Wednesday Oct 13th: Wild and Wine-derful Wednesday

We made reservations at Larkmead at 10am since we figured we had been waking up so early.  It was directly across the street from Frank Family, and Catherine had suggested their wine to us before as well.  We got there a little early and walked through their flower garden...such a perfect morning. 

Favorite picture #2 on the trip

They were in the middle of crush, meaning that they have men out in the fields harvesting the grapes all day, everyday until all the vines are picked.  This was the sorter and shaker machine, starting to separate the grapes from their bundles, and then separating all the grapes from their stems. 

This machine was moving at HIGH pace, just go go go Go Go Go GO GO GO!!!

We got a major surprise when our tour guide told us that since it was just us for the morning that he would take us out on the ATV through the vineyard.  That was such a unique experience, getting to see how they separate their varietals and the processes they take to grow vines certain ways compared to others.  Also seeing how different the soils are between different grapes was interesting. 

beautiful view

We tried their wines sitting outside on rocking chairs basking in the sunlight.  We couldn't resist becoming wine club members after the experience we had.  Not to mention their wine was phenomenal.

Next we headed a mile north to Sterling Vineyards.  To get to their facility, you have to ride a gondola to the top of the hilltop.  The views were amazing. 
Cheesing it up

Pretty high up!

They as well were in peak time for crush, so we got to see their whole processing facilities.  Their tour overall was very impressive. 

We'll be drinking those grapes in three years from now.  :-)

View at the top at the look-out.  Larkmead is straight down in the valley in this shot.

 The Bell Towers that are on the Sterling label. 

Our wine tasting

Its slowly becoming fall

Next, we headed off to Chateau Montelena.  We had no idea, but this was just down the street from our hotel.  This is the vineyard that the movie "Bottle Shock" is about, and where Mike Grgich was the winemaker for the infamous "Judgement of Paris" where Napa Chardonnay beat French wine in a blind tasting. 

Again, crush time.

Beautiful french chateau for their building. 

Favorite shot #3 on the trip.  The property holds a man made lake called Jade Lake, with Chinese gardens, wildlife, and flowers everywhere.


We felt like we had enough umph for one more winery, so we headed down to Rutherford Hill.  We didn't get to tour the caves unfortunately, but we did get to try their wine, and it was delicious.

The picture was not meant to capture Terry glowing but rather how large the door was. :-)

 We had dinner that night in downtown Calistoga at Brannan's Grill.  Terry had the Seared Ahi Tuna and I got the Pork Loin.  Mine won by a landslide between the two dishes.  It was another early night for us.

....more to come, and it only gets better!


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