Thursday, August 30, 2012

California Trip - Day Two: Napa Valley

On Day Two we woke up at 5:00am. Yes, 5:00am. Luckily, it was 7:00am Texas time, so it wasn't too terribly bad. 

The reason we got up so early? Hot air balloons! We scheduled a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley, so we had to get up early to drive to the launching location in Yountville. 

Of course, after we got up, got dressed, drove out there, and sat there for half an hour... the pilots informed us that there were thunderstorms outside the valley, and there was a lot of fog in the valley, and we weren't going to be able to fly that day. We were SUPER disappointed. Luckily, we were able to reschedule for the next morning.

So, we drove around Yountville for a while, then we went back to the B&B. 

Breakfast was from 8:30 to 10:00 at the B&B (and it was still only like 6:30am), so we spent a couple of hours just sitting in bed reading before we went to breakfast. Breakfast was AWESOME. First there was a buffet of pastries (delicious scones!) and coffee and juice. Then they started with a fruit course (pears poached in red wine with amaretto cream, and some kiwi and berries). Then we got to pick between the "sweet" and "savory" options (french toast or a polenta dish). We decided to get one of each and split them. SO delicious!

After breakfast, we organized our list of wineries to see for that day, and we got in the car to go! We started off at Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

Joseph Phelps has a beautiful terrace overlooking the vineyards where you can stroll around and sip your tasting wines. We both really liked the wines there, and we bought two bottles of their sauvignon blanc. At this point we were seriously laughing at ourselves because we're big red wine fans, but we had so far bought only white wines and sparkling wines. 

Beautiful view from the terrace!

We had so much fun!

Next up was B Cellars, which ended up being our absolute favorite (based on how much we liked the wine). They had a nice little tasting patio that overlooks a little koi pond, so it was nice, but the building/facilities weren't super impressive compared to Domaine Carneros or Joseph Phelps.

They had a rodeo belt buckle from the wine competition at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, which made these two Texans feel right at home. :)

Whatever B Cellars lacks in beautiful buildings/facilities, it makes up for with the wines. They were amazing! We really like red blends, and B. Cellars makes three, all of which we loved. But we also loved their cabernet. And the syrah. And the white blend. Sooo... we spent a large sum of money on an entire case of their wine! It was too much to bring back on the plane, so they're shipping it to us. Of course, we live in Texas, where it's entirely too hot to ship wine (it would go bad in transit), so they're holding it until October. It's going to be like Christmas in October! :) 

Winery #3 was Cakebread. It was highly recommended by various people, so we went! It's totally inconspicuous from the road... we almost missed it! 

This is all you can see from the street! 

To be honest, Cakebread didn't live up to all the hype. The tour included with the tasting was nice - they took us to see the barrel storage, bottling machines, etc. But the wines themselves? We didn't really like any of them. 

The last winery of the day was Silver Oak. Silver Oak has quite a reputation for their cabernets, so we were excited. The building and scenery were really pretty there, but it was so crowded that it took us forever to get to the counter and do a tasting! 

We weren't super impressed with any of their wines (especially with how big of a deal everyone makes about Silver Oak), so we left there empty-handed as well. 

After Silver Oak, we went to church at a Catholic church outside of Napa. I think I've said this before, but I just love little churches. Everyone is always so welcoming to visitors, and I just love how everyone knows everyone. This church was totally like that.

Check out the wine grapes on the sign! 

Of course, since this is Napa Valley, the priest had his own vineyards right next door to the church! Too funny. 

"Father Matthew's Vineyard"

After church we drove back to the B&B, and we sat on the porch for a while with our happy hour wine and snacks. Then we went to dinner - again within walking distance in downtown Napa - this time at Celadon

Celadon was pretty fancy, with a great ambiance, but we both thought the food was just okay. It was fun to walk around downtown Napa though!

Since the hot air balloon thing was rescheduled for the next morning, we went to bed early again so we could wake up for the sunrise! 

Up next - Day Three in Napa! 


  1. looks like sooooooo much fun. i'm jealous!

  2. I am your newest follower. Fun Blog! I can not wait to read more :)

    Raychel from