San Francisco, California
What a tour.
Seven things made this great
1. Mark, our tour guide
2. We were they only people on the tour (which had room for six)
3. The weather for the day was perfect.
4. The planned stops were fantastic.
5. The wines
6. Ravenswood Winery and Peter Griffith
7. The oil and vinegar tasting
We started our trip by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge (a first for us) and stopping on the other side for a quick breakfast of Mimosas and Fresh Pastry and a great view of San Francisco and the bridge.
Next stop was the Ravenswood Winery, where we tasted a few great wines and met Peter Griffith. Peter gave us the highlight of the tour. He showed us how they blend their great wines, then let us try our hand at blending wine. After trying several different blends, he then bottled the blend we liked best and let us cork it and bring it home. A very unique experience!
Our next stop was Imagery Winery. Another great experience. They label their wines, which were also very good tasting, with different copies of original art. Different art for each year and wine. They have the original art pieces on display in and around their tasting room. The art pieces were as interesting as the wines they label.
Mark then bought us lunch at Café Citti. What a surprise. Café Citti is just a small roadside café, but the food was great. We picked up a sandwich, side and drink, which we took to Landmark Winery, which has a great picnic area overlooking their fountain, mountains, and vineyard, where we had lunch. After lunch we got to pick grapes off the vine and taste them, then we tasted their wines and sent home some of their great 2009 Pinot Noir.
On our way to the next stop, the Figone Olive Oil Company, we stopped to get a great photo of the Chateau St. Jean Winery building and vineyard. Due to time constraints, we did not go to the tasting room, but continues on to Figone Olive Oil Shop. I love to cook, so the Figone Olive Oil stop for me was another highlight of the tour. We tasted some very unique fine olive oils and 20 year old balsamic vinegars as well as some flavored oil and vinegars. For anyone that cooks, I think this is a must do stop if you are anywhere near the area. If you can’t get there, check out their web-site.
Our final stop was the Jack London Village Square in Glen Ellen, CA. We tasted some great chocolate in the Wine Country Chocolate factory, much like we tasted wines at the wineries. Mark bought us a couple of pieces, which we ate when we returned to the van with some great port wine that he have brought along to toast the end of our trip.
What a great way to spend a day. Great weather, great guide, and terrific people we met at every stop. Well worth every penny and more. Anyone that is planning a visit to San Francisco or area, should consider this tour instead of the big bus loaded ones. If you should drive yourself through the Sonoma Valley, check out these places instead of the more common stops.