Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Salon: Pickled Blogger


Ooofa! I THINK I am finally home for awhile. There are no planned trips anywhere in the short-term future and now perhaps I can concentrate on the holidays! Not that I'm complaining. Our trip to Napa was spectacular, and I am as yet uncertain how to share it all with you. My intention is to write up a couple of features, but I wouldn't place any bets right now on my productivity.

So this was our third trip to Napa. On our first trip, for our tenth wedding anniversary, my husband and I took a week and blasted through 40 different wineries in Napa and Sonoma, most of them consisting of the ones you can visit without appointment. On our second trip, we were in San Francisco at a conference, so we only had a couple of days to spend, and most of our tastings were by appointment only. This time, we were getting into wineries that are nearly impossible to see (if you aren't trade). We stayed with two different wineries in their guest quarters. We met head winemakers and owners. We walked through the vineyards, we touched and smelled soil, we tasted grapes still on the vine, we listened to the struggles of the 2010 season. We learned about the history of the vintners...ones that came to the US on boats with only the shirts on their backs, couples that gave up their corporate careers for their passion, a man that learned the trade from his poor farm laborer parents. It was all pretty mind-blowing.














This is our tasting at Shafer Vineyards, home of one of the best cabs on earth. Look at all that glassware!













The vineyards at Quintessa.
















We were able to experience a wine-blending seminar. We tasted 12 different cabs from 15 of Napa's AVAs (or unique wine-growing territories), then blended our own bottle wine. I felt like the mad chemist (with purple teeth)!

So long story not-so-short, the four of us are trying to figure out when we can go back again. After I have dried out, that is.

I was able to get a good deal of reading done, surprisingly. I finished "The Store", a bizarre and scary little read by Bentley Little, then proceeded to read Beth Kephart's "Nothing But Ghosts", and the graphic novel "French Milk". I was faced with having no books to read for the flight back, so I loaded the Kindle app on my phone and started reading "Affinity" by Sarah Waters. How many ways can I say that I love this woman? Her writing is so delicious. I hope to finish this book within the next few days.

On audios, I finished "Cane River" for one of my book clubs, and started "The Book Thief" for my other book club. Because the kids are out of school next week, and there is all that turkey-eating and shopping and other fun, I doubt I will make much headway on audios. Just a guess. My daughter has declared she "is over audios", so I guess for now we won't be listening to them in the car. I just shake my head. She is such a delight at times.

I have quite the day planned for myself today. After church, I am thinking that the fam will go see Harry Potter (I know it is a sin we have waited this long!). And then tonight, my friend Marianne and I, along with Heather/Zibilee from Raging Bibliomania, will see "The Girl That Kicked the Hornet's Nest" at the local indie theater. It may be more fun than this pickled and weary blogger can handle!








24 comments:

bermudaonion said...

That sounds like the perfect trip for you, but it would be totally wasted on me. Some of what you wrote was like Greek to me. At SIBA, they featured a couple of wines that the SIBA board blended, but they didn't do much for me.

Carl has next week off too, so we've decided to see Harry Potter during the day one day while the kids here are still in school.

Tell Heather I said hi!!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What a wonderful trip! My favorite winery in Napa is St. Supery, because of their totally cute labeling system ("saints" for each type of wine). The wine is good too, but that of course has never been my priority! :--)

I've read nothing but negative reviews for the 3rd movie, so we haven't gone yet - I can't wait to hear what you all have to say about it!

Bopk Bird Dog said...

Planning a trip to CA but the southern part! Napa next time, maybe!

Teacher/Learner said...

Sounds like a great return trip! Here in Ontario, the Niagara Region is known for their wine tours & I've always wanted to go--it's supposedly quite exhausting but such fun! Hope the movies are good ones. I'm reading the Dragon Tattoo book now & really liking it :)

Beth F said...

What an awesome trip. It is great that you had a chance to see and stay in places that are near-impossible for us peons. Wow! Can't wait to hear more.

Audios and the daughter -- hey, this is a harmless rebellion. :)

JoAnn said...

I'm so green with envy about your wine tasting adventures, that I could hardly finish reading the post, lol. What an amazing experience!!

Carrie K. said...

What a fun trip! And to get reading time in, too - you did good. :)

One of my sons doesn't like audios, but we still listen to them in the car. I just humor him by popping in some music every third or fourth trip in the van.

Darlene said...

The wine trip sounds fabulous-that would be my idea of a vacation.

I'm jealous you all get to go to a movie. Say hi to Heather for me. I haven't seen HP yet either. I'll probably wait for the DVD. I want to reread the series though and I think I'm going to.

I hope you have a great Sunday. I'm hoping to get some reading time in. We'll see if Sammy lets me.

Literary Feline said...

I am glad you had a good trip, Sandy. I don't drink alcohol and so the wine tasting wasn't our thing, but we do enjoy the beauty of the region.

I hope you enjoy your movies and your visit with friends today! It sounds like you have a full day planned. We're putting off seeing Harry Potter until Thanksgiving Day, I think. Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving!

Alyce said...

The trip to Napa sounds like a lot of fun! I've never experienced anything like that since my husband and I don't drink, but we've driven through Napa and it's beautiful country.

Your afternoon today sounds great too!

ds said...

What a fantastic experience!! I/We (it's Himself who is the true oenophile here) totally agree with you about Shafer's cabernet--and you were there! *extended sigh* And you made your own special blend, somewhere. Once in a lifetime... It is tough to process a trip like that.
Glad to have you back. Enjoy Harry Potter & The Girl Who... Looking forward to your thoughts.

Melody said...

Wow, that sounds like a wonderful trip to me! I'm not a wine drinker but I do love visiting vineyards! It's just such a wonderful experience to see those grapes hanging on those vines and be able to pick and taste them!

I look forward to your reviews on those books you read soon! I'm dying to watch the latest HP movie, but it looks like I'll have to wait till next week to watch it.

Jenners said...

I think it is great that you guys had such a wonderfully pickling trip together. I have a friend who has a winery out in Napa but I have no idea what it is called. I'll have to find out and see if you happened to visit there.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Bumbles said...

You had me at Oofa. I say that all the time. But I had no idea anyone else did!

I'm glad you had such a special trip - it is great when people who can appreciate it get to experience it - that trip would be wasted on me - I don't drink wine (*gasp*).

Tell your daughter to stick her ear buds on when she's in the car and listen to her tunage while you and your son listen to your audio. She just might get curious enough from your reactions to the reading to sneak a listen again.

Molly said...

Sounds like a dream vacation to me! I hope you can rest, relax, and enjoy the holiday this week and when you have time, I would love to hear the glorious details of all the winery visits.

Have a terrific Thanksgiving, Sandy!

farmlanebooks said...

40 wineries?! Wow! I think I'd be pickled after that too! Sounds like a wonderful holiday, but I find I get tired after going to 2 or three wineries. I think I prefer testing the wines from the comfort of my own home :-)

Amy said...

The Napa trips sounds wonderful.

I hope you enjoyed both movies. I'm waiting a little while to read The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest because it's over after that and I am really enjoying these books. I hope to read The Book Thief soon, I've been meaning to for too long.

Have a good week Sandy

Zibilee said...

Your trip sounds like it was amazing, and like something that I really need to do soon! We are going to be doing the Potter thing next weekend, when the crowds have dies down a little bit.

I had such a wonderful time at the show with you guys last night! You are all such incredible ladies, and despite the snafu we had over the dinner, I had an awesome time getting the chance to have the Lisbeth experience again with you all!

caite said...

great pics again!
sounds fun...although I must admit I am more a beer than wine person.
And I found some fine beer at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

irisonbooks said...

It sounds like you had a really good trip!

I haven't seen HP yet and I am not sure when it is going to happen, I hope you enjoy it though!

Meg said...

Ooh, your wine trip sounds fabulous! I would love to make it out to Napa Valley someday. You really can't go wrong with California!

Kathleen said...

Glad to hear you had a wonderful time in Napa. We had such good weather while you were out this way. I'm glad you got to enjoy sunshine along with the grapes!

Iliana said...

The Girl that Kicked the Hornet's Nest is out?! Yikes. I'm behind.

Your trip to Napa sounds like so much fun. I don't really think I could handle something like that as I'm such a lightweight. I'd be in trouble after the 3-4 wine tasting! haha...

Enjoy Affinity... It is my favorite Waters book.

Alice Teh said...

Awesome possum! Your daughter is direct and I love that. LOL! I haven't been listening to audio books at all. I'm sure you'll figure out a great way to tell us about your Napa trip because, well, you're Sandy and Sandy tells great stories!