Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day 4: Wine Tasting in Napa


I woke up way too early at around 5am, because I've been used to getting up early on this trip.  Around 7:40 we went to have breakfast in the hotel.  Todd made himself a waffle. I got scrambled eggs with cheese, facon (fake bacon), and coffee.  Took a muffin back to the room to eat.  Todd packed up a lot of our stuff and started packing up the car.  We got everything into the car, including the bike!  We left the hotel around 8:55am.

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Drove over an hour through windy redwoods to get to Napa Valley.  Went past St Helena to the town of Rutherford to the Hall Winery for our 10am tasting appointment.  The private road up the hill to Hall Winery was windy, steep, and only accommodates one car.  Luckily no cars were coming down the hill. 


There were two other couples tasting at the same time as us.  Our guide was Andrea.  She was quite friendly and told lots of good history stories.  The winery is owned by Kathryn & Craig Hall.  They have a house on the grounds too.  We started in the courtyard with a glass of wine and some stories.  

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Then went to see some grapes on vines.  



Then we went into "The Cave", where some of the barrels are, and where the tasting room is.  The art and the room was amazing.  This was the entrance to the cave.  There are several fermentation tanks in here, but the company has way more in their larger facility in the valley.  We learned that each tank here is from a single vineyard.

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Inside the cave with the barrels.



Kathryn Hall was the U.S. Ambassador to Austria.  When she came back to start Hall Winery, she brought over 3 masons from Austria, along with all the bricks which were saved from old Austria.

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At the end of the hallway we headed into the reception area where we did sit-down wine tasting.


The room was built around this art-piece chandelier consisting of hundreds of Swarovski crystals.

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Blurred on purpose.

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Everything was first class.  They had the wines already poured when we arrived to the room.

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And they had the tasting menu especially printed for our visit.  Too bad they made a mistake on the date!  (We were there on July 14th, not June 13th!)  The scrapbooker in me scoffs at this!

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We tasted three wines and I got so tipsy!  The wines were paired with a couple of cheeses and a salumi.  It was a really nice experience.  We bought two bottles of the “1873” Cabernet Sauvignon, because Todd thought it was fantastic.  They will definitely be for special occasions.  Upon exiting, we asked them to take a couple more photos of us.




We drove down the street to lunch at noon at Tra Vigne Restaurant in St. Helena.  I got asparagus ricotta ravioli.  

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Todd got a pizza.  

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We shared truffle fries.  Delicious!  

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After lunch I was supposed to drive to Santa Barbara so that Todd can give his triathlon legs a break.  But I was not feeling 100% sober from the wine tasting, so Todd drove down the 101S from Napa Valley to Concord.  It took about an hour.  We got gas in Pleasant Hill and I took over the driving down the 101S.  After getting the gas, I turned the engine on and the flashing dashboard lights finally stopped!  Yay!  

I drove until 5:30pm dinner at Carl's Jr in Paso Robles.  We ate quickly there.  Then back on the road and Todd drove.  We finally got into Santa Barbara around 8:30pm and checked into the Spanish Garden Inn.  It was so beautiful and fragrant there!  We got upgraded to a junior suite room and it is large with a separate sitting area, and quite awesome.  




We stayed in Santa Barbara for two days, as a part of our continuing celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary this year.  Trip report continues tomorrow.


  1. That chandelier is fabulous! Sounds like it was a great place!

  2. Thanks Christine for sharing such wonderful pictures of HALL Rutherford. Glad you enjoyed your wine time here :). Mark - Marketing Coordinator, HALL Wines


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