Napa Valley, y’all

Of course Food On Trees was a fantastic attraction in our 3.5 days in Napa Valley. Another draw for us? Wine, of course!

We first visited Odisea, a wine company formed from a partnership between Adam Webb and Mike Kuenz (a couple of oenophiles from Oklahoma). It is situated in an unassuming corporate park location, but once inside I realized I was walking right into where the magic happens.

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We tasted wine that had been aging in their barrels anywhere from 2 weeks to two years. Was mind blowing to walk into a warehouse stacked six high and twelve deep and maybe 24 long with beautiful oak barrels storing all manner of lovely liquid grapes from many years and varietals. As we were tasting through the funhouse, Adam said,

“I need to go visit a vineyard this afternoon. Do you two want to come with?”

Uh, yeah.

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We hopped in his truck and headed out to Phoenix Ranch Vineyard. Brian Phoenix greeted us at the gate and walked us through several rows of grapes. Some of his grapes go to folks like Odisea or other wine makers and Phoenix make some themselves. My favorite was the viognier varietal which fruited super-tasty grapes that were also gorgeous.

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Later in the week we bought a bottle of Phoenix Ranch Viognier at Back Room Wines. It’ll be nice to revisit that vineyard in a couple of years when the bottle gets uncorked. We’ll taste the sun and soil and smile.

Adam graciously scheduled another winery/ranch for us to visit the next day: Black Sears. We made the graceful, winding drive up Howell Mountain just outside of St. Helena to the tip top where Chris met us with two glasses and a bottle. We tasted and hiked up the syrah-growing sandy soil to this vantage…

I advise seeing wine country with a doctor.

Of all the wine experiences we had while in California, Black Sears is probably the story I return to most often…

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Eating cabernet grapes while drinking cabernet wine. Cool stuff. This photo also reminds me of the conversation we were having at that very moment. In the distance we could hear the workers destemming grapes that had been brought in during the week. Like any laborers, they were blasting music to get them through the day and as we were tasting cabernet, the soulful vocal stylings of Eddie Money filled the air.

Those wine boys may know a lot about grapes but I TOTALLY named way more Eddie Money song titles.

More drinking and tasting happened in those 3.5 days. How much? Nearly 80 wines before we arrived in San Francisco. Dear Napa Valley…I hope you have some sort of liver repair service.

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