Napa

A much needed day of relaxation in the beautiful Napa valley.

The day began with our guide (a South African called Jenson) demonstrating the art of Sabrage – opening a bottle of champagne with a sword. He did this in a busy car park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, which I thought was pretty brave – I don't think there are many places where you get away with brandishing a sabre sword at 9.30am. We got back on the bus and drank the champagne on the way to Napa.

The rest of the day passed by in a pleasant, sunny, wine-soaked blur. We visited three vineyards altogether. The first was a big posh one owned by Tattinger. Not surprisingly, they specialise in sparkling wines. Next was Materra, a medium-sized vineyard where we got a full tour of the wine-making process. The third one was Peju, where the chap giving us the tasting session took a liking to our group, and gave us samples of some of the reserve wines, (e.g. the $100 plus wines) for free…. and very good they were too. We bought a bottle in each vineyard to enjoy later on our trip.

The fog descended again as we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge back in to the city, made all the more atmospheric with Tony Bennett crooning 'I left my heart in San Francisco' and Otis Redding 'Sitting on the dock of the bay' as we snoozed our way home.

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