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Winery tours

Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 12:39 PM
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Winery tours

We are heading to San Francisco this weekend and I was thinking about doing a winery tour since we've already seen a lot of the sites in the area but haven't been to wine country yet. The problem is that we don't really drink (and don't hold it against me but I hate wine) so the only reason to go would be to see the countryside and learn about making wine. A friend said it is gorgeous late Feb or early March but that's weeks away so is the scenery worth the drive now? If so, are there any tours that are particularly interesting? Obviously we don't care about the wine tasting part of the tour.

I was also thinking about driving up to Point Reyes National Seashore. The latest weather forecast I saw didn't look too promising but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I ran across Stu's incredible guide to San Francisco (THANKS STU!) so I'll have to go through that and get ideas for what to do if we get rained out.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 12:52 PM
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You're going to see dormant vines and not a lot of color at this point. In a couple of weeks it should start to get better, just in time for the Napa Valley Mustard Festival.

Schramsberg near Calistoga in the Napa Valley does great tours about the making of Sparkling Wine, but you need advance reservations and $20 per person.
In Sonoma, Iron Horse, near Forrestville, is also excellent for sparkling wine and again advance reservations are needed.

The tour is self guided, but the gardens and the architecture make Ferrai Carano north of Healdsburg an interesting visit.

You would enjou a drive down the Westside Road from Healdsburg to Guernville along the Russian River, or the Dry Creek Road, both in Sonoma County. I find the Silvarado Trail more scenic than the main highway through Napap Valley and less crowded.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. Are you saying the drive along the Russian River would be pretty now?
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 08:52 AM
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Yes, not as pretty as a few weeks more toward spring, but I find the Russian River a pretty drive anytime of the year. It is a bit windy/twisty so you can't go real fast and need to pay attention. Take it from Healdsburg all the way to the coast.
The following link gives you lots of info on Westside Road...
http://www.inetours.com/PagesWT/WTar...side_Road.html
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 10:35 AM
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Thanks!
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Korbel is also along the Russian River near Guerneville. Have fun.

MY
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Benzinger has a nice little tour:

http://www.benziger.com/come-visit

Get to ride on a tram pulled by a tractor through the grapevines.

I saw some photos taken just the other day in Napa and the vines were bare but the mustard was blooming. Very pretty.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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It is beautiful in the Napa Valley right now, rain or not. Each season in wine country has its own charm. You can try olive oil tastings, chocolate tastings, food tastings, art galleries, etc. We have fabulous restaurants for all budgets. You could plan a day just to see the countryside and try some wonderful meals! Beringer is a lovely old-time, elegant winery with cave tours. Hess Winery is in a beautiful mountainous location and has an interesting little film (free) and an art gallery. Peju Winery has some unique tastings with pourers that sing, rap or yodel. You could have a fun time in the Napa Valley even if you don't like to drink wine.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 01:34 PM
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Its been a couple of years since we were in Napa, but still get emails from the wine road. They have lots of good info. Really enjoyed Ferrari Carrano.

http://www.wineroad.com/
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 05:44 PM
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The weather should be sunny on Napa on Sunday.

I'm south of the area, but the young grasses are coming in now, and the fruit trees are beginning to bloom, so you'll enjoy the white and pink blossoms and vivid green hills.

I see that the Mustard Festival has started, and this weekend is " Weekend of Fine Art" with wine and snacks at Napa galleries. http://www.mustardfestival.com/weekend_of_art.html

As long as the weather is nice enough, trips to Point Reyes and along the Russian River should be beautiful right now, and you can plan to stop at wineries along the way.
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