Wine Country Day Trippin’
One of the greatest things about living in the Sacramento area is our close proximity to everything that Northern California has to offer… a two hour drive east lands you in Lake Tahoe, two hours west and you’re in San Francisco. There are so many delicious day trips a Sacramento foodie can take; it’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite. But, during the summer, I’d have to say that my absolute favorite day trip is a drive to Napa or Sonoma wine country for wine tasting.
The beautiful scenery of a drive down Highway 12 immediately puts you at ease – there’s just something about hills of never ending grapevines that makes you feel completely transported…. Wait, where was I? Oh yeah – a day trip to wine country! Although I looove to go wine tasting, this past weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to a “bottling party” in Sonoma.
Two spinach quiches and I tagged along with my boyfriend’s family to their friend’s vineyard in Sonoma. Although they sell the majority of their grapes to big name labels, they save some grapes each year and throw a wine bottling party for friends and family to share in the winemaking experience.
After we added our side dishes to the five picnic benches full of food, I immediately went to check out the bottling process. The barrels of wine were lined up in a small barn and the wine was being pumped into a large plastic vat in the middle (see photo above). The wine was then siphoned into tubes that pump the wine into empty bottles. One of the coolest things was how they cork them – the full bottle is placed on a corking contraption (oh how I love alliteration!) and the cork is literally pushed into the neck of the bottle by force.
The finished bottles were then passed down a table of “labelers” – a line of eager volunteers with pens-in-hand ready to put their own mark on each bottle. My favorite label – certainly inspired by the writings in a bathroom stall – read: “For a good time – Drink this wine!” After much food, wine, dancing and fun, each family left the party with a case of the just-bottled wine – the perfect ending to a fabulous Sonoma day trip.
Side note: I just have to mention that I saw the CUTEST cupcakes at this party… chocolate and vanilla cupcakes topped with buttercream frosting and grape bunches drawn in icing. What a great idea… and one I’m certainly going to borrow for the next wine-themed party I go to!