Wednesday, September 7, 2011

California Wine Tour

In the two weeks I've spent back in the City by the Bay I have caught up with many of my wonderful friends and gotten to relive fond memories from the four years I lived here. I have also come to realize just how much San Francisco truly feels like home to me, and that returning one day (hopefully soon!) is definitely on my priority list for the future. Many of the things I love about this city involve food and/or drinking: Mission burritos, tapas and sangria, sushi, the most delicious coffee in the world, Ghiradelli chocolate, local beers such as Lagunitas and Anchor Steam, burgers, going out for brunch, mimosas, great cocktails and, of course, the close proximity to one of the most famous wine-producing regions in the world. Until this past weekend I had never ventured up to Napa Valley for the full wine-tasting experience, but a little internet research revealed a bike shop in Calistoga that organizes biking tours for the adventurous wino. With some luck I was able to get this amazing group of people together and we drove up for the day to check it out.

While the biking itself wasn't very difficult, I have to say that after several glasses of wine and being out in the hot sun all day, I was exhausted after this day trip. We arrived around noon and left at six, having visited four wineries. Labor Day weekend is a busy one in wine country, so we were lucky to find room at some of these places that tend to get packed with tourists. My favorite one was a small vineyard owned by an Italian family who had brought over traditional methods of wine production from the old country. It was interesting to learn something about the process and then to taste the results! 

All in all it was a perfect, relaxing way to spend the holiday weekend and I couldn't have asked for a better group of friends to share it with. It's been so great to see everyone and catch up about the past year. I even had a special visit from my friend Jolie who flew all the way from New Orleans the first weekend I arrived. I miss everyone and it's hard to say goodbye, especially when I'm not sure when I'll be coming back, but I know that this is the perfect time in our lives to take some risks and just enjoy while we can the opportunities that come our way. I leave for Bulgaria the day after tomorrow for another year of teaching and I am looking forward to getting settled in my new city! 

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