Napa Valley, Calif. By Sarah Lovelace

We will be arriving in beautiful Napa Valley just before the annual harvest. The grapes are plucked from the vines in September and October, but right before they are harvested the air is rich with the scent of ripe grapes. The climate in this area produces wines that favor varietals - which are wines made from a single grape variety such as Cabernet Sauvignon. While we’re here we will be able to enjoy the warm weather, the gorgeous site of grapes changing color as they ripen on the vine and some of the best caliber wine in the country as we kick off our two day California wine country extravaganza! 
We may decide to take a hot air balloon ride and gently float across the gorgeous country side, or maybe we’ll just tour and taste at some of the many vineyards.  

After visiting Napa we head straight to Sonoma so hopefully we’ll be able to appreciate what makes good wine good and why, so that we’re experts when we arrive in Sonoma. Something fun we may want to do while we’re in Napa or Sonoma would be to go to the Pride Mountain Vineyards. This vineyard sits on top of a hill directly in the middle of the two valleys with a stone wall marking the divide, so we would be able to see both famous wine regions at the same time. A few of the other wineries we may want to take tours of include:

-Joseph Phelps Vineyards (at left)

-Black Stallion Winery

-Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards

-Ladera Vineyards

-Spring Mountain Vineyard

(From top) Photo by ah zut courtesy; photo by Abe K courtesy; photo by 2neus courtesy