Wineries, Birthday and Babysitting

Last weekend Larry and I went up north to Santa Rosa to attend the annual Winter Wineland event in the Russian River wine region.  Over 140 wineries were participating and the Wine Road of Northern Sonoma County comp’ed us two tickets.  We started out on Saturday morning and drove straight to Martin Ray Winery to check in and receive our weekend bracelet and wine glass.  I’m not going to go into details of each winery on this post as I will dedicate a post to each day of wine tasting.


Suffice it to say that we went to nine wineries on Saturday and eleven on Sunday.  On Saturday we met up with our daughter-in-law Kim and granddaughter Elli at Dutton Goldfield Winery.  We went and talked to some of the staff that we all knew because Brandon used to work there.  We tasted some good wines and had a picnic lunch there.  The temperature that day got up to 70 degrees!  Yes, 70 degrees in the middle of January!  It was such a perfect weekend for touring around different wineries.


After lunch we continued onto a few more wineries and ended up at the meat market.  This is where Brandon and Kim suggested we go to buy the beef we were interested in for Sunday’s dinner.  We bought 4 nice rib-eye steaks and a package of 4 lamb sausages for our dinner that night.  After a quick trip through the grocery store we got to the kid’s home.  We visiting a bit, then Brandon got home.  We were going to be babysitting Elli so that Brandon and Kim could go out for an evening alone.  After a bit they left and we were there with Elli.  We fed her and played with her.  We even gave her a bath!  Then we put her to bed.  We then got working on our dinner, which was lamb sausages and sautéed vegetables consisting of onion, mushroom, red pepper and zucchini.  The sausages really hit the spot in a delicious sour dough roll with a nice porter mustard.  We watched a little T.V. and relaxed.  The kids got home before 10.  They saw the Black Swan, which we had already seen.  So we discussed the movie a bit before heading off to bed.


The next morning I was awoken to the smell of bacon cooking.  What a treat, Brandon was cooking eggs and bacon for breakfast.  We all ate together then we all dispersed to different locations.  Brandon went back up to his winery, Armida, where he was pouring his Chardonnay and Zinfandel all day.  Kim and Elli went off to church and then to the winery for a little lunch and visit, and we went off to our day two of wineries.  We went to four wineries before we got to Armida for lunch.  Once we got to Armida, which was very crowded, Brandon was ready to take a little break.  So we grabbed some food and sat out on their beautiful deck.  This day the fog had just lifted and it was a bit cooler.  But it was nice to spend 10 minutes with Brandon.  We went back into the winery and watched a little bit of football and watched Brandon sell his futures.  Afterwards we went to a few more wineries and got back to the house around 4:30.  I made nachos for a pre-dinner snack.  Brandon got home around 5:45 and he opened up a bottle of 2006 Pinot Noir from Windy Oaks Winery from the Santa Cruz Mountains.  We started making dinner.  I did the stuffed baked potatoes, Larry did the green beans and Brandon did the steaks. This dinner was in celebration of Brandon’s 29th birthday.  There was a 2007 Petite Verdot opened also but it wasn’t as good as the Pinot Noir.  Elli finally went to bed and we enjoyed the birthday dinner.  For dessert we had chocolate chip/oatmeal/dried cranberry cookies that I had made and brought up.  We watch the Golden Globe awards and gave Brandon his present, which was a dehydrator.  This is something he can really use since he has such a big garden.  A good time was had by all. 


The next morning Kim went to work and I took Elli for a 45-minute stroll.  We went on a couple errands, she had lunch then she went down for a nap.  After her nap we went to Benovia Winery where we went to check out their new visitor center.  It is a beautiful center with couches and a fireplace for casual fare, a nice dining room table for more formal fare, and the backyard deck which looks onto their vineyards and beyond.  We then drove home, Kim got home and Larry and I got on the road back home.  It was a very full and eventful weekend.

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