California: Napa | Day 1

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On this trip we were primarily sampling sparkling wine. This did limit the wineries that we could go to as most are non-sparkling wines. For booking the wineries we went through our driving service, Simply Driven. They work with the wineries and vineyards regularly and know when the bookings open up. Booking through the driving service also makes sure that the best route to chosen.

Gloria Ferrer

Gloria Ferrer was our first vineyard on the first day and we requested one that provided lunch as we had driven up from San Francisco early that morning and hadn’t had much time for breakfast. This vineyard was my favorite. The courtyard patio where we sat was surrounded by beautiful pollinator friendly flowers and there were olive trees as shade in the courtyard itself. Also, don’t eat the olives off the trees, they need to be brined first. No, we did not try them but we asked if others had and the answer was yes.

We were greeted with a welcome wine, that was sparkling, and then each lunch course had it’s own pairing. The appetizer was by far my favorite – butternut squash soup. Honestly, I do not remember everything we tried but it was all delicious.

We could have stayed at this winery all day but after dessert it was time to move to the next one.


Chandon was interesting, they have a big green lawn dotted here and there with shaded tables and chairs. They also had a large shaded patio. The patio is where we sat. This tasting did not include food but there is food available and the cheese try is quite tasty.

Champaign is made from a few different varieties of grapes. Not all of these grapes are in each blend. Yes, you can get white white from red grapes as the color of the wine comes from the skin of the grape and the meat of the grape can be separated from the skin.

Champagne Grapes:

  • Pinot noir
  • Chardonnay
  • Meunier

You can read more about Champagne grape varieties here.

Domaine Carneros

Our final vineyard on the first day was Domaine Carneros. There was an accident on the way to the vineyard and we were a little late but thankfully we were able to get around it and make out tasting appointment. This vineyard has a large patio in front of a large mansion looking building. The view overlooks rose bushes and grapevines but also the road a bit.

The bubbles here were fantastic. I think the rose was my favorite but honestly all the flavors blend together over time. I can say that the best place to drink sparkling wine is on a patio while laughing with friends.

If you are tasting wine at any Napa Valley winery or any winery anywhere, something to remember is that none of these are 1oz pours. I say this so that you remember to drink plenty of water. It is provided at all tastings and they will happily refill your glass.

We had a fantastic first day filled with many bubbles, good food and all the laughter. Have you ever been to a wine tasting? What do you think of sparkling wine? Let me know in the comments! Drink responsibly, safe travels.

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