I blogged about my first visit to wine country in the middle-1980s, but since that time I’ve been there often.
Napa’s been way touristy for years, so my “go to” places are Sonoma, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek–neatly planted rows of vines on rolling hills that bud green in the spring, grow ponderously heavy in summer and are stripped bare at fall harvest. Every season has its pleasures, although summer is HOT and I stay away from the wine country then.
I was once married to a man who loved and collected wine and he was kind enough to introduce me to a fun little winery called Gundlach Bundschu. In April, I brought my husband and friends there for a vineyard tour and tasting.
First, how to pronounce the name? Our tour guide did a little shtick. See it on video here:
I won’t tell you the history, you can Google it to find out, but Gundlach Bundschu wines are some of the nicest I’ve tasted and it was fun to walk the vineyard a bit with a guide.
We were close up and personal with the vineyard. Now, lots of wine country residents plant small vineyards on their properties and sell the grapes to big producers. That sounded like fun, and I hoped secretly that my ex wanted to do that when we were together. Alas, no. But I enjoy spending time with the vines when I visit.
Our tour included a walking tasting in the vineyard. These glasses awaited us at the start of our walk. We each took one and periodically, our guide would talk about the particular wine and pour for us. (Note to Audrey: yes we will do this tour!) I love the charming presentation above.
After our vineyard tasting, we had a second one in the wine cave.
In the dim cave, we sat at a long table and tasted more wine.
All around us, wine was aging in huge barrels. It was hard not to feel a sense of reverence at this time-honored process that would yield so much enjoyment.
And at least a couple times a year, all roads from our house lead there.