This post is a continuation of an earlier one – check out Part One here.
So in Part One we covered the basics – transportation, housing and food. Now on to the good stuff – the wine! We went to a total of four wineries over two days, which I felt was a pretty good balance. Not too much wine (apparently that can happen) and definitely not too little wine!
Hall Winery: Wine Tasting 101
We had no idea what to expect going to Hall, which was our first stop on Saturday. We had actually intended to go to a different winery but they were all booked up (note to self: make winery reservations more than 3 days in advance…). But we totally lucked out at Hall!
It’s a newer winery, so the building is really modern with lots of cool art installations. During the class, our instructor Chris, who is a sommelier, taught us all about the different types of wine and gave us lots of information about wine and tastings that we used the rest of the trip.
Grape Stomping at Grgich
Next up was some good old-fashioned grape stomping! I think my expectations were a little high for this excursion (thanks to Lucy & Ethel) so I didn’t love this stop. Grgich offers a wine tasting and grape stomping with a free t shirt for $30, which is a reasonably priced deal.
Having come right from Hall, I was disappointed in the tasting. The employees didn’t know much about the wines and were a bit standoffish. The grape stomping was just a kiddie pool sized “wooden” container full of mostly already smushed grapes. It was a fun thing to do once, but I don’t think I would go back.
Beringer Tour and Tasting
Our last stop for the day on Saturday was Beringer. Now all you recent college graduates might remember Beringer as a classic college wine, perhaps even the first you tried, since it’s so inexpensive. But you might not realize that Beringer was one of the original three California wineries and has been around for well over 100 years!
The tour was really fun! Like several other wineries, they had caves for storing the barrels, which makes for an interesting experience. We got to do a barrel tasting and then a traditional tasting. Our tour guide was fun and it was cool to hear about the winery’s history.
Castello di Amorosa
By Sunday, our group had shrunk from 7 to 3, due to flights. We decided to head a little further north to Calistoga to visit a winery with a replica 13th century Tuscan castle. It was beautiful! And only about 15 min from our house in St. Helena.
We lucked out with another great tour guide. She knew lots of interesting historical and wine-related facts. We did another barrel tasting and then got to choose 5 (five!!) wines to taste. We really enjoyed the tour, but I think it is one best enjoyed in a small group. We had only two other guests along with our group of three and it was a great size.
Sadly, after this we had to head back towards San Francisco 😦 We had a great weekend and would definitely go back!
Have you ever been to Napa? What wineries would you recommend (or not recommend) visiting?