese and crackers. I ended up buying a bottle of the Moscato for a friend’s upcoming birthday present, but had to leave it at the airport at the end of my trip. (Much more on this later…) I didn’t particularly enjoy the wine, but I knew my friend would have. Oh well.
A little over an hour later we were back in the car heading to our second winery of the day, Caymus Vineyards! My friend Katie who had been to Napa recently suggested this winery to me.
A few tidbits about this winery:
- In 1971 Charles F. Wagner and his wife Lorna Belle Glos Wagner asked their son Chuck, who had just graduated from high school, if he would be interested in joining them in starting up a winery. He accepted their offer and the Wagners produced their first vintage in 1972, which consisted of 240 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon. Focusing their efforts in the production of quality Cabernet Sauvignon today they produce 65,000 cases .
- Caymus remains 100% family-owned by the Wagners.
- Caymus Vineyards produces two Cabernets Sauvignons – a “Napa Valley” and the venerable “Special Selection”.
- The Caymus Special Selection is the flagship wine of the Wagner family and is comprised of the very best barrels of the vintage and isn’t produced in difficult years.
We ended up having a semi-private tasting, as there was only one other couple in our tasting since a group of seven ended up not coming. More wine for us we reasoned. 🙂 Christina loved and bought several bottles of their Napa Valley Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.
The property was very picturesque. I especially loved the large patio in the front for drinking and eating, very peaceful!
Our last winery was Alpha Omega, which had been strongly recommended to us by one of our sorority sisters, Kathryn.
- Robin Baggett and Eric Sklar shared a vision to build a new winery that created some of the finest wines in the world, while evoking the hospitality of this farming community.
- Alpha Omega is one of Napa’s newest boutique wineries, and is described as a rustic farm-style winery.
- Alpha Omega has acquired sought after vineyards all over Napa Valley:Spring Mountain, St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville, Atlas Peak, Oak Knoll, Wild Horse Valley, Calistoga, Carneros, and Jameson Canyon including the historically well-known To Kalon, Stagecoach and Newton Vineyards.
- In addition to the vineyards on the Alpha Omega winery property, the winemakers strongly believe in sourcing grapes from terroirs representing different appellations in Napa Valley in order to bring a completely different complexity and aromatic profile to their wines.
I bought a delicious bottle of their Sauvignon Blanc which was supposed to be for my enjoyment, but has since changed intent (more on this later).
Needless to say we were a little tired and wined out as we made our way back to the hotel after a very long day. We made sure to snap some photos along the way though. 🙂
A couple of hours later of chatting and napping, we were back on the road (sans Deborah) to enjoy a tasty meal at Solbar in Calistoga that had also been highly recommended to us.
The restaurant was actually apart of a beautiful resort. (One that I wouldn’t mind staying at the next time I come here!) The restaurant space was incredible, very modern and inviting. We decided to sit outside to enjoy the beautiful wine country air.
After dinner we drove home and then immediately went to sleep, eager for the next day’s adventure!