This past weekend i had an enjoyable day out in Napa and Sonoma Wine Country. Our tour started out with a pickup in San Francisco before heading across the Golden Gate Bridge. After a 10 minute photo stop at the Vista Point we headed north to Sonoma.
Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
The first winery we visited was Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, the family famous for their hot tubs and now wine. Set in a magnificent building with a courtyard, and roman fountain it is the quintessential image of a winery. We had a tasting in a large private hall however there is a tasting bar for those not in groups. We tried all of the wines in the image above, my favorite being La Dolce Vigna. After our wine tasting we explored the grounds and went up into the observation tower for a breathtaking view of the valley. Jacuzzi is also famous for their olive press. You can sample all of the different olive oils and balsamic vinegar in the separate tasting room. Jacuzzi really is a must do if you want that grand opulent winery experience.
Robledo Family Vineyards
Next stop was Robledo Family Winery, founded by Reynaldo Robledo who arrived in America from Mexico at the age of 16. This winery had a more rustic feel to it which was made for a relaxed atmosphere. Most people working at the winery are Robledo family members, including the founder who still works beside his children and grandchildren. We tasted 5 different wines including a very nice Moscato Dessert Wine which wasn’t too sweet. I really liked Robledo, there was a nice feeling to it due to the family atmosphere and the passion they have for their winery and their wine. Go visit La Familia the next time you are in Sonoma Wine Country.
Lunch in Yountville
For lunch we stopped in downtown Yountville. We ate at Ottimo, owned by Micahel Chiarello from Iron Chef fame. They make their own mozzarella on premises and you can choose from some amazing meat and chese plates, personal pizzas and paninis.
After lunch we headed to Markham Vineyards. The tasting manager Steven was great, he was informative and engaging and had everyone laughing. We visited their barrel room which was stacked to the ceiling with wine barrels. It was interesting to smell the oak and let you understand how the barrels affect the taste of the wine. The main tasting room of Markham has a very modern feel, almost like an art gallery. In fact there was a lot of Bay Area and San Francisco related art on display on the walls, featuring the likes of Jerry Garcia and Jimi Hendrix.
Although every wine country tour is not the same and these may not be the wineries on every tour we felt these were great choices and a great day was had by all.