We started our Day 2 to spend in the NAPA VALLEY which is famous for world's best wines. I had this place on top of my wish list and my friend S booked for a tour package (Napa tours with Ferry ocean ride).
My "Wine interest":
I studied in SCISM school - an institution funded by Christian missionary and heard, seen people in church taste wine after their prayers as prasatham as in our Hindu temple. Right from childhood days, I had interest in wines. I always wanted to taste the BEST wines but anyhow had no nerve to taste some which we get in Indian cities also. (Well,in India, "alcohol consumption by women" is a topic put for debate even in this modern era where we talk about women empowerment, equal rights, blah blah ..) So I somewhere read about these Italian wines, Napa wines in my early college days and wished to taste those if I were visiting those places in my life. One of them happened really now.
Back to the point, we started from home by early 6'o clock on a cab from Fremont to SFO city where we have to report in front of the PIER-39 building to the Napa City tours. In our planning history for the first time we reached the place well before 40 minutes:D, so we just walked on the street which is near to the Pacific bay and It is such a breath-taking view that someone has sketched up the scene and am looking at a painting only. Then I witnessed the sunrise slowly clearing the Bay Bridge. That's a perfect start for the day.
A man with Red jacket with a black hat welcomed us to the tours and we started our DAY 2! He looked cute by his face and I dint hear his name when he introduced himself to us😛 And now we settled in our seats in the bus and he started narrating the stories about the SFO city.
And now the excitement within me is ramping up as we move in the city streets and joining the highway leading to the Napa villages. We reached the SFO- orange bridge view point and halted for some 15 minutes to take a quick look at the bridge. To my dismay, the orangieeee is not showing up to me with fully fog covered up. I could see the complete bluish- green water of the Pacific and the outline of the bridge only.
We started back to the Napa villages and travelling on the village roads.
I was taken aback to my childhood days when travelling with my family in our TN transport bus to Cumbum waterfalls with roads on both sides covered by grape yards and myself sitting in window seat and my appa explaining about the soil - minerals, weather and other geographical factors which maketh the grapes harvesting in Cumbum valley and I used to fall asleep on him even before he finishes his lecture. Well geography! - I can't help myself thinking of Noble Sir (Soils- lesson 4 in 10th std Geography syllabus)🙂.
And here now, the cute Red-jacket tour guide was explaining all the facts about the Napa valley, their business, people's lifestyle etc. We all were reminded of Munnar tea estate rides also and were talking about that too.
Well, now let me share some facts about this Napa region. This beautiful region has some sad face too. Yes, it is an earthquake-prone area and the latest earthquake hit approximately a month before - that was the time we were also planning for this trip and that got cancelled.
In 1906, an earthquake marking 8.6 at Richter scale left bad scars to the city. And even today the people never know when the next will hit. It just comes, takes away everything and goes. Some reconstruct, some move apart to other places and I felt that speaks for the attitude of the people here - "Whatever comes, let's live the moment as tomorrow is uncertain". And how earthquakes affect the wine business? - Well, the wine making takes years and years to brew and get the best wines. They invest TIME in this business and the wine out of those many years will just be spoilt in few seconds of earth quake - Years are lost in seconds for them. All these stories, a wine yard-brewery owner was sharing his feelings with us.
And this region is famous for the harvest of largest pumpkins and you can see one behind her in the below pic. Believe, that's one real on earth :O
They took us to 4 wine yards each 60-90 minutes tour that explores the family history and wine-making process. The wine yard spokes-person narrates extensively about their history, business background, and their long-roots in this business, their quality, specialty of their wine brewing methods taking us a tour in to their yards filling our glasses with the perfect wines and our mind with the history of the wine you taste.
These wine yards have extensive eat-outs with Italian, Spanish and Mexican food items. They serve chicken, pork, ham, beef and a lot of veggie items too and even a vegetarian can have good meal out here. There are proper rest-room facilities with good sanitation too.
You have to make a payment of 10-20 $ to taste the best and the oldest of their wines.
FRANCISCAN : The first wine yard we visited and a 6 feet hulk-like person explained his family business and presented us their best 4 wines of their brewery to taste. I clicked pics of some which were in display for sale too.
V.SATTUI : This is a little big winery and they let us taste 6 wines out of their best 25 for 10 $. I went for one shot- 6 wines little concerned that I should not get over-drunk.
Honestly, this winery has some really STRONG wines and I could not help myself from getting high. I started laughing when trying my 3rd shot. Well! As I know this is the first stage of getting high. Usually, Am the one mostly in my group to manage my friends who get high and thanks to them now for letting me know the signs😛 I was like managing and drank a lot of water then, took a break. Somehow all the 6 shots are tasted and I am impressed with their brand 'Angelica' - a red wine. This wine got 2 GOLD medals for its taste at Atlanta Wine Summit - Best Fortified Wine in America and Sommelier Challenge.
One of the very oldest, about 130 years, in wine-making business, Beringer is a top-notch brand in Napa. I tasted some 3 of their best wines and as a nice finishing touch, the sweet lady offered me with one more. I was surprised to feel my glass hot when she poured-in a steamed wine which they marinate with some secret country herbs and spices and she just surprised me by making me taste a hot red wine in my life. It is heavenly in its taste.
ANDRETTI : The last winery we visited. Though am not much involved here because I know already my inner bell started ringing for my limit, I was much involved in his stories he shared. He explained us the difference between the taste before and after the process of brewing. So I just enjoyed those 2 sips of wine to realize the before-after brewery effects.
And bidding good-bye to the Napa village, we started to move towards the city. Ah!!! Ah!!! Wait, still Day 2 is not over.. We have still a lot to go!!
//day 2 - To be continued ***//