Immediately following the U.S. Grand Prix, I headed west to Northern California for some much needed R&R. Mama Shen’s birthday aside, the last time I requested two days off was back in May for a friend’s wedding in Cabo, so a “vacation” has been long overdue. Unfortunately the weather god’s weren’t on my side (nor were the email ones) and I spent more time indoors on conference calls than I did wine tasting. But then again, this has become the norm almost every time I’m on “vacation”; nothing ever fully comes to a stop. Still, it was nice to reconnect with nature, indulge in some delicious eats and stop to smell the grapevines for a few.

Despite having lived in California for the majority of my adolescence, this was my first time wine tasting. We stayed at Wine Country Inn & Gardens in St. Helena… this was the view from our balcony – gorgeous even in spite of the rain and fog. The breakfasts were all to die for; so homey and highly recommended!

We started the trip with a tour of Robert Mondavi’s cellars just 15 minutes south. Aside from my usual riesling and occasional glass of mescato, I’m not a wine guru by any means so it was great to hear the lovely Doug shed some insight on the history of Napa Valley, the Mondavi family and wine making in general. I loved that he presented an open perspective on wine – similar to art, each person will have their own preferences and tastes. It can spark some interesting conversations, but everyone’s opinion will differ. Doug set the tone for the rest of our day and I’m quite glad my first wine tour was with him.

A few tastings later and you’re bound to get a little goofy. It’s recommended to spit out wine as you go along so you don’t get overly buzzed (which we did!) but hey… sometimes yeast fermentation just gets to ya. I believe this was at Peter Mondavi’s winery although I could be wrong. All I remember is that they had a fantastic and very reasonably priced Chardonnay that I scooped up a few bottles of, hehe.

Such an amazing first trip to Napa! I’m totally hooked. Can’t wait to go back for an actual relaxing vacation soon!