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I have been blogging about my food experiences on vacation but I will divert somewhat and focus on my wine tasting experiences in the Sonoma and Napa Valley areas. First of all, even if you do not drink wine, which my fellow traveler, after 33 years of sobriety does not, you can still love this area of California. The scenery alone will intoxicate you.

Many of the wineries are fascinating to tour with their large estates and lush landscaping. Also, you can see the vineyards up close. Riding on a motorcycle was a great way to tour the area.

Imagery Winery, part of the Benzinger Family Wineries, was one of the first we visited. It includes a gallery of the artwork that is created for each and every unique wine label. They are a boutique winery and only sell their wines there, no distribution. The wines were good, especially a Sauvignon Blanc called WOW Oui, but the information I received from the server was invaluable. Apparently, just as most people have a dominant hand or ear, most have a dominant nostril. By sniffing with my right, dominant nostril, I was able to smell the bouquet of the wine so much better that using both nostrils.

I am no wine connoisseur, and I think most of the vineyards have good wines, what probably differentiates them is the wine tasting experience. One of the smaller wineries we visited was Schug Carneros Estate Winery in the Sonoma area. It had a very small tasting room, nothing fancy like some of the other wineries we visited, but their 2009 Carneros Pinot Noir was quite good. The server here was very informative as well. She explained the difference between the appellations or regions where the vineyards are located and how the climate (temperature, fog, rainfall, soil, etc.) affect the characteristics of the wine.

Other wineries we visited were Jacuzzi Family Vineyards (yes, the same family as the Jacuzzi spa), which had a beautiful tasting room inside a Tuscan  style villa.

Notice the sunglasses someone put on this cool dude!

There was no wine tasting at the last winery we visited but I did enjoy a glass of sparkling wine on the outdoor patio area and soaked in the beautiful views from the hilltop Artesa Vineyards and Winery.

 

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"Our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else.” Mark Twain

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