Thursday, July 27, 2017

On The Road - July 2017

Wolffer Estate Vineyard
139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack, New York 11962 www.wolffer.com Tel: 631-537-5106
Hours: 11:00AM-8:00 PM Daily/11:00AM-10:00PM Friday & Saturday
Tasting Fee: YES – call for pricing. Flights start at $25.00, By the glass available.
Tripadvisor: #1 of 2 things to do in Sagaponack. Yelp: YES.

Famous for their delicious Summer in a Bottle Rose Table Wine, Wolffer Estate is located on the South Fork of Long Island in the Village of Sagaponack, Town of South Hampton.

With beautiful outdoor seating, enjoy stunning views of the vineyard while indulging in a flight of wine paired with delicious nibbles. Wine can also be had by the glass and there is a lovely indoor tasting room as well. Winery tours available.

Wolffer’s Wine Stand, just down the road, offers a laid back family friendly atmosphere where you can bring a blanket to picnic and enjoy live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

Bedell Vineyards
36225 Main Road
Cutchogue, New York 11935 www.bedellcellars.com Tel: 631-734-7537
Hours: Sun- Thurs: 11:00AM-5:00PM, Fri-Sat: 11:00AM- 7:00PM
Walk-ins welcome, groups of 6 or more reservation required.
Tasting Fee: YES: Tripadvisor: #1 of 20 things to do in Cutchogue. Yelp: YES.

Bedell Cellars located on the North Fork of Long Island is a family owned vineyard that has been making exceptional wines for 35 years. Sustainably farmed, the 1919 historic barn serves as a magnificent tasting room. Enjoy a glass of wine or a bottle, paired with local food and cheeses at the outdoor pavilion or picnic area. A MUST!

Macari Vineyards
150 Bergen Avenue
Mattituck, New York 11952 www.macariwines.com Tel: 631-298-0100
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 9:00AM-5:00PM, Fri-Sat: 10:00AM- 7:00PM, Sun: 11:00AM-6:00PM
Walk-ins welcome, groups of 6 or more reservation required.
Tasting Fee: YES: Tripadvisor: #2 of 19 things to do in Mattituck. Yelp: YES. R

Macari Cellars is also located on the North Fork of Long Island. A beautiful vineyard with a spacious indoor tasting room and lovely outdoor patio deck to sit, sip and enjoy a flight or glass of wine. Enjoy delicious edibles with your wine tasting while taking in the view of the vineyard. Dogs are welcome to this winery where the staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and accommodating. For a more intimate experience check out Macari’s tasting room in Cutchogue.

While in the area and not too far away...

Dining in Sagaponack/Southampton:

Bobby Van’s (American, Contemporary, Bar)
2393 Montauk Hwy
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
Tel: 631-537-0590 (Open: Mon-Fri: 11:30AM-10:30PM, Sat: 11:30AM-11:00PM,
Sun: 11:30AM-10:00PM)

World Pie (Italian, Pizza, Vegetarian friendly, Gluten Free options)
2402 Montauk Hwy
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
Tel: 631-537-7999 (Open: Sun-Sat: 11:30AM-12:00AM)

356 Montauk Hwy
Wainscott, NY 11975
Tel: 631-537-0633 (Open: Mon-Thurs: 10:00AM-6:00PM, Fri-Sun: 9:00AM-6:00PM)

Dining in Cutchogue & Mattituck:

Love Lane Kitchen (American, Vegetarian friendly, Gluten Free options)
240 Love Lane
Mattituck, NY 11952
Tel: 631-298-8989 (Open: Tues: 7:00AM-4:00PM, All other days: 5:00AM-9:30PM)

Cliff’s Elbow Too (Steakhouse)
1085 Franklinville Road
Laurel, NY 11948
Tel: 631-298-3262 (Open: Thurs: 10:30AM-10:00PM, All other days: 11:30AM-10:00PM)

Hallock’s Cider Mill (Farm Stand, Baked Goods, Soups, Takeout)
1960 Main Road
Laurel, NY 11948
Tel: 631-298-1140 (Open: Call for hours)

Lodging in Sagaponack/South Hampton:

300 Montauk Hwy
Southampton, NY 11968
(631) 496-2268

49 Main Street
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
(631) 899-2195

31 West Water Street
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
(844) 227-6672

Lodging in Cutchogue & Mattituck:

7 Stearns Point Road
Shelter Island Heights, NY 11965
Tel: (347) 326-3259

81 Shore Road
Shelter Island, Crescent Beach, NY 11964
Tel: (631) 489-8596

4850 Sound Avenue
Mattituck, New York 11952
Tel: 631-315-6036

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

On The Road - June 2017

Barnett Vineyard
4070 Spring Mountain Road, St. Helena, CA 94574 www.barnettvineyards.com Tel: 707-963-7075
Hours: By appointment only. Tasting Fee: YES
Tripadvisor: #46 of 114 things to do in St. Helena. Yelp: YES.

Famous for their Rattlesnake Cabernet Sauvignon and delicious Cab Francs and Merlots, this vineyard while off the beaten path, is a MUST. Located on Spring Mountain with breathtaking views of Napa Valley you can sit and sip your wine in the beautiful, cozy caves while taking it all in. Tastings are also done in the wine cellar and picnics can be arranged. When making your reservation inquire about the availability of tasting the Rattlesnake Cab – every now and then, they run out. Barnett also produces in small quantities Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc. Simply Delicious.

Pride Mountain Vineyards
4026 Spring Mountain Road
St. Helena, CA 94574 www.pridewines.com Tel: 707-963-4949
Hours: 10:30AM-3:45PM/Reservation required.
Tasting Fee: YES: Tripadvisor: #1 of 114 things to do in St. Helena. Yelp: YES.

A long winding road takes you up Spring Mountain to this incredible vineyard with beautiful views and magnificent wines. The tour is terrific and you can enjoy your wine while wandering the cellar. You may even be offered a taste from the Barrel. The staff is friendly and informative. Well worth the drive.

Robert Sinskey
6320 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558 www.robertsinskey.com Tel: 707-944-9090
Hours: 10:00AM-4:30PM/Reservations highly recommended, walk ins may have to wait.
Tasting Fee: Yes: Tripadvisor: #23 of 190 things to do in Napa. Yelp: YES.

Robert Sinskey is a lovely and architecturally beautiful vineyard. The wines are outstanding and combined with their food pairings from their sustainable farm it is the ultimate culinary delight. Robert Sinskey prides itself on its organic and biodynamic grapes. You can taste their pride in every sip of wine and each delicious bite of food composed by a James Beard award winning Chef. Truly an exceptional experience.

While in the area and not too far away...


PRESS St. Helena (American, Steakhouse, Gluten free options)
587 St. Helena Hwy
St. Helena, CA 94574
Tel: 707-967-0550 (Open 5:00Pm-10:00PM))

1345 Railroad Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
Tel: 707-963-8931 (Open 5:30PM-9:00PM)

7399 St. Helena Hwy
Napa, CA 94558
Tel: 707-944-2424 (Opens as early as 11:00Am on Sunday.11:30AM during the week closing at 9:00PM/10:00PM on Saturday & Sunday)


1450 First Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 281-4064

1 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
(707) 723-4363

1424 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
(707) 345-4072

Monday, May 22, 2017

On The Road - May 2017

Hawkes Vineyard
6734 Highway 128, Healdsburg, CA 95448 www.hawkeswine.com Tel: 707-433-4295
Hours: 10:00AM-5:00PM, walk ins welcome
Tasting Fee: YES: Tripadvisor: #51 of 156 things to do in Healdsburg. Yelp: YES.

Hawkes vineyard is located in Alexander Valley and is bordered by a forest of Douglas Firs and a tributary of the Russian River. While it is off the beaten path it is well worth the visit. Growing stunning Cabernets since 1972 you will be welcomed by a friendly and informative staff into a casual atmosphere with a beautiful and intimate tasting room. The Chardonnays are excellent too. There is a fantastic patio complete with Picnic Tables, which makes Hawkes wine and cheese pairings a delightful experience.

In Sonoma, Hawkes Vineyard has a lovely tasting room that requires reservations:
338 First Street, West Sonoma 95476
Hours: Thursday – Monday 11:00AM-6:00PM by appointment only.
Tel: 707-938-7620/Tasting Fee: YES

Medlock Ames Winery & Vineyard
3487 Alexander Valley Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448 www.medlockames.com Tel: 707-431-1418
Hours at the Tasting Room: 10:00AM-4:30PM
Hours at Bell Mountain Ranch: By appointment.
Tasting Fee: YES: Tripadvisor: #26 of 156 things to do in Healdsburg. Yelp: YES

Medlock Ames is known for their organic delicious Cabernets & Bordeaux Blends. The tasting room is lovely offering walk ins a fabulous tasting experience overlooking views of the beautiful gardens. Wine and Cheese pairings are a sumptuous treat not to be missed, requiring a reservation in advance. Parties of 6 or more must reserve their spot.

To visit the Vineyard at Bell Howell Ranch and have a complete tour and wine tasting with food pairing call and reserve your spot, you will not be disappointed.

While in the area and not too far away...


6706 Highway 128
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: 707-431-1212 (Open 7:30AM–5:00PM)
*Located next to Hawkes Vineyard & previously featured in our On the Road Blog.

Gusio Latin Fusion (Latin American & Caribbean)
117 North Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: 707-431-1302 (Open 11:30AM-2:30PM & 5:00PM-9:00PM)

Catelli’s (Italian)
21047 Geyserville Avenue
Geyserville, CA 95441
Tel: 707-857-3471 (Open Noon – 9:30PM)

Taste of Tea (Coffee House)
109 N. Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: 707-431-1995


20507 Geyserville Avenue
Geyserville, CA 95441
(707) 756-2400

854 Warm Springs Road
Kenwood, CA 95452
(707) 833-1221

5131 Warm Springs Road
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
(707) 996-5131

Friday, April 21, 2017

On The Road - April 2017

Jordan Vineyard & Winery
1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448
www.jordanwinery.com Tel: 800-654- 1213
Hours: By Appointment only.
Tasting Fee: YES: Tripadvisor: #8 of 155 things to do in Healdsburg. Yelp: YES.

You are welcomed into a French style chateau in an estate like setting where you will
enjoy an intimate tasting and educational experience. The Chardonnays are fashioned
by the finest White Burgundy and the Cabernets inspired by the finest Bordeaux. There
are several tasting options to choose from and delicious food pairings that enhance the
tasting experience. Tours of the grounds available in good weather.

Ridge Vineyards - Lytton Springs
650 Lytton Springs Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448
www.ridgewine.com Tel: 408-867- 3233
Hours: Walk-in: Monday – Thursday 11:00AM-4:00PM/Friday- Sunday 11:00AM-5:00PM
Tasting Fee: YES: Tripadvisor #29 of 155 things to do in Healdsburg. Yelp: YES.

When you arrive at Ridge-Lytton Springs you will be welcomed by a friendly staff in a
spacious tasting room with lovely views of the vineyards. Famous for their Zinfandels,
tastings will not disappoint. Delicious wines all around. You can personalize your
experience with an intimate tour and tasting. On your next trip visit their other location,
Monte Bello, in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains.

Unti Vineyards
4202 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448
www.untivineyards.com Tel: 707-433- 5990
Hours: Everyday 10:00AM-4:00PM by appointment.
Tasting Fee: YES: Tripadvisor # 37 of 155 things to do in Healdsburg. Yelp: YES.

Unti is well known for their Italian varietals, which are all delicious. The simple entrance
to the winery takes you to a lovely tasting room, which is set in the middle of the
vineyard. A warm welcoming staff makes you feel tight at home. Sip, sit and enjoy.

While in the area and not too far away...


Café Lucia (Latin American)
235 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: 707-431- 1113 (Lunch & Dinner)

330 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: 707-395- 4640 (All day dining opens 11:30AM)

Dry Creek Kitchen (American-Seafood)
317 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: 707-431- 0330 (Dinner only)

Spoonbar (American)
219 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: 707-433- 7222 (Dinner only)


198 Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448

14891 Grove Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448

70 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Friday, March 31, 2017

On The Road - March 2017

Arista Winery
7015 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448 www.aristawinery.com Tel: 707-473-0606
Hours: By Appointment Only
Tasting fee: YES: Tripadvisor: #31 of 155 things to do in Healdsburg. Yelp: YES

This small family owned winery has a specialty for exquisite small lot Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. A must visit, while here tour the lovely Japanese garden and enjoy a picnic.

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery
6192 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448 www.rochioliwinery.com Tel: 707-433-2305
Hours: Monday & Thursday -Sunday, walk-in 11:00AM-4:00PM
Private Tastings: By appointment only on Tuesday & Wednesday
Tasting fee: YES: Tripadvisor: #50 of 155 things to do in Healdsburg. Yelp: YES.

A beautiful vineyard with an intimate and friendly tasting room. You can bring a picnic and enjoy lunch on the patio while sipping some of wine country’s very best wines. Tastings offered will vary and may be limited offering one Chardonnay and one Pinot Noir, check the website for more information. Note that all releases sell out immediately. the Allocation list is a 3-5 year wait!

Twomey Cellars
3000 Westside Road, Healdsburg CA 95448 www.twomey.com Tel: 707-942-7122
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00AM – 5:00PM/Sunday 11:00AM – 5:00PM
Walk ins are welcome for groups of 10 and under.
Tasting Fee: YES: Tripadvisor: #35 of 155 things to do in Healdsburg. Yelp: YES.

This delightful winery has a modern tasting room with beautiful views. Reserve a wine and cheese pairing, a more intimate experience that will not disappoint. Twomey also has a tasting room in Calistoga set inside a lovely cottage just a mile away from the hustle and bustle of town.

While in the area and not too far away...


Scopa (Italian-Thai)
109 Plata Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448

403 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Bravas (Spanish-Tapas-Small Plates)
420 Center Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448

345 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448

The Parish Café (Seafood/Breakfast & Lunch only))
60a Mill Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448


421 Foss Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448

219 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448

101 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On The Road - February 2017

Paul Hobbs Winery
3355 Gravenstein Hwy North, Sebastopol, CA 95472 www.paulhobbswinery.com Tel: 707-824-9879
Hours: By Appointment Only
Mon-Thurs: 10:00AM-11:30AM, 1:30-3:00PM/Sat & Sun: Closed
Tasting Fee: YES. Tripadvisor: #21 of 50 things to do in Sebastopol.

Enter Hobbs into a Modern tasting room with a warm beautiful setting. Taste Elegant wines from a master winemaker and enhance your experience with a delicious food pairing. Paul Hobbs’ wines are exceptional and the winery experience is the perfect compliment. Put this winery on you’re A list.

Merry Edwards Winery
2959 Gravenstein Hwy. North Sebastopol, CA 95472 www.merryedwards.com Tel: 888-388-9050
Hours: Daily from 9:30AM-4:30PM
Tasting Fee: Complimentary tastings. Tripadvisor: #3 of 50 things to do in Sebastopol.

Walk ins are welcomed at this beautiful Russian River Vineyard. Of course, for a more in depth personal experience you can call ahead for an appointment where you will be treated to a tasting in private accommodations with your own wine educator. This vineyard is lovely complete with a cozy outdoor garden, patio and fountain.

Merry Edwards is known for their top-rated Sauvignon Blancs and notable Pinot Noirs The tasting experience is delightful.

Williams Selyem
7227 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448 www.williamsselyem.com Tel: 707-433-6245
Hours: By appointment only to active allocation list members. You can visit the website and become a member online or call direct: 707-888-6489. Caveat: do this asap as the wait list could be 5-9 months. IT’s WORTH IT!

Williams Selyem has an extensive offering of Pinot Noirs, which is what they are famous for. Once you visit, you will find inviting staff and warm service. Tastings take place in a private seating area after a short winery tour. You will not leave empty handed. Foe those who live on the east coast Williams Seylem also has a vineyard in Millbrook, NY.

While in the area and not too far away...


6706 Highway 128
Healdsburg, CA 95448

16222 Main Street
Guerneville, CA 95446
Tel: 707-604-7250

25 N. Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: 707-431-7433

344 Center Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: 707-473-0946


13555 Highway 116
Guerneville, CA

25 Matheson Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

On The Road - December 2016


Upon arriving in San Francisco on the Monday after Christmas Day, we drove into down town dropped our bags at the hotel* and off we went.  After a 6-hour flight and 3 hour time change we were ready to eat.  Walking out of the hotel we headed up to Market street and came upon the BlueStem Brasserie:
*The Park Central Hotel located at 50 3rd Street SF, 94103

1 Yerba Buena Lane (off Market & 3rd Streets) San Francisco, CA 94103

This was a great place for lunch with an eclectic menu and upbeat atmosphere that satisfied all our culinary senses.  From Beet Salads, curried cauliflower sandwiches to roasted chicken and Steelhead trout (of course there were burgers, pulled pork & steak sandwiches too) the meal was delicious.  Their wine list compliments the Brasserie’s delicious fare.  The Pushback 2014 Sauvignon Blanc and Banshee Pinot Noir completed our meal.  I would definitely recommend this spot when in San Fran’s downtown financial district.

After our lunch we decided to take a walk to Pier 39 where you can see the Sealions gather together and play.  At the Pier there is an aquarium, shops and a multitude of dining options.  Walking to the Pier is great if you are looking for some exercise.  The hills in San Francisco provide quite an aerobic workout.  While walking is a great way to discover all the different neighborhoods San Fran has to offer, there is always the Trolley, a cab, UBER, or bus that can take you from one end of the city to the other.

On our way back from the Pier around 7:00PM we stopped at the W Hotel Lounge (located at 181 3rd Street) to greet our friends that had flown in a few days earlier.
The Livingroom Lounge at The W is a great place to wind down the day and start your evening with great cocktails, fireplace seating and light dining.

Once back at our hotel, just down the block form The W, we decided to have dinner in the hotel restaurant, Maso (50 3rd Street San Francisco, CA 94103). Maso is one of the preferred restaurants in San Fran’s financial district and it is super yummy.  The Pan roasted or grilled salmon is cooked to perfection and accompanied with veggies.  The grilled chicken panini with French fries is just good food.  The wine list and Draft and Craft beer will not disappoint.  The breakfast at Maso is also delicious.  Order ala carte unless you have a HUGE appetite, the buffet is pricey at 30.00 per person.


DAY 2 (Tuesday):

Waking on our first full day in San Fran, we were heading north to Santa Rosa to a very special place, SAFARI WEST.  This would be our third visit in the last 19 years.  
Safari West is a 400-acre private wildlife preserve located in Sonoma County, The selection of wildlife emphasizes species native to Africa, including giraffes, rhinoceros, cheetahs, and numerous species of birds. The park engages in breeding programs that, through exchanges with other zoos and parks, keep the gene pool healthy for the species that are involved in the program. The park is also home to species that are considered to be extinct in the wild.

You have a guide and ride through the preserve in an open-air Humvee. AWESOME!  You can also spend the night in one of their authentic (modernized) huts where you will be serenaded by the wildlife through the night, truly one of the most beautiful sounds/symphony you will ever hear.  There is a great outdoor (with indoor accommodations) restaurant, Savannah Grill, with a large barbecue pit that serves up delicious wholesome meals.  Of course, wine is served (Try the Davis Bynum Pinot Noir) along with hot chocolate, tea, lemonade, water, etc.  There is also a small deli on premises to gather snacks for your tour. (Tours are 2.5-3hrs in length)
Reservations are required and privately guided tours are available as well.

SAFARI WEST is located at 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Tel: (707) 579-2551

Since our tour was at 1:00PM (we had lunch at the Savannah Grill at noon) we did not get back on the road till almost 4:00PM. We were heading to Napa.  However, we decided to take a slight detour and catch a Winery before it closed just 10 miles away from Safari West in Healdsburg (Southern tip of Sonoma County) We went into 
J Vineyards & Winery as we knew that they were open for tastings until 5:30pm. Upon arriving at J (located at 1147 Old Redwood Hwy Healdsburg, CA 95448/Tel: (888) 549-6327.)  the place was hopping.  The gentlemen at the front was consumed by guests who had reservations and was slightly annoyed with our late arrival.  We were simply walk-ins (not the best way to be greeted at some vineyards) going to the tasting bar.

We headed for the tasting bar and were greeted by another very “busy” pourer who had other guests as well.  It is customary to find some type of palette cleanser (between wines) crackers, breadsticks, cheese, etc. (even if purchase is necessary).  There were none here (nor offered) We had to ask (so embarrassing). Finally, breadsticks appeared across the bar.

The Wines at J Vineyards are a refreshing change of pace as Judy (Jordan of Jordan wines) focuses on bubbly/sparkling wines and does it quite well.  There is also lovely pinot noirs, chardonnays & pinot gris to be tasted.  I strongly suggest reservations so that you will feel like an invited guest and can enjoy a wine and cheese paring, which is super lovely.

It was time to get on the road to Napa (about an hour south). We arrived out our hotel at the very Southern end of Napa, closest to downtown, around 6:30PM. The Westin Verasa Hotel is located at 1314 McKinstry Street Napa, CA 94559 and is walking distance to downtown Napa and the Napa Valley Wine Train.  Although, it wasn’t late we had a long day and were ready to check in and eat.  We decided to dine at the hotel’s restaurant the Bank Café and Bar (open daily from 7:00am till late) from fresh mushroom soup, scallops, ½ roasted chicken, burgers, chick pea fries to steak, the food was delicious and really hit the spot.  The wine list and drink menu extensive.  

DAY 3 (Wednesday):

Good morning!  We ate breakfast at the Bank Cafe (for convenience) and what a delight!  Offering up healthy choices such as egg white omelets with steamed broccoli and side salads, oatmeal, smoothies, fresh berries and Greek yogurt as well as traditional (and non-traditional) favorites such as waffles, Huevos Beneditcos, and Smoked Salmon.  All of the bread is divine.

Today, we planned a day of wine tasting at 3 vineyards.  Since we were traveling with our friends we decided on a driver for the day.  We used Napa Valley Tours & Transportation (NVT) telephone# (707) 251-9463 to help us arrange our tastings for the day including lunch and to chauffer us around.  Everyone I spoke with at NVT was super helpful and accommodating.  Our driver, Dave, was great!  

First stop:
*Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 5766 Silverado Trail Napa, CA 94558 (707) 261-6410
Tasting Fee: Yes $40.00pp. Reservations strongly suggested.
Winner of the 1976 Paris (blind) Tasting of American & French Wines, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ 1973 SLV Cabernet Sauvignon took top honors triumphing over other first growths and other renowned wines of Bordeaux.  Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars was recognized as one of the most noteworthy Cab producers in the world.  This victory thrust California wine onto the map.

The tasting room at the winery is set in a modern beautiful structure with large windows overlooking the scenic vineyard.  Tastings are set up at high top tables (standing not sitting) with appropriate stemware.  A wine educator arrives at your table (After checking in with reception) and discusses the wines with you while sipping through the flight of tastings. (There were no palette cleansers offered here, simply water) 
During our visit we tasted:
2014 ARCADIA VINEYARD Chardonnay;
2013 FAY Cabernet Sauvignon;
2013 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon;
2013 CASK 23 Cabernet Sauvignon; And we were treated to a tasting of the 2012 FAY Cabernet Sauvignon just before the CASK. 
All of the wines were delicious!
Our wine educator, Nat, was extremely knowledgeable and personable.  He enhanced our experience with just the right amount of hands on and off.  The ambiance was lively and inviting.  The overall experience was great!

Next:  Tasting at Silver Oak Wine Cellars and Lunch at Oakville Grocery
As we opted to have lunch at the Oakville Grocery (after our tasting at Silver Oak) our driver David, from NVT, suggested that we order our lunch before heading into the tasting room, Since our lunch order would take 45 minutes David suggested eating at the Grocery’s outdoor picnic tables before heading over to our final destination. 

Silver Oak Wine Cellars 915 Oakville Cross Road, Oakville, CA 94562 (707) 942-7022
Tasting Fee: Yes $25.00pp.  No reservation required. (except for lunch and large groups).
The Tasting room at Silver Oak has a very warm & inviting feeling with a rustic fireplace and big bar with room for all.  The pours are very generous and the staff is easy going, breadsticks abound.  Silver Oak is family and pet friendly, bonus!
During our visit we tasted:
2012 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; 
2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; And 
2006 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wines were distinctly Silver Oak and overall very tasty.

LUNCH:  Oakville Grocery 7856 St. Helena Hwy Oakville, CA 94562 (707) 944-8802
Oakville Grocery is an integral part of Napa Valley history since 1881, Oakville Grocery remains a gathering place for friends to share the best in handcrafted, locally sourced food and wine and to experience what makes Napa and Sonoma Counties so special. As the longest continually operating grocery store in California, it was the general store that served the visionary pioneers who first planted grapes in the valley.

NOTE:  It was a good thing that we ordered ahead of time.  As we arrived signs were posted on the front door stating that no more sandwiches would be available for the rest of the day as they had run out of bread.  This is no ordinary grocery/deli.  A culinary delight in every way.  From wines to espressos and gourmet baked goods, salads, sandwiches and made to order meals-simply a must!

Our final tasting stop:  Gamble Family Vineyards, Oakville, CA 94562 (707) 944-2999, Private tastings only/Reservations required.
Located in the heart of Oakville (Napa), CA 94562 and just a stones’ throw from the Oakville Grocery is this GEM of a vineyard. Driving into Gamble Family the beauty of the property envelops you as you drive up to a lovely home, which is the winery and tasting facility.  Upon our arrival, we were greeted outside on the front porch by Ashley, Gamble’s Brand Ambassador.  With tray in hand, Ashley welcomes us with a glass of Gambles’ Heart Block Sauvignon Blanc.  We were the only guests and we were treated like royalty.  After quick introductions, Ashley toured us through the wine making facility ending in the lovely dining room set for our wine tasting pleasure.  The wines poured were all delicious; we tasted the Cab Franc, Family Home Cabernet Sauvignon and the  Cairo (Cabernet Sauvignon).
We enjoyed the wines so much that we purchased the Cairo and Cab Franc to be shipped home.
This experience is truly wine tasting at its finest. Beautiful surroundings, private accommodation, knowledgeable & friendly staff and great wines!  We will definitely visit here again.

As our wine tasting day was coming to an end, we were looking forward to the culinary delight of La Toque (newly located at our hotel The Westin Verasa 1413 Mckinstry Street, Napa). 
 Joe and I had dined at La Toque when it was a stand alone restaurant located in Rutherford nearly 17 years prior.  At that time our experience was bar none: EXCEPTIONAL (See our archived website review) I believe Euphoric was the word we used to describe our experience.  Unfortunately, this evening at La Toque was not the culinary delight we had experienced in the past.  It felt commercialized and seriously lacked in taste and service.  The staff paid no mind to the fact that I had pushed my salad away (untouched) as it was so salted I could not eat it.  They simply cleared my plate and pretended not to notice.  The rest of the meal was lackluster and not mentionable here. This was not the La Toque of past.  You could see all the dished being lined up for service when you walked by the kitchen, it looked like one of the famous Chef Show competitions.  We were all very disappointed. The over the top expense was simply not worth it. The other restaurant in the hotel, The Bank café was far better in every way.  I am hoping that this was simply an off night and that others do not have this similar experience.  

Napa is filled with so many delicious options, Try Brix or Mustards, reservations are needed for both.

DAY 4 (Thursday):

As we were leaving to head back to San Fran we decided to have breakfast in downtown Napa, just a short walk from our hotel.  We followed the signs in to town and headed to JAX Diner, a truly local spot with an exceptional breakfast menu sure to please all palettes.  From their own Crunchy French toast to their tasty eggs and Omelets, Jax Diner is a winner.

After we breakfast we headed back to San Francisco.  Before going into the City we stopped at Mt. Tamalpais State Park in Mill Valley for a hike.  On a prior visit we went for a hike at Muir Woods (right next door), this is a must see.  
At Mt. Tamalpais we decided to hike up to the East Peak, a 2 mile ascent.  Do not be discouraged as there are many bikers, joggers, trail runners and multiple hikers all enjoying the beauty of Mt. Tamalpais.  The trails are well marked and meant to be hiked.  The scenic beauty and views of San Fran are spectacular and worth the climb.  After we came down the peak we decided to lunch at The Mountain Home Inn, located at (810 Panoramic Highway Mill Valley, CA  94941) the base of the park.  An Inn with only 10 guest rooms and unbelievable views served up a lunch that was just outstanding!  salads, burgers, soups, sandwiches and more.  After lunch we headed into San Fran and checked into our hotel where we would remain for the duration of our trip.  The Ritz Carlton, located at 600 Stockton Street San Francisco 94108 (Nob Hill neighborhood).

As we were tired from the long day of hiking and travel we decided on a late dinner at our hotel restaurant Parallel 37. We all ordered the LOCAL BLACK COD with pumpkin arancini, brussels sprout, mustard cider jus.  It was outstanding.  Our server suggested the wines in accordance with our request and I loved the Gary Farrell Chardonnay, it was a perfect compliment to the Cod.  The dessert was super yummy too. A great way to end another great day!

DAY 5 (Friday): 

There is something special about waking up waking up in San Francisco, the city is chock full of adventure, with so many different neighborhoods to explore on foot, by bike, trolley, electric bus or car…. So, with all the great food we had been eating and delicious wine we had been drinking we set out on foot (for exercise) to Ghirardelli square.  Once we arrived we wandered around the shops and then found ourselves inside Ghirardelli buying lush chocolates (Note:  it's always a good idea to take a small backpack for stuff so that you can roam hands free).  We continued walking down to the public pier and then wound our way up to the Golden Gate Bridge park.  Once we walked through the park and came though the other side we were in the Marina District, spectacular!  We rented bikes on the spot and rode along the pathway wide enough to accommodate, bikers, joggers and dogs walking.  The 4 lane road separated the pathway abutting the marina and the beautiful home that lined the street known as Marina Ave.  When we had enough we returned our bikes and head back toward Ghirardelli to have a very late lunch at The Pub, the Pub was diagonally across the street from the Aquarium and had a great view.  The food was comfort at its best (we ate lunch their 2 days in a row/Day 6) ½ rotisserie chicken served with jalapeno coleslaw & mac n cheese-YUM- World Famous Tommy Tots (The Pub’s original version of tater tots sweet and spicy with bleu cheese-HEAVEN), kale & quinoa burger-get it with cheddar it is divine! The burgers are amazing as is the pulled pork sandwich.  The Craft draft beers are outstanding. A truly fabulous find! We were so stuffed from lunch we never had dinner.

DAY 6 (Saturday) New Year’s Eve Day:

This would be our last day in San Fran as we would be leaving town on the 1st.  We decided to UBER (great way to travel here) over to the famous Haight-Ashbury district.
Haight-Ashbury is a district of San Francisco, California, named for the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets. It is also called The Haight and The Upper Haight. The neighborhood is known for its history of, and being the origin of hippie counterculture.

Being from New York it reminded us of Greenwich Village.  Plenty of Eclectic shops and places to eat.  We didn’t stay long as we wanted to see the neighborhood of Seacliff, famous for its view of the Golden Gate Bridge and multi-million dollar home, a truly spectacular neighborhood.

We were meeting our friends for dinner at the E&O Kitchen just 3 blocks from our hotel located at 314 Sutter Street, 94108.  For New Year’s eve it was one of only a handful of places that did not have a prix-fix menu, which was exactly what we were looking for.  The Asian infused menu had something for everyone.  The cocktails were excellent.  We were spending New years at the hotel in the Ritz Carlton Lounge.  After dinner we headed back dropped off our coats and went to the lounge, it was around 11:30PM.  There was a DJ playing dance music and plenty of people enjoying the evening.  We rang in the New Year in a comfortable and beautiful setting with our friends and teenage boys.  The entire trip was fantastic start to finish and every day had something for all of us to share with each other.

Looking forward to our next adventure….. On the road with H. Montanile in 2017