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A Tour of California Wine Country

A Wine Lovers Enjoyable 4 Day Excursion to Napa Valley and Sonoma County California

For lovers of good food and great wine there are Mecca’s all over the world where one can indulge in their favorites and find new ones to enjoy. Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand and Australia, I have enjoyed great wine and food from all of these places, although they are far away from my home in the USA. How wonderful it is to know that great wine and food can also be found in a part of the United States called the Wine Country of Napa and Sonoma Counties in Northern California, just a few hours away by plane.


Approximately 1 hour from San Francisco, Napa Valley, California is a wine lover’s paradise. This beautiful area is covered with lush green hills, layered with rows of grapevines and stunning views. There are lovely world-class hotels, Inns, restaurants and shops. Napa Valley is about 30 miles long, and devotes about 45,000 acres to growing grapes. Some 450 wineries call the Napa Valley home, and most of them are open to the public. About 4.5 million people visit the area each year, and Napa Valley was named “The World’s Best Food and Wine Destination” in the Trip Advisor 2010 Travelers’ Choice Awards just to name one of the many destination awards it has received. Sonoma County is more rustic and diverse, with dairy farms dotting the hillsides as well as grapevines. Both areas are known around the world for great wine, food and beautiful scenery.

Of course there is more to do besides sipping glass after glass of the area's signature cabernets or chardonnays on Napa Valley and Sonoma wine tours. You can experience soaking at Napa Valley spas, indulging in delicious Napa dining and olive oil tasting, or the more adventurous can take to the skies in a hot-air balloon. There are endless opportunities for shopping and best of all you can find endless ways to treat yourself on any budget.

Balloon rides over Napa Valley

Domaine Carneros Winery in Napa Valley

I arrived in San Francisco, California a few days ago on a sunny and cool July afternoon. The 60 degree temperature was a welcome relief from the oppressive 97 degree heat and humidity of Alabama. I had visited Napa Valley before, but only for day trips from San Francisco. This trip would be very different. I would actually get to spend 4 days in the area and be treated to a guided tour with other travel consultants provided by the Napa and Sonoma Convention and Visitors Bureaus. The schedule was a busy one, but I would finally get the real wine country experience that I had missed on my previous trips.

I met two fellow Travel Agents in Baggage Claim at the airport in San Francisco where we had arranged to meet a private car for transportation to the Embassy Suites in Napa Valley. I had only communicated with Anne and Melodye by e-mail before we met in baggage claim, but we soon became fast friends and talked nonstop on the drive to Napa. Our driver, a native of Napa Valley, agreed to give us a mini tour of the area before dropping us off at our hotel. We drove through the outskirts of the city of Napa and stopped at the Carneros Inn , a unique type of accommodation made up of 86 individual cottages and suites, set among gardens and vineyards. We stayed just a few minutes to take in the scenery and get some brochures before heading off to Yountville, a small town just up the road.

Carneros Inn entrance

Carneros Inn lobby

Carneros Inn Cottages

Carneros Inn bedroom

The small town of Yountville quickly became my favorite place in the Napa Valley. With a population of just under 3000 people, Yountville is the home of the French Laundry, a famous gourmet restaurant owned by chef Thomas Keller, Bouchon restaurant and the Bouchon Bakery and Richard Reddington's Redd and Étoile at Domaine Chandon owned by French champagne house Moët & Chandon, a stellar winery that I had the pleasure of visiting some years earlier. Yountville is a beautiful little town where everything is in walking distance of your hotel. We stopped at the Villagio Inn and Spa to take a look around. What a lovely, charming hotel!

Villagio Inn entrance

Villagio Inn lobby

Villagio Inn hotel room

Leaving Yountville, we headed back to Napa and our hotel the Embassy Suites Napa Valley to get checked in before a scheduled reception at 5:30pm. The Embassy Suites turned out to be another gem of accommodation in the Napa Valley. Beautiful grounds and public areas, small but comfortable 2 room suites and the included breakfast buffet and Managers Reception every night made it an excellent home base for my wine country experience.

Embassy Suites entrance
Embassy Suites Lobby
Embassy Suites lobby
Embassy Suites courtyard and pool area
Gerri (me) Anne & Melodye arrive at the Embassy Suites in Napa Valley California

With just a few minutes to spare I arrived at the reception for our group. Finding a table on the patio I sat down with a glass of chardonnay, some fine cheese and meats and some grilled vegetables. It was a nice mini meal after eating airplane food earlier in the day. Over the next hour I met more fellow travel agents, a group of 50 in all and relaxed to the sound of the courtyard fountain in the background. Finally calling it a night after a long day that began at 6:00am, I retired to my comfortable bed so I could be ready to continue my California wine country experience the next day.

Next up, a visit to some wineries for tastings and a picnic lunch, a tour of the gorgeous Napa Valley and dinner on the Wine Train.

To be continued.....

Gerrilyn Grant Gipson Esq.
Meetings & Events Unlimited Travel Services
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Posted by Gerriv 08:05

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Wow.... awesome clicks....Travailing to different parts of the world is really a great experience and it is the most practical way of learning. I have been to different parts of the world and treasured a hand full of experiences and photographs. To share my experiences on traveling and to show my collection of photographs to the world I have decided to launch my own website on traveling, which is under construction. Msoft Technologies, a multinational website development, is making my website. The company is providing quality services at very cheap and affordable prices.

by Kim Paul

Thanks so much Kim!

by Gerriv

Good going Gerri, your blog is certainly a WOW factor! Just like beautiful trip that we shared together. You did an outstanding job of showing the photos and describing some of the sites and exeriences. Based on traveling with you, I would say anc client who booked travel with you to this fine destination would be working with a real pro who knows what she is doing in planning a trip to the wine country. Hope to see you again on another trip. And by the way put be on your distribution list for all travel blogs please, I would love to hear all your travel stories.

by Melodye Martinelli

Thanks so much Melodye! That means a lot to me coming from you, who has traveled all over the world so many times! It was fun spending time with you in Wine County last week. I have written about 10 of my different journeys on this Blog. They are listed in the Table of Contents. The link is on this page. I will definitely put you on my e-mail list for Blog updates!

by Gerriv

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by Borovets Villa Rentals

A certified wine lover, I always dreamed of traveling to Norther California and see the wondrous wine country of Napa. California is undoubtedly well-known for its great wines as well as wine cellars. Found a nice wine rack at Coastal Custom Wine Cellars in San Juan Capistrano, California through their website www.WineCellarsbyCoastal.com

by Juliet Johnson

Rich provided such a nice experience.

by aarushi2

We really enjoyed your article Gerriv. Nicely written with great photoes. The Duke and I are planning to visit exactly the same area as part of our California road-trip in the second half of August and your tips were invaluable. Recently we took to writing a blog to document our travels (www.roughingit.travellerspoint.com) and hope that like with your articles, some people find it useful to inform their own travels. Will be following your posts going forward.

by TheDukes

Thank you so much for your kind words! I love to hear that people find my Blog useful in planning their trips. I enjoyed reading your Blog as well! Thanks Again!

by Gerriv

Napa is best place to enjoy your vacation but also some other regions are most exciting to visit like i had visited <a href="http://www.thewinewrangler.com/">paso robles</a> and it was a nice experience.

by winewrangler

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