To celebrate the long weekend, we headed to wine country. Originally, we looked into renting a car and finding a hotel, or possibly a package deal through the wine train, but it all started to add up into much more than we wanted to spend. A lot of hotels had a 3-night minimum for the holiday weekend, which would’ve meant adding a pet sitter fee into the mix. So we settled on a day trip with Napa Valley Wine Country Tours, which left from Union Square.
Funny fact – when my BFF Heather visited in 2011, we used the same company but a different package. But when we signed in on Saturday morning, we had the same driver and he actually remembered me! I didn’t recognize him right off, but the very first thing he said to me was, “Are you from Mississippi?” I guess he’s got a good memory!
Our tour bus was a “limbusine” – AKA a party bus!
It was actually pretty fun to sit across from everyone else, and by the end of the day we all knew each other. And there was lots of music to choose from when we were driving – the bus favorites were Abba and Michael Jackson.
Our first quick stop was at the Golden Gate Bridge Overlook. Not exactly the best view of the bridge, but pretty views of the water and city line.
And look – Nob Hill!
On the way to the first winery, we passed around breakfast foods (croisants, bagels, and bananas) and mimosas. When we arrived at Jacuzzi, the winery had just opened its doors for the day.
We did a tasting of five wines, then tasted a few olive oils and walked the grounds. There was a wedding party rehearsing – what a gorgeous place to get married!
My favorite part was the fountain – and someone gave the statue some shades for the sun!
The second winery was Vicasa. I think the vista was my favorite, although we didn’t have much time to enjoy the view. The wine tasting went a little long, so that by the time it was over there wasn’t much time to look around. We did buy a bottle of rose from the tasting, the one we both liked best.
Before the third winery, we stopped by Sonoma Cheese Factory for a cheese and gelato tasting. I had to have the triple espresso bean gelato – so good!
Next we stopped by Madonna Winery. There was a quick overview in the refrigerated wine cellar, then another tasting.
Outside, there were picnic tables and lunch provided by the tour company. The most fun part was getting to know other people on the tour – lots of visitors from Canada, and stories from their visit to San Fran.
The final winery was Reata. There was a wine club party going on in the big tasting room, so we were in a smaller room for the tasting. We enjoyed the wines but not enough to buy any more.
The grounds were pretty, but there was a long stretch of time while the driver calculated all the payment.
This was probably the only time during the day that dragged a bit – we were rushed through the first two wineries and barely had any time to look around, but then at the last one we were just standing for about half an hour with nothing to do. So that was a little weird, but other than that we really enjoyed the day. And hey – plenty of time for more pics!
And for full disclosure, we paid $99 each to visit four wineries (only one tasting fee) with breakfast and lunch included. I think it was a pretty good deal!
All in all, it was a great day to get out of the city. The weather was gorgeous, and it was fun to meet other people visiting San Fran. Everyone was tired on the way home… I think we both nodded off at some point but I was the only one who caught it on camera 🙂
It was also fun to go home at the end of the day, instead of a hotel! There are definitely perks to playing tourist 🙂
More city sights coming soon as we explore San Francisco!