Friday, October 26, 2012

Wine Tasting with my Family!

Last week, my aunt and uncle were in town to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Their arrival was a surprise, and my mom was super excited to see them walk into the apartment the night before her big day!

To celebrate her birthday, we all headed to wine country, to Sonoma. Joe and I have been to Sonoma several times and we still continue to discover new vineyards and new fun places to hang out and to try good wines, and this time was no different.




I’ve been wanting to photograph wine country but, for one reason or another, every time we’ve been there, I have not been able to take my time to look around and capture good images. Fortunately, given the pace of my relatives, which is very low key and mellow, I was able to take a minute to look around, to take in my surroundings and to take some good photos.



The first winery we stopped at was the Jacuzzi Family Vineyard. Tastings at this vineyard are free and the staff was super friendly! A fun fact about this family of Italian immigrants is that they were the ones who manufactured the water well pumps and the bath and spa that now has their name!











The Jacuzzi winery is gorgeous. As you walk in, you look up and see a beautiful crystal chandelier hanging from the very tall ceilings. To the right is the olive oil testing room and, to the right, is the wine tasting room. If you walk pass both rooms, you reach a beautiful courtyard that overlooks the vineyard. This was, by far, one of the most beautiful wineries I’ve every visited in Sonoma! It reminded me of traveling in Italy, or France.


Our next stop was at the one winery that has become a staple on our visits to Sonoma: The Robledo Family Vineyards. The Robledo family is the first winery to have been established by a former Mexican migrant worker and it opened its doors in 2003.





We love the Robledo Winery, especially their dessert wines! We hung out here for a while, ate some cheese, tried the reserve wines and headed to get lunch to a market in the center of Sonoma that had been recommended by the lady working at the Jacuzzi Winery.

After grabbing a nice lunch, we headed to the Buena Vista Vineyard, the first premium winery in California. We didn’t try the wines there, but we found a great spot to have a picnic lunch!




In order to get to the winery, you must park your car in the parking lot, and then walk about a half-mile to the winery. The walk is on a gorgeous wooden path and it leads to a very old stone building that has been registered as a designated Historic Landmark.









After we were done eating lunch, my relatives went into the winery to check out the wines and find some souvenirs. In the meantime, Joe and I went into the caves where the oak barrels containing the wine are kept. As we were walking in, a man stepped in front of us, from in between barrels, and told us we were welcome to go inside to check it out.  The caves reminded me of being inside catacombs, but overall it was pretty cool to be down there, in these very old caves!



Another awesome part of this winery was that they had a “Heritage Garden,” with plants dating as far back as the 1600s!







After lunch, we were pretty much ready to head back home but, before getting in the car for the hour and a half drive, we stopped at the plaza in downtown Sonoma to get a cup of coffee and to walk around the square.









I love this plaza! The first time Joe and I visited Sonoma, we went there, and I bought a pair of peace-sign earrings that traveled with me everywhere I have been around the world for the last 3 years, before breaking a month or two ago.  I didn’t try to find a new pair this time but maybe I will in the future.
















At the café, we drank our coffees and were ready to head back to San Francisco. But, before we left, the ladies working at the café/boulangerie gave us a bag full of fresh bread to take with us!

As we drove into the city, the Golden Gate Bridge was totally covered in clouds. We were happy to have stopped to see the bridge on our way to Sonoma so that my family could see the very famous red bridge!











Back at home, we ate some bread and sat around, chatting. Wine tasting had been a total success and my mom had had a fabulous birthday!

I hope you liked my photos from wine country. For more fun photos, check out my Etsy store at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/WorldPhotosByPaola



















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