Several years after developing a love for wine, I had the opportunity to visit my first winery. I was in San Francisco, CA on vacation and Napa Valley and Sonoma were just a short drive away.
I was in wine heaven!
My favorite by far on that trip was Francis Ford Coppola's winery. The old world style added volumes to my wine tasting experience.
Standing under a grape vine covered pergola with my new digital camera (back in the day when digital cameras were a luxury), I felt I had been transported to some distant land.
A fabulous grand staircase greeted me as I entered the winery.
Then I was off to taste the wine. I fell so in love with a particular red wine that they offered, the Diamond Collection Merlot, that I bought 2 bottles to take home with me. I thought twice about packing my little treasures in my suitcase for the cross country flight home, only to find them smashed to pieces. Oh no, I was trusting my liquid gold to the careless baggage handlers!
So I carried them in hand through a cab ride to the airport, a tram ride to my terminal, up the walkway to the plane, and then to my seat; all the while protecting the precious cargo and cradling it even though that pesky stewardess kept trying to get them away from me. ( I think she and her stewardess friends were planning a wine tasting up in 1st class) After the first leg of my flight was through, I then carried them through airport number 2.
Yes, they made it home safely. I coveted those two bottles for quite some time, until my desire overwhelmed me enough to open one of them. The smell and taste instantly transported me back to that wonderful tasting room.
Subtle lighting and rough finished walls line the tasting room, the ambiance feels like a wine cellar of years gone by. It enhanced the experience tremendously.
That was back in 2003. I visited several others in the Sonoma and Napa areas, but this one was the most memorable.
It was the beginning of a life long love and learning of wine.