Sonoma/Mendocino/Marin Counties, California. [September 2016]
I’ve never been much of a wino, possessing not the refined palate of the cast of Somm nor the vivid imagination to rattle off a list of terroir, fruit notes, and leather accents with sophisticated bullshittery.
But a journey to California wine country to celebrate (congratulations L&M!) is about more than wine tasting in its basic sense. It’s the enchantment of the experience – traversing down the flights of grape varietals paired perfectly with new cheeses, drifting from one beautiful property to the next on the tree-lined country roads, being perfectly acceptable to start downing alcohol before the clock strikes 12PM – that draws.
Domaine Carneros excels with its bubblies and chateau-like grounds. Paradise Ridge stuns with its hilltop location and awe-inspiring sculptures. Campovida seduces with its charming grounds, where grapevines shield guests from the piercing sun.
After getting our fill of libations and making a stop to admire the grand redwoods at Armstrong Redwood Reserve, we cruise down Route 1, singing along to Phantom Planet. Pastures to the left, ocean to the right. The road winds without forgiveness, but a refuel at Hog Island on the freshest oysters out of the water keeps the designated (ahem, only) driver focused.
Then the light show begins. The sun starts to slant in the late afternoon and the meadows of Point Reyes National Seashore catches golden fire. The elusive Cypress Tree Tunnel radiates. The Inverness shipwreck laments. The ultimate destination – Point Reyes Lighthouse – tries to turn back the undetermined visitors with howling winds, but fighting through its discouragement brings rewards for the eyes as far as the horizon. That glorious sunset, at first peeking through slits between the leaning trees then fills your vision, was worth every mile along the road.
Sometimes, it’s good to drink and (after taking an appropriate amount of time for the alcohol to digest and no longer impact your ability to operate heavy machinery) drive.
“Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” -Kristen Butler
“Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink, I feel shame! Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this wine, they might be out of work, and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, ‘It is better that I drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.” -Jack Handey