The bed in the Napa motel was so comfortable that it called for a lie in. Seriously, it is like sleeping on a giant marshmallow. We spent the morning taking turns to blog and it was almost midday by the time we were both showered and almost ready. Then we looked at the bus schedule and discovered that not only would it take us an hour to get to V.Sattui, the winery we had chosen for the day, but that the next bus was leaving at 12.53 and we had a half hour walk to get to the bus stop. Cue the fastest getting ready and out ever, before a swift walk over the bridge and along the road to find the bus stop. Unfortunately, the $4 day passes were only available at the main depot, but we thought that we could handle the extra $0.30 each that the single fares cost. I spent the drive listening to music while gazing out of the window at the gorgeous scenery, all very nice, but I was starting to get bored by the time we got there. Our bus dropped us off just down the road, and we walked back towards the winery with the road on one side and the railway line on the other.

V.Sattui Winery

The winery was amazing, with lush green picnic areas surrounding the main tasting building, and other buildings and grounds set slightly further off, it was the perfect place to spend a sunny day.

The entrance

Going inside, we headed straight for the tasting counter in search of a free space. Once we found one, the lovely Andy welcomed us to the winery and explained our two tasting options; the cheap one at $5, which gave you four tastes from a smaller selection of less good wines, or the “premium” at $10 which offered six tastes which could be chosen from a larger selection. He also explained that when tasting we should start with the wines listed higher on the page and work our way down. Unsurprisingly, we went for the premium and upon paying our money were given a wine glass each and a sheet of paper with the wines on it with which we could make notes. I noticed later on that you got a nicer (and larger) glass if you were doing the premium tasting, which also meant that everyone could tell if you were being cheap! I started with a Riesling, which was lovely, but quite dry, then broke the rules by going back to the top of the page to try the Chardonnay. This was also good and quite drinkable, but not quite as amazing as the price per bottle might suggest. My next selection was with my budget and my desire to choose a wine to have with lunch in mind, so I went for another Riesling, this time from the cheaper side of the tasting list. A bit sweeter than the first, this was the most drinkable of the three I had tasted so far and had I not tasted any more wines, I think this might have been the one I went for. I then tried a Pinot Noir, which was ok, but I really don’t enjoy reds as much as I enjoy whites. I then spotted a Moscato on the shelf in front of me but was disappointed not to find it on the wine list, but Andy came to the rescue, telling me that he had a bottle open so I could taste it. Technically a dessert wine due to its sweetness, the Moscato is slightly fizzy and absolutely delicious; by far the best wine so far. The small amount that I was given to taste vanished all to quickly, and since I had enjoyed it so much I elected to go for theMuscat, the non fizzy version, for my final taster. This was also delicious, although a little heavier than the Moscato. While Lizzie tasted her final two wines I wrestled with my inner bank manager; should I buy my favourite, but more expensive wine, or should I go for the still nice, but more affordable one. With the wine clouding my judgement, my decision was clear, well, it’s unlikely that I will be going to a Napa winery again any time soon so I might as well do it properly, right? After Lizzie had sampled her final two wines and selected her lunch wine, (unfortunately, our wine tastes differ so vastly that it is difficult for us ever to share a bottle) we headed into the deli to buy food for our picnic. This was almost as difficult as choosing the wine since the cheese counter stretched the length of the room and sold real French cheeses (among others). The easy thing to choose was the bread, a still warm sourdough baguette to share. (Bad idea – it ran out long before the cheese, necessitating a trip back inside for another.) Lizzie chose her cheese then went off to pay, leaving me still deliberating. In the end, after asking the advice of the cheeseman I went for the Fromager d’Affinois, which was creamy and delicious.

My wine and my very tasty balsamic vinegar.

After paying I joined Lizzie outside in the sunshine for our picnic. With a bottle of wine each we were soon very tipsy (with only half a bottle drunk each) and getting looks from practically everyone around us. With our picnic finished we attempted to go on the cellar tour, only to find that it was closed for a private function, so our only alternative was to relax on benches in the sun, where Liz actually managed to fall asleep.

As far as we got with the tour.

After chilling out for a while we headed back inside for Lizzie to purchase some wine, which led to a little more tasting and rather a lot of spending. With aching wallets, we decided it was time to go home and a helpful security guard checked the timetable for us and told us that one would be along at 5.30. Our only issue was crossing the road to the stop, on the other side of a two lane, but very busy highway, with large signs forbidding pedestrian traffic. We tried crossing, but it was a bit scary, so I asked a young couple who were leaving if they minded driving us across the road to the bus stop, they thought this was quite funny, but were happy to do so. Thinking that we still had ten minutes, I popped into the gas station to buy a bottle of water and we think this is why we missed the bus… We then had to wait for a whole hour on the side of the road, dealing with waves, whistles and horns being beeped at us, we so love making a spectacle of ourselves. Finally a bus appeared in the distance and we gratefully jumped on and settled down for the long ride back to Napa. By the time we got to our stop we were tired and thirsty, so popped into the supermarket for juice before tackling the mile or so walk back to the motel over the steep bridge. We eventually made it back to the motel at about 8.15, 3 hours after leaving the winery. Back in our room we changed into pajamas and watched Supernatural, then took turns blogging. I decided that I could not write about the wine without drinking some, so I unearthed the remaining half bottle of Moscato and a classy red plastic cup. In order to pack Lizzie’s into the box with the other wines the lady at the cash register had pushed the cork back in, so I phoned the front desk to ask if they had a corkscrew. Not only did they have one, the kind lady from the front desk would meet me half way with it, so I set off across the parking lot in my pajamas. When I reached her she asked if we needed glasses and I sheepishly said that we had very uncultured red plastic cups. She told me that wine should not be drunk out of plastic and gave me a couple of large glasses… win! Back in the room, we settled back into bed with our glasses of wine… bliss.

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