Category Archives: california

North Bay Wildfires 2017

Sunrise at Armida Winery Monday of the wildfires.

It’s really hard to put feelings into words for the wildfires which raged this week, and by the way, are still raging. Fortunately for us the active areas are not nearby, but many others are still at risk. And many, many people have lost loved ones, homes, other possessions; we are quite fortunate by comparison.

It’s the numbers that still stick in my head. From about 9:30pm on Sunday, when the Tubbs Fire was first reported near Calistoga (north end of Napa Valley) to this fire reaching more heavily populated areas in Santa Rosa (Sonoma County) at 1:30am Monday, the fire traveled about 8 miles. Put a different way, that’s 2 miles per hour, or a little over the length of a football field every 2 minutes. There was no warning for so many people.

We were awakened about 2:30am Monday morning by a neighbor ringing our doorbell and pounding on the door. (Thank you!) The hills behind us were glowing red/orange; there was thick smoke in the air. We grabbed our kitten, and what we thought were the essentials, and were out the door in about 15 minutes. (Laptops and cell phones? Check. Charger cords? Oops. Pretty common mistake apparently.) We went to our town square, where a number of people had gathered. One restaurant had heard about the fires before closing time, and had just stayed open all night, providing television, coffee, water and restrooms to any and all. We talked to both our boys. Our younger son lives about 30 minutes drive southwest of us, and thankfully was in no danger from the fires. Our older son had been up since 1:30am or so monitoring the fires as best he could, and at 4pm he and his family left their house. We met up with Brandon and family at his winery, Armida, and spent the next 30 hours up there. Armida had power, had television, had internet. It also had, from the western edge of Dry Creek Valley, views east and north to track the fires. Fortunately, it stayed as a distant (smoky) view, since the fires never got close to Armida.

The view from Armida Winery around midday on Monday.

We were allowed back into our house on Tuesday. Power never went out, so we still had the food in the fridge and freezer. Internet was out, and the gas was shut off. No hot water (which is a luxury that I will never take for granted again.) Brandon and family joined us at our house, as they still weren’t allowed back into theirs.

The view from our backyard on Wednesday.

The fires came within about 1/2 mile of our house, and within about 1 mile of Brandon’s house.

The view from our backyard on Thursday around midday.

One week later, the fires are still burning, people are still sorting through the ashes, and people are still unaccounted for. It’s still too fresh to take any lessons from this, except 1) don’t take life for granted, and 2) think about your emergency go list.

People have asked about the impact of the fires on the 2017 harvest, and on wineries and vineyards. Let’s take that up in a separate post.



Summer Means Plums

A couple of months ago, talking about Spring, I showed a picture of a bit of our plum tree in blossom.  (I think it’s a “Santa Rosa” plum tree.)  This tree has managed, over the 21 years since we first planted it, to produce some decent crops.  However, over the last 5 years, the crops have been outstanding.  Maybe the roots finally hit groundwater?  Maybe it just takes that long for one of these to mature?  I have no idea why, but we are now getting over 100 lbs of plums each year from this tree. 

In the past, we’ve Plum BBQ Sauce, which actually is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.  This year, while we may make some of that BBQ sauce again, we’re working on other recipes.  Lori made a Chipotle Plum Sauce – sweet, smoky, tangy, delicious – which is a new one for us.  And the other night we had shrimp with a Plum Salsa, accompanied by Plum Tropical Smoothies.  The smoothies were just made up on the spot, as some hard alcohol seemed appropriate for that evening.  Here’s approximately what went into those drinks:

1 cup diced plums

1 cup diced frozen mango

½ cup diced pineapple

6 oz rum

3 oz peach brandy


Put it all in a blender, and away you go.  Unfortunately, as can be seen from the photo, we had no umbrellas or anything fancy, so just regular straws for the drinks. 

The Plum Salsa effectively just replaces tomatoes in a salsa with plums.  The color is about the same, but the plums are a bit firmer.  Here are the ingredients:

8 plums, diced small

1 red bell pepper, diced small

4 green onions, fine dice

½ red onion, diced small

1/3 bunch cilantro, fine dice

1 jalapeño pepper, fine dice

Juice of 2 limes

Salt and pepper to taste

After putting everything together, take about half the mixture and run it briefly through the food processor or blender, then recombine with the other half of the salsa.  I highly recommend letting it sit overnight to let the flavors come together.  It was good the first night, but we tasted too many of the individual flavors.  The next day it was much better.  Makes about 3 cups salsa. 

Enjoy the drinks and salsa, and if you need some plums, just let us know.  We have just a few! 



Monterey Wine Festival 2013

Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf


We had beautiful weather
this past weekend, so Lori and I set out for Monterey and the Wine
Festival.  To be specific, the
37th Annual Monterey Wine
.  Really?  They’ve been doing this festival for
that long?  We went on Saturday,
which was the chowder tasting day of the festival.  (I think Friday was oysters and calamari; neither are on
Lori’s top 10 list, or even top 100.) 



The festival was held in the
Custom House plaza, just a 2 minute walk from
Fisherman’s Wharf.  Seemed to be pretty well attended.  Probably other people looked at the
weather report and decided to come out. 
We met one couple that lived in Modesto.  They looked at the weather forecast – 105 degrees in
Modesto, 75 in Monterey – and dropped their 2 year old off with grandparents
for the weekend.  Well done! 


Here are my highlights from
the festival:



   US Foods, a food products supplier to restaurants,
had the my favorite traditional (New England) clam chowder.  Thick with real ingredients, not just
corn starch, great flavors, clams. 
Really good. 

a restaurant from Long Beach, had the my favorite non-traditional chowder.  Their chowder had the traditional base,
but instead of clams and potatoes, it was gravlox, asparagus and dill.  The gravlox gave the chowder a slightly
smoky flavor, the asparagus added it’s flavor as well as a nice crunch, and the
dill set off both. 


Gladstone’s table at the festival



Ranch Winery
2010 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Meadowridge
Vineyard.  Nicely balanced, with
some fruit competing with a slightly earthly flavor, not too heavy a body.  It rocked when paired with the
Gladstones gravlox chowder.  There
are some nice Pinot Noirs coming from Santa Cruz Mountain vineyards; I’ll add
this to the list.  Their tasting
room and winery is a little off the beaten path in Capitola, next to Santa
Cruz; we’re going to drop in next time we’re in the area. 

2011 Montagna-Mare, California Central Coast.  Opolo is a Paso Robles area winery,
that we found a few years back when tasting Zinfandels from that area.  This wine is 56% Sangiovese, 44%
Barbera.  Not a wine to lay down
for years, but for drinking now – with pizza, maybe some pork or chicken
dishes, especially with some spices – this will work well. 


Look for this festival next
year.  Pairing really good wine and
food with Monterey is a great way to spend a day. 







Santa Cruz, Monterey Wine Events in June

Not that there aren’t wine events all year, but the events in the Summer seem to be a lot more fun.  Maybe it’s that we take an extra day, and make a three day weekend of it sometimes. 

In any case, June is almost on us, and here are the first two events, in the Santa Cruz and Monterey regions: 

Roots That Rock – Santa Cruz Mountains Winery Association, June 1-2 and June 8-9. Event goes from 12 – 5pm each day.  The first weekend features wineries on the east side of the mountains, while the second weekend features wineries on the west side of the mountains. 

Monterey Wine Festival – Friday June 7th 4 – 8pm, and Saturday June 8th 11am – 4pm.  Saturday also features a chowder competition. 

Lori and I are definitely going to the Monterey Wine Festival; might wind up in Santa Cruz at some point.  Hope to see you at one of these, or another wine event this Summer. 

Monterey Wine Festival Celebrates 35 years with historical highlights!

The Monterey Wine Festival Celebrates 35 years with historical highlights!

June 10th 4 – 8 p.m. and June 11th Noon – 4 p.m. 2011

Now in its 35th year The Monterey Wine Festival continues to evolve into a platform for the regional wine industry and the community of wine lovers.  After 35 years the festival will take a historical turn and bring guests along for the sips and scenery.  On Friday the festival will kick at The Monterey Hyatt Regency where bites and sips from the wineries will be enjoyed.  During this evening guest’s can take a quick hop on the Champagne Shuttle sponsored by Sam Linder Auto Group and continue the party at The Monterey Museum of Art-La Mirada.  This museum is known for its historic architecture and the former celebrities that resided there.  Guests can enjoy the views from the hilltop and the art inside the gallery, but perhaps the most ardent competition for attention will be found in the sips of champagne and bites of chocolate dipped strawberries.  What fun to hob-knob in the same location as old Hollywood!

On Saturday the celebration continues at another historic destination The Custom House Plaza and The Maritime Museum, which boasts a snazzy newly appointed foyer.  These historical edifices are on designations that many consider hallowed ground.  Guests will continue this day of celebration with a completely mouth watering experience from both the wineries and purveyors of food.  Along with these two ingredients live music is the final sensation that further ensures a winning combination. Wine, Food, Music! Aaa hhh!

It’s a Chowdah Throw Down!

A sweet addition to the festival this year is the 2nd Annual West Coast Chowder Competition.  Professional chefs from the Western Coast will come to compete and chowder lovers will pay homage to their special creations.  This year chefs from Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and other chowder known destinations will be landing in Monterey to compete against the local titans of chowder.  All competitors will be trying to slay the judge’s tongues with their creations, take home the prize money and boast of their achievement in what is expected to be one of the most impressive competitions around.  Clam, Seafood and Creative Chowders are the categories that make up the contest and the big copper pot award goes to the people’s choice along with a cash prize.  Guests can sample or buy a cup of chowder of their entries and pick their own personal favorites and compare their palettes to the judges.  Wines that pair with chowders will also be available to sample.

Tickets online at

How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now

On Sunday my husband and I took our son, daughter-in-law and 11 month old granddaughter to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  We specifically were going to see the exhibit “How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now”.  This is an exploration of contemporary wine culture and the role architecture, design and media have played in its recent evolution – a chance to discover wine as you’ve never see it before.  This presentation was basically showing how, in the mid 70’s, wine in California, Napa primarily, became a part of modern culture.  It developed into one of the biggest single industries in California.  If you think about how many things are affected by the wine industry it would boggle your mind.  A few businesses involved that come to my mind that are wine related are wineries, wine bars, distributors, limousine and tour companies, bed and breakfast, inns, restaurants, spas, golf courses, glass companies, cork and barrel distributors, and retail stores like Cost Plus and Trader Joes.

The museum had a number of different displays in the exhibit.  For example, there was a section with different soils from 17 specific vineyards where grapes are grown from all over the world.  For each vineyard they showed what the current temperature and humidity were, and also showed proximity to the equator and altitude above sea level.  It was so interesting to see all the different soils, rocky, clay, sand, red sand, granite etc.

Another display focused on smells.  They had a flask of wine, and a way you could smell the wine, and descriptor such as “hamster cage”, “anise”, “green pepper” and “petrol” .  Now I’ve never heard anyone describe the wine as tasting or smelling like a hamster cage and when I smelled this one, I didn’t get that kind of scent from it. 

They had a display on the different media and movies on wine.  They showed the I Love Lucy episode where she was crushing the grapes with her feet.  They also showed clips from the movies Sideways and Bottle Shock as well a commercial filmed by Orson Wells for Paul Masson Winery back in the 70’s.   You might remember those commercials for the tag line “We will sell no wine before its time.” 

There was a fantastic display on glassware both for drinking and for pouring.  Some were very unique glasses and decanters developed by different glass companies.  Some were designed for show and not very practical, but most could be used. 

They had a beautiful
display of a grape vine with the root system and all.  It was cut in half
to show you how you would graft one grape varietal to a different root system.

Fun day in San Francisco,
and a great exhibit, but the exhibit closes April 17, so hurry up and get

What does Wine Tasting and the World Series Have in Common?

On a normal day going wine tasting in California you have people who are very relaxed and happy.  They are relaxed because they aren’t working and they are happy because they are drinking wine.  This is all good, especially this time of year when most of the craziness has died down from the harvest.  The grape vines are void of their grapes, so it’s time for them to start to hibernate for the winter.  The leaves on the vines are starting to change from the green to the red to the orange and yellow.  It’s a great time to go wine tasting!  So Larry, Elliana and I went wine tasting on our babysitting day yesterday.  Mid-week is a great time to go wine tasting; the crowds are less, which frees up more time with the winery staff.  They have more time to give you attention and you usually can have a nice spot at the bar.  Ask if there is any way you can see their winemaking facility.  It’s always interesting to see how each winery makes their wine, so similar, yet so differently.

So, you ask?!  What does this have to do with the World Series?  Well, as it turns out the San Francisco Giants are in the World Series against the Texas Rangers.  Yesterday was the first game of the series.  So as we go to our first winery, Arista Winery in the Russian River Valley, Sonoma County we noticed that we wern’t the only ones wearing orange and black (those being the colors of the Giants).  It was great, we had a lot of attention to talk about wine and baseball.  These are two of my favorite subjects!  Arista is in a beautiful spot on West Side Road.  The grounds at Arista are beautiful.  It is designed with an Oriental Garden feel and as you walk through their gardens you get a sense of peacefulness.  We tasted their Gwertztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc on the white side.  Then for the reds we were treated to a Pinot Noir comparison of two wines from the Sonoma Coast.  Their ’07 La Cruz Vineyards which was a blend of two vineyards and their ’08 Sonoma Coast a blend from four different vineyards.  Both were very nice.  I have a thing about the ’07 vintage and love almost everything produced from that year.  Next we compared two Pinot Noirs from the Russian River.  Both were 2008 vintages.  The main difference of those two wines was the fact that one was a blend and the other, the Longbow, was from a single vineyard.  We were helped by Gabriel and Billy.  The staff was very nice and they have a very relaxed policy.  They want you to come and spend time in their beautiful gardens while sipping their wine.  There is plenty of seating and areas to picnic if you choose.

Next we went to Thomas George Estates , just a couple minutes drive from Arista.  After you drive up their driveway and park, you will just fall in love with their grounds.  They have their wine cellar caves on the one side and the tasting room and winery on the other.  They have many tables and chairs for you to sit on to enjoy a picnic if you choose to.  We were the only ones in the tasting room at the time.  We sampled their Sauvignon Blanc (which I liked) and Chardonnay.  Then we sampled a Russian River 2008 Pinot Noir and a 2008 Sonoma Coast single vineyard Pinot Noir.  I enjoyed the single vineyard but liked them both.  Finally we sampled 2008 Dry Creek Zinfandel.  It had a nice body, light on the fruit forward, but a very nice finish.  They do offer events and weddings in their caves.  Shannon who was behind the bar was also a Giants fan and was wishing that they could close early that afternoon.

Through all of this Elliana was a trooper.  She batted her dark eyes and smiled every so often.  We got back to the kids house in time to see the pre-show of the World Series.  Thankfully there is a happy ending to our wonderful day as the Giants beat the Rangers 11-7.  What does Wine Tasting and the World Series Have in Common? Fans everywhere!

Wine, Artisan Bread & Babysitting

I had a great day yesterday.  Larry and I drove up to Santa Rosa for my weekly babysitting gig with my granddaughter Elli.  Larry came up with me because currently I have a bad back, so I can’t lift Elli quite yet.  When we arrived nearly at noon Elli was just waking up from a nap.  Kim had already made Asian spiced meatballs and put them in the crock-pot to be ready for dinner.  We had a little bite to eat, a nice turkey sandwich, and then got our day moving along.

Kim went to work at Arista Winery.   After Elli got fed and cleaned up we left and drove to Forestville where we had heard about an amazing bakery there.  The bakery is called Nightingale Bakery , and if you blink too many times you will miss it and the whole downtown area.  The bakery is known for their Artisan breads.  We came out with a loaf of rye bread, sliced whole wheat with oats, and a sweet mini baguette.  Afterwards we made our way to Guerneville and found the Guerneville Park, which has a few parking spaces, walking trails that lead to the Russian River, and picnic benches amongst the redwood trees.  We parked there and walked along a passenger bridge over the Russian River to the small downtown area.  We stopped at My Coffee Bazaar and had a nice coffee drink and sat outside in a little garden area.  My Coffee Bazaar was a nice little place with fantastic coffee drinks, baked goods, breakfast and lunch items.  Halfway through our drinks, Elli decided that she was thirsty too.  So Larry fed Elli her bottle of milk.

                 Larry and Elli, 5 months old with a full belly

It was a very leisure afternoon.  The sky was blue, it was about 70 degrees outside, and there was a light breeze that blew the downed leaves around.  After we were all done with our drinks we walked back over the bridge to our car and went off to our next location.  

As we were driving west on River Road we decided to take a right hand turn onto Olivett Road.  Along this road the wineries are known for good Gewurztraminer, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.  We stopped at Hook and Ladder Winery .  We have passed by this winery several times but never stopped there.  Their vineyards and wine making facilities are there as well as the tasting and barrel room.  We sampled their Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Zinfandel blend and their Tillerman, which is a Burgundian blend.  There was another couple there when we arrived.  Elli was in her stroller and when she woke up we gave her a cup of water with a hint of grape juice.  Their tasting room is in their barrel room.  What they have decorating the tasting area are t-shirts from different firehouses from around the country.  They also have a board with patches from different firehouses as well.  They sell t-shirts and sweatshirts and a few earrings.  Outside they have a well landscaped yard with a number of picnic benches.  If you sit on one of the benches you will have a nice view of their vineyards and the surrounding hills.

We then got in the car and went back to our son and daughter-in-laws home.  Larry and Kim prepared the vegetables and the rice sticks to compliment the meatballs that were smelling very good.  I got to feed Elli Squash and oatmeal for her dinner.  She is 5 months old and has been eating solids now for about 3-4 weeks.  She really enjoys it and had a big wide mouth open for each spoonful.

After dinner we got into our car and went on our way back home.  So, another 12-hour day with Elliana in the books.  We didn’t get to see Brandon as he was literally knee deep in grapes at Armida Winery , as the bulk of harvest has finally started to come in.

Petite Sirah stains my thumbs!

It took over 24 hours to get the wine stains out of my right thumb after attending a Petite Sirah lunch and wine tasting last week.  If you don’t already know, Petite Sirah is a very dark and robust grape that is made into a very dark and robust wine.  Some people get confused in thinking that the Petite Sirah grape is just a smaller Syrah grape.  That is wrong.  It is its own varietal from a little grown French vine called Peloursin, and Syrah, but the name of Petite Sirah has become attached to several different grape varieties all of which have been traditionally planted together in California.  This varietal has been talked about in California wine literature as far back as 1880.  Petite Sirah produces a savory, almost meaty character and dense blackberry fruit.  Its powerful style has long made it a useful blending wine, especially for Zinfandel.  The Petite Sirah wine is often age worthy, lasting up to 20 years in the bottle.  It’s best known for growing in Mendocino and Sonoma County, and Livermore Valley in California.  It is also grown in Argentina and Brazil where unirrigated vineyards of often very old vines produce wines of considerable depth, backbone and brutal power.

One of the lead wineries in the Livermore Valley producing great Petite Sirah is Concannon Winery.  This is where the event was held.  John Concannon, who is the president of the Petite Sirah (P.S.) I Love You advocacy organization, was the host of this event.  It started out that morning with a symposium on Petite Sirah with over 100 interested members attending.  The symposium went on for about 3 hours.  When it broke, lunch was served.

We had a delicious lunch sitting under the grape arbor outside the Concannon Winery and tasting room.  Lunch started with a couple passed appetizers; one was a crostini with Brie and pancetta.  Another was duck confit wrapped in a very small tortilla.  The first course was a delicious heirloom tomato salad served with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil with balsamic vinegar and local olive oil drizzled over the top.  That was served with a Concannon 2009 Pinot Grigio from the Central Coast region.  The main course was then served.  It was a beautiful plate consisting of two small wooden skewers.  On one skewer was fish and shrimp, on the other was sausage, chicken and beef.  This was served on top of Israeli couscous, garbanzo beans, white raisins and some grilled vegetables.  To go with this course we drank Concannon 2007 Petite Sirah, Livermore Valley.  The dessert course was served in a martini glass on a plate.  It was mixed berries such as blackberries and raspberries in a white chocolate raspberry sauce, served with a dollop of whipped cream and a cookie.  Lunch was supposed to last one hour, but it went about 1 ½ hours.  Very lovely.  We sat at a table, which had winemaker Vic, and wife Beth Edwards of Edwards Vineyard and Cellars from the Ramona Valley of San Diego County.  They produce Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon.  We also sat near winemaker Kristoff Paubert of Stags Leap Winery in Napa and their P.R. manager Carrie.

After lunch we all went into the barrel room where about 40 wineries were pouring their Petite Sirah.  This is a big challenge, as I explained above to you, Petite Sirah is a robust wine and gives great pucker power.  I find it difficult to taste without having a cracker in between each glass or some chocolate to compliment it.  Before the end of my tasting experience and my tongue was reminiscent of my cat’s tongue.  I enjoyed some very good Petite Sirah.  Of course there was Concannon, who were pouring their 2007 Reserve Captain Joe’s Petite Sirah, which honors the founder James Concannon’s son, affectionately known as Captain Joe because of his service in the First Cavalry.  This wine is composed from estate lots and blended with a small amount of Syrah for balance.  They were also pouring their 2007 Reserve Nina’s Cuvee Petite Sirah.  This bottle honors their founder’s daughter-in-law, Giovanina Ferrario Concannon, who came from Italy to visit California in 1919.  These grapes were planted almost 40 years ago; they have a low yield, small berries, dense flavors and unique maturity profiles.  Both of these are bottled in a special bottle where there is a glass design of the gates to the winery.

Some of the other Petite Sirah’s I enjoyed were:
–  Grizzly Republic Winery out of Paso Robles – 2007   
–  Jazz Cellars, San Francisco – 2006 Mendocino
–  Esoterica, Napa Valley – 2007 Rutherford
–  Edwards Vineyards & Cellars, San Diego County – 2005 Ramona Valley
–  Crooked Vines Winery, Livermore Valley – 2007 Del Arroyo
–  Cinnabar Winery, Santa Clara County – 2007 Clarksburg
–  Robert Biale Vineyards, Napa – 2008 Napa

After a great afternoon of eating, drinking and schmoozing, it all came to an end.  But the good thing was that my right thumb, no matter how many times I washed it, was stained for the next 24 hours from the little bit of wine that got on the wine glass after pouring out my tastes.

My suggestion to you is to go and get a few bottles of Petite Sirah from the three different regions of California that I mentioned.  Open them all up and serve a nice heavy dish such as duck, eggplant Parmesan, or a very hearty tri-tip.  Try the wines with the meal, but leave some for dessert.  For dessert you should have either a chocolate torte or chocolate truffles and please drink the wine with dessert.  You will be amazed!  Let me know which wines you tried and what you ate with it. ☺

Wine Tasting in Napa July 2010

Surprise, surprise, surpries!  I had another great time in Napa last week.  We had cousins in town from Southern California, they came up to Napa for a water polo tournament.  They had Friday available to “play” with us, so we met them in the southern part of Napa and started our journey for the day.  

Our first stop was at Hagafen Cellars .  They are located on the south part of the Silverado Trail.  It’s a small family owned winery, Ernie Weir is the current owner and winemaker.  He and his wife have owned the winery since 1979.  They produce about 6,000 cases each year.  Their wines are made in within the Jewish dietary laws.  The new winery was built in 2000 and the tasting room, which is designed in a Tuscan style, opened in 2002.  When we arrived they had two small vans loaded with guests who were in the middle of a tour and tasting.  Even though they were very busy they were able to get us started with sampling their wines.  After about 10 minutes the vans left, so we were able to go and sit outside in their very quaint patio with arbor. 

     Relaxing under the arbor at Hagafen Winery

The next half hour we sent the boys in to gather more wine for us girls.  A nice treat.  We just spent the time catching up and relaxing.  After a bit, George, their outreach manager came and asked us if we wanted a little tour.  Larry and I had met George at the Silverado Wine Trails this past winter and again at the most recent Pinot Days in San Francisco.  Everything about Hagafen Cellars was lovely.  They have very nice and happy people working behind the counter and their wines are good and the place is very comfortable.  They also have a winery cat that was doing his job-hunting in the bushes.  

Next we went to explore another small family winery in the Howell Mountain area called Pope Valley Winery .  This winery is north off the Silverado Trail and to the east into the hills.  We went to the winery not ever experiencing this area before.  First of all it was about 5-10 degrees warmers up there.  There are a few wineries up there but they are spaced far between each other.  For sure there are a lot of beautiful winding roads.  Ed Haus established Pope Valley Winery in 1897. The winery is a showcase of 19th century winemaking technology; the main building – situated on top of the Haus Creek that meanders through the property so as to conserve usable land – rises three stories against a hillside so as to use gravity to move the wine from stemmer/crusher to press to barrel.
                        Entrance to the old winery                                                                         Dog “Gus”

The winery is built into the hillside to create cave-like cool temperatures and higher humidity for the bottom barrel room.  We tasted a nice variety of their wines in their little no frills tasting room.  Their dog Gus, a brown lab mix, was very sociable and loved for us to throw his ball for him.  He had recently been lying in the local river to cool down.  For a taste of down home, good wine and friendly service I strongly recommend stopping here.

Our next stop was at Cade Winery .  This was a suggestion of Pope Valley Winery.  It was just down the road 5-10 minutes.  As we were driving up the long driveway to the winery the laborers were just finishing up for the day.  When we got to the winery we saw a sign, “by appointment only”.  “Oh darn”, we said.  But we still meandered towards the tasting room.  Once we walked through the opening of the walls protecting the tasting room we were awestruck at the amazing views from there.
                                                              Gorgeous views from Cade Winery

We were able to see about 60 miles across most of Napa Valley clear to the East Bay where we could see the tip of Mt. Diablo.  They offered nice comfy chairs and a table to just sit outside and look at the views.  In front of the view was a large rectangle fountain with an endless waterway.  As it turned out they were busy with other guests but they were generous enough to give us a sampling of their Sauvignon Blanc, which reminded Larry and I of what we would have had down in Marlborough, New Zealand.  We sat outside in the chairs relaxing for quite a while.  This was a nice tease.  We definitely need to go back to visit Cade.