My good friend and former roommate returned from an 8 month trip backpacking around SE Asia and Central America last year. Before embarking on her trip she mentioned that she thought she might want to work in the wine industry when she got back, and she ended up doing just that. She now works at one of the most beautiful wineries in Calistoga (I mean all of them are pretty gorgeous, right?). My treks up to the North Bay usually take me to Sonoma or Napa, so I was excited to explore a new part of Northern California’s wine country – especially with some of my favorite people.
I made the trip to Calistoga with three great friends, one who had moved down to Los Angeles 6 months earlier, so her return and our reunion as a group was really exciting and made for an extra fun trip.
We rented a car and drove up VERY early to get to the winery before the crowd arrived. Allegedly this place gets so crowded that you sometimes can’t get into the tasting room. When my friend suggested we arrive before 10am, my intial reaction was “I don’t think I can drink wine that early” and her response was “Just remember, it’s wine tasting, not wine drinking.” Valid, but I mean, we all know me. That being said, I was the driver this time around so I stayed well-hydrated and reluctantly used the spitoon throughout the day.
This is Tatiana after a 10am wine tasting. #supermodel
Tatiana after a 10am wine tasting also makes her friends pose by the flowers.
Anyway, our first stop was Chateau Montelena, home of the winery whose Chardonnay put California wine on the map at the end of the 1970s. If you haven’t seen or heard of the film Bottle Shock, you will have after visiting the winery because they proudly display it along with other merchandise. I watched the movie before visiting the winery and I give it a 2 out of 5 stars. It’s ok. The story is pretty incredible though, and Chateau Montelena is definitely a place to visit.
We went through the tasting menu and I picked up a bottle of their 2012 Riesling, which surprisingly was my favorite. I tend to stay away from the sweeter whites but this one was delightfully mellow.
Our day continued with visits to a couple more wineries, lunch in downtown Calistoga and a nap in the car around 3pm by a park, with the AC running, because we are adults and wine does that to you.
That face says “I need a nap and I need it now.”
My beautiful friends, in a slightly blurred photo taken by a fellow tourist.
After our group nap in the car, we met up with our friend for dinner when her shift was over, said our goodbyes-for-now to our friend and the wine country sunshine, and made our way back to foggy San Francisco.