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A California Wine Valley Tour Part 2
The first vineyard we visited was the Martinelli Vineyard which was a small family run winery. It was built into the hillside and we were were told of some of the challenges of growing grapes on a terraced hillside rather than in the more traditional rows we had seen at the side of the roads as we travelled.
Here we tasted one white and three red wines and a dessert wine. We chose one bottle of red which we wanted to buy and browsed the little gift shop where we managed to find some unusual Christmas gifts.
The second vineyard was the Harvest Moon Vineyard where Randy, the owner, was very passionate and knowledgeable about his subject, for him, making money comes second to making a good bottle of wine and he didn' t seem too interested in selling wine to us, he just wanted us to really appreciate the flavours and find a wine that each of us really liked, acknowledging that we would each have a different palate. We tasted a sparkling wine, a white wine, three red wines and a dessert wine. We came away with 4 bottles of wine, one white, one red, one sparkling and a dessert wine.
Moving on from Harvest Moon it was just a short trip to the Hook and Ladder Vineyard, so named because it was owned by an ex fire fighter. Sure enough, out at the front of the vineyard was an old fashioned fire engine and the large tasting room (the biggest we had visited so far ) was heavily themed, with firefighters T shirts and helmets all around. Here we made a choice between red or white wine tastings with the other 3 choosing red and me choosing white. Our host here did not really stick to the offerings on the tasting sheet and we seemed to try many different wines. Those small sips of wine really mount up and buy the end of it all the effects were starting to become apparent, there was a lot of giggling so much so that I can' t remember exactly what we purchased here.
Whilst we had been indoors tasting the wine, Pete had been busy setting up our picnic lunch outside in the grounds of the Hook and Ladder Vineyard. The weather had improved, the sun was trying to shine and it was pleasantly warm. The picnic was delicious, there was bread, cheese, meats, olives, tomatoes with mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar and something he called a torte which was made of cheese, pesto, sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts - and water to drink! I think we all needed it by then as the wine was definitely having an effect by this point! When we had finished Pete boxed the leftovers for us to take back to our holiday rental home.
After lunch it was onwards and upwards and we went to a Croatian vineyard called Sunce. By this point the ladies in the party were slowing down down and only sipped at a couple of wines but menfolk kept the flag flying and we end up buying bottle of red and a bottle of port!
Our final visit was to the Korbel vineyard, famous for its champagne. It was a much bigger and far more commercial enterprise where they had a lovely delicatessen and although we did not buy any wine here we bought a huge piece of cheese, some desserts for our evening meal and we all had an ice ream, including Pete!
We arrived back at our holiday home about 4pm just in time to sit in the garden and snooze off the effects of the day before cooking dinner and starting on our wine purchases. If we were to drink them over the following week before we returned to the UK then there was to be no delay.
This was a fabulous day out, very personal and friendly and I wouldn' t hesitate to recommend this tour company, Valley Wine Tours, find them on the Internet!
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