August 2019 (1USD=106JPY):
This trip was in August 2019. We had a 3-day tour of the wineries in Napa Valley and Livermore Valley in California, U.S.A. I had bought a KK prepaid U.S & Canada SIM for communication online.
I had to reserve all the wineries in Napa Valley but didn’t have to reserve all the wineries in Livermore Valley.
I chose the wineries from those which I couldn’t visit last year in Napa Valley, and the wineries which I was referred to from the SF Chronicle Wine Competition in Livermore Valley.
-Hendry Winery (Oak Knoll AVA)
-Joseph Phelps Vineyards (St. Helena AVA)
-Clos Du Val (Stags Leap District AVA)
-Las Positas Vineyards (Livermore Valley AVA)
-Wente Estate Tasting Room (Livermore Valley AVA, Monterey AVA)
-Wood Family Vineyards (Livermore Valley AVA)
1st day: Calgary in Canada – San Francisco – Napa Valley
2nd day: Tasting in the wineries in Napa Valley
3rd day: Napa Valley – Tasting in the wineries in Livermore Valley
4th day: Livermore Valley – Monterey – San Francisco
1st day: Wed, August 14
After the previous road trips in the Canadian Rockies, we went from Calgary International Airport to San Francisco International Airport. We met with my father-in-law at the airport. We went ahead to Napa Valley by rental car and checked in at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites in the evening. We had dinner at Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ, which was near our hotel.
2nd day: Thur, August 15
We went around the wineries in Napa Valley for the tastings.
We had breakfast at Model Bakery near Oxbow Public Market and went to the gift shop in Napa Valley Wine Train at the opening hour. We bought a twelve-count wine box, and a Duckhorn Merlot ($56). Our father bought a Quintessa red wine ($175).
I launched the Uber app here to go to the first winery…but there was no Uber. It seemed that Lyft had an expanded share of the city. Fortunately, our father’s SIM had a cell phone number, so I got an authorized code from SMS for a Lyft app, and was able to call a Lyft.
The first was Hendry Winery. This winery is located among three AVA, so it is able to cultivate a variety of vines. At first, the winery only operated to cultivate vines and the quality of vines was so high that Robert Mondavi Winery and Opus One used vines in this winery. Currently, it produces its own wines. We tasted seven wines and two service wines for $30 per person. You can mainly compare the taste of varietal wines with an explanation by the staff, so I recommend this winery for beginners. We bought a flagship Zinfandel ($36) and Cabernet Sauvignon ($65), so the tasting fee for three was waived.
The second was Joseph Phelps Vineyards. This winery produced the first Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varieties. Insignia, the flagship wines, come from 100% of the best quality vines from their own vineyards and use 100% of the new French oaks. The tasting fee was $85 per person, so it seemed expensive, but we were able to taste 6 wines, including 2 Insignias of different vintages. We bought a Cabernet Sauvignon ($75), and our father bought an Insignia ($275).
The third was Clos Du Val. This winery took fifth place in the 1976 Judgement of Paris and took first place in the 10th anniversary of the Judgement of Paris in 1986. We had sparkling wine as a welcome drink. We tasted 4 wines for $45 per person. We bought a Pinot Noir ($65) and a Chardonnay ($55).
We had dinner at Gott’s Roadside. My favorite is a California burger, but I liked the refreshing taste of an ahi burger better at that time because my tongue was tired from the tannins from the red wines. The bubbles of a draft beer were nice too.
08:30 Breakfast at Model Bakery
09:30 Napa Valley Wine Train
11:00 Hendry Winery
13:30 Joseph Phelps Vineyards
15:30 Clos Du Val
17:30 Arrive at the hotel
18:30 Dinner at Gott’s Roadside
3rd day: Fri, August 16
We went from Napa Valley to Livermore Valley and went around wineries in Livermore Valley for tasting by using Lyft.
We had breakfast at a deli in Whole Foods near our hotel in Livermore Valley. There were a lot of vegetables, so that was helpful during travel. We didn’t want to leave our souvenir wines in a hot car, so we asked the hotel reception to hold them even though it was before check-in.
The first was Las Positas Vineyards. This winery had a good view of the vineyards. There were wines which I had drunk for the first time, so they were inspiring to me. When we bought Barbera ($38), the tasting fee for one person, which was 5 wines for $15, was waived.
The second was Wente Estate Tasting Room. This is the biggest winery in Livermore and the oldest continuously operating, family-owned winery in the United States. Every wine had a very good balance. We purchased Zinfandel ($50), and our father bought Niki’s Pinot Noir Rose ($30). The tasting fee for one person, which was 5 wines for $20, was waived.
The third was Wood Family Vineyards. This winery had an atmosphere of South America, so there were wines with Spanish names. When we purchased Para Mas Amigas ($30), the tasting fee for one person, which was 6 wines for $15, was waived.
It was too early to go back to the hotel, so we entered Altamont Beer Works, a brewery on the opposite side of Wood Family Vineyards. The tasting set, from which we were able to choose five beers, was $14.16.
After that, we checked in at Hyatt Place Dublin/Pleasanton and had dinner at Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar on the opposite side of the hotel.
10:00 Breakfast at Whole Foods
11:30 Las Positas Vineyards
12:30 Wente Estate Tasting Room
13:30 Wood Family Vineyards
15:00 Altamont Beer Works
16:30 Check-in at Hyatt Place Dublin/Pleasanton
18:30 Dinner at Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
4th day: Sat, August 17
We drove from Livermore Valley to Monterey and stayed at a hotel in San Francisco.
After the check-out, we had breakfast at Whole Foods and went ahead to Wente Vineyards. The place we visited yesterday was just a tasting room, but this had wide vineyards, a restaurant, and golf courses. It was a place where our father had visited for tasting before, so we stopped by.
After that, we went back to Las Positas Vineyards to pick up the wine which we had left there and gone ahead to Monterey.
There were many clam chowder restaurants at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, so we were able to sample each clam chowder on the street.
After that, we had planned to drive on 17-Mile Drive, which was a scenic road, but unfortunately, it was closed because there was an event.
We had dinner at Kincaid’s Fish, Chop & Steak House, which was about a 5-min drive from the hotel. This restaurant offered us a nice viewing of the planes which were landing. Both the meat dishes and the fish dishes were very tasty.
09:00 Check out from hotel
09:10 Breakfast at Whole Foods
10:20 Wente Vineyards
14:30 Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey
19:00 Dinner at Kincaid’s Fish, Chop & Steak House
21:00 Check in at hotel
In the wineries in Napa Valley where we visited this time, we needed to give ourselves plenty of time because every winery included explanations by the staff. However, we were not able to reserve our favorite time because the wineries were very busy.
In the wineries in Livermore Valley, we were able to taste in a free atmosphere as if we were in a bar. Compared with Napa Valley, the tasting fee and souvenir wines were affordable, so we enjoyed them because they were easy on the wallet. However, some wineries open only on the weekends, so it was necessary to check the opening day and time in advance.
There were places where SIM had a bad connection in Napa Valley, so I had trouble calling Lyft. I didn’t know whether there were differences in the connection status between the two SIMs, but I felt that my father-in-law’s SIM had a better connection than mine.