May 23, 2019

#163 California Wine Country

I looked at the wine train and it was so $$ that I started looking around for other options and settled on Platypus tours.  That, my friends, was a great decision.  

Platypus specialized in visiting smaller wineries and work with them to keep their tasting fees pretty low.  (Which is especially great if you don’t really like wine and are just crossing something off your list.)  

Our guide was knowledgeable, and kept us informed and entertained without being corny or annoying.  A guide can make or break any tour, so I really lucked out with this one.

Napa is beautiful, the wine was fine (I still don’t like it), and the other ladies on the tour were great.  We visited 4 wineries with the last being my favorite.

Our first stop was Silenus, a custom crush winery.  

Custom crush means they also rent out their crush pad to other smaller winemakers or individuals.  This is also where we were introduced to the term “patio pounder” which denotes a wine that your basically sit on your patio and drink and drink and drink. 

Next up, David Fulton, a winery that has been run by the same family for 5 or 6 generations.  Our host was the 5th great-grandson of the founder and joked that he looks like the painting that hangs in the tasting room.  He also joked that the great-grandfather looked simultaneously like him and Will Ferrell.  True.

We had lunch on their deck overlooking the vines and it was absolutely delightful.

After lunch, most everyone was feeling the “fun”.  Each tasting was about 4 samples each, and several people bought a glass or 3 for lunch.  I did not as I am a notorious lightweight and don’t really love wine. If you’re going to patio pound, a nice cider is much better, in my opinion.  

We stopped at the famous “Napa” sign for a photo op.  One of the girls is prone to motion sickness and puked her guts out at this stop, then barely hung on until she called an Uber at the next winery.  So, we lost 3 people there.20190504_162405

At Rutherford Ranch the tasting was a wine and chocolate pairing.  The chocolate was delicious.

Our final stop, Razi, this was probably my favorite, not because of the wine.  It was still wine, but we were his last tour of the day so it was a more leisurely stop.  We sat and chatted for quite a while, and for those who did enjoy the wine he was pouring very freely trying, I assume, to finish the bottles by end of day so they didn’t go to waste.

After we were dropped back at the Napa Valley Welcome Center, I grabbed dinner at Basalt and had bread and tomato soup for dinner.  The tomato soup was so good.  Like, seriously, so good. 

The next day, it was good-bye to California and off to Oregon for the next month.