Napa: Winter in the Wineries – Day Two

   It’s time to tell you all about day two of our most recent trip to Napa.  If you missed day one, check it out here.

Our first stop bright and early day two was Chateau Montelena.  If you’ve never seen it before, you should check out the movie about Chateau Montelena’s story called “Bottle Shock.”  Its a great movie and a great story not only about this winery but also about the entire Napa Valley, and California wine-making.

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This winery is breathtaking.  Keep in mind, it’s January so imagine this ivy in the spring and summer when it’s green.

So beautiful.

a1This is the entrance into the tasting room.

a2We have always loved tasting here, and this trip was no exception.  Everyone who works here is SO friendly and SO informative.

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2Our next stop was Bennett Lane Winery.

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The vineyards were so beautiful we had to stop and take some pictures…

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 And then of course, do a little tasting.  They even took us on a little tour through the barrel room.

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After our second tasting it was high time for some lunch.  We stopped at Buster’s Southern BBQ.

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The boys got ribs.

37The girls got steak sandwiches.  They don’t joke around about the spicy BBQ sauce.  It was HOT but really yummy.

 

After lunch we headed out to Tamber Bey, which was my most anticipated stop of the passport wineries.  The pictures I had seen were just beautiful, and it’s also an equestrian facility.

38We had made an appointment here well in advance, and were asked several times to call and let them know if there would be any changes in our plans so that they could fill the appointment with other guests.  I also received two emails from them confirming our appointment.  I gathered from this they must be incredibly busy and a popular location for visitors.  39To our surprise, we had the entire place to ourselves. 40It was certainly as beautiful as the pictures had led me to believe.  However, it did not live up to the hype and follow up that went with scheduling our tasting.  41The tasting was pleasant at best.  And really only because we got to enjoy the incredible view and the ranch cats.

42After this we were really hoping we would have better luck at the next stop, and to our pleasant surprise we found my new favorite place in Calistoga.

Laura Michael Wines.

43How could it be bad when this was how we were greeted…

45The winery has too adorable dogs.  The one above is Rocky.  She greeted us out in the walkway and led us into the tasting room.

44And for the majority of the time, this is where she made herself comfortable.

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We also got to meet both Laura and Michael.  Husband and wife team, who were friendly, informative, and poured us really fabulous wines.  My favorite was this Rose…

34Laura Michael’s is my new must stop location in Calistoga.

After that we headed down the road to another great winery called Lava Vines.

46The tasting room was FULL of people, and had a slightly ‘party’ atmosphere.  It was very casual and laid back.  Here is the ‘tasting menu.’

47It was really fun to say the least.

Our second to  last stop of the day was this place right next door to our hotel.

49Tank Garage Winery.  We all thought this place was an actual gas station.

48  Inside, they had all kinds of cool stuff including a FREE pin ball machine.

50And finally the VERY last stop on the passport tour.  Romeo Vineyards.

a7The evening was beautiful and we got to sit outside and taste.

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It was a great way to wrap up our tasting adventure.

The Winter in the Wineries Passport turned out to be a perfect way to tour and taste in Calistoga.  It was a great investment and led us to taste at a number of locations we may have overlooked at they not been a part of the event.

Calistoga offers so much to visitors, great restaurants, great wineries, and truly great people.  It’s a small farm town community with a small farm town community vibe.  It’s a pleasant and unexpected treat for those who otherwise might lump Napa into the touristy and snooty category.

If you find yourself in Napa, Calistoga is not to be missed.

Cheers as Always!

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12 thoughts on “Napa: Winter in the Wineries – Day Two

  1. Pingback: Napa: Winter in the Wineries – Day One | The Lodge on Haydon

  2. Pingback: Winter in the Wineries | The Lodge on Haydon

  3. I am so glad you enjoyed your visit to Napa Valley. I smile every morning when I wake up here in beautiful Napa. Chateau Montelena is one of my favorite spots and “Bottle Shock” is such a cute movie! I had planned to blog about CM myself but their wines are not consistently vegan. Thanks for sharing!

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      • It was a surprise to me also! Many winemakers “fine” their wine. Fining is done when they want to remove dead yeast cells, grape skins, etc. It essentially helps to filter the wine and can even adjust the flavor of the wine. They add a protein which is often animal product – egg whites, fish bladder, etc. This protein attracts the items they want to remove. My goal is to find wineries that either don’t fine at all or that use vegan-friendly proteins like bentonite clay, diatomaceous earth. In fact, I am doing a cleanse right now using bentonite clay! Many winemakers have been very open about their fining process and some have been very secretive! Wine tasting and blogging about it (as you know) is a pretty awesome job and someone has to do it! lol

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