Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wine Tasting

California is a great wine country, especially Northern California, especially San Francisco Bay Area.  Napa Valley wineries are world famous.  Livermore wineries are also very famous.  One plus point for Livermore.  It is only 10 minutes from our home.  I don’t know why people visit from foreign countries wish to visit Napa though Livermore is equally good.
Other than Napa and Livermore, there is one more place that is very famous in USA.  That is the wineries in Sonoma County (Just next to Napa).  We have been to Napa and Livermore several times but never been to any winery in Sonoma County.  So we decided to go there last weekend.
We started at around 12 noon on Saturday and reached Unti Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley.  We tasted 5 different wines.
                                                              Tasting Room - Unti
I digress here.
When wine tasting became a fashion in USA, it was free.  The big name brand wineries started charging $5 person.  Some even charge $10 or $20 person.  Not so famous, but good, wineries still do not charge and serve free of charge.  But one good thing is, in most of the wineries, if you buy a bottle of wine, they waive the charges. 
We were 6 adults.  In Unti, we should have paid $30 for wine tasting.  But we bought a bottle of wine for $23.  They waived the cover charges.
Then visited Raymond Burr Vineyards.  Remember the famous actor Raymond Burr.  He owns this Vineyard.  He is a character actor who became famous from acting in Perry Mason and Ironside.  He was never married.  After his death, his domestic partner Robert Benevides (another actor) owns this now.
                                                       Tasting Room - Raymond Burr
There is no charge here. Still, we bought a bottle here also for $25.
Then we went to Francis Ford Coppola’s Winery.  Remember him?  The famous Hollywood Movie Director.  He directed the movie, The Godfather, starring Marlon Brando.  The description of this winery will take a whole post.  Therefore, I will write about this in my next post.
After dinner, we stayed in a hotel that night.
Next morning, after breakfast, we visited one more winery on our way home.  It is the Alexander Valley Vineyards.  We sampled some wine.  We did not buy anything.  Still, the bartender waived the charges.
                                           Tasting Room - Alexander Valley Vineyards
Here are some more photos:
                                                                   Vineyard - Unti
                                                            Vineyard - Raymond Burr
Grapes are crushed in this - Alexander Valley Vineyards
            Wine Barrels are stored in a cave - Natural cool - Alexander Valley Vineyards
                            Stored Barrels in a cave - Capacity: each barrel is 225 liters
                                          Green Grapes - Alexander Valley Vineyards
                                            Red Grapes - Alexander Valley Vineyards
Even if someone do not drink, it just a good way to spend an enjoyable weekend.
Stay tuned for our experience in Francis Ford Coppola’s Winery.


  1. Wine tasting tourism has increased a lot since the last few years! And am sure it must be an enjoyable, exciting and a hic- happy- hic experience! :)

  2. Lovely pics. We have only been to Napa. Last time we went to Napa, grapes were not there. Till what month can we see grapes? I want to visit again this year. I will probably go to Sonoma county this time. :)

  3. Thanks for your comments Shilpa. Wine tasting tourism in India too? Cool.

  4. Thanks for your comments Ash. If you want to see grapes on the vine, it is better to visit between July and September. Therefore, the best would be August. Also, there are multiple outdoor concerts, wine festivals and craft fairs to enjoy.

    Let me ask you. Why everyone wants to go to Napa. Why not Livermore for a change. It is as best as Napa.

  5. Beautiful pictures. I would love to visit this place. I hope I do when we come there next time. Sent the link to my son now!

  6. Thanks for your comments Sandhya. Please do visit some wineries in the San Francisco Bay Area on your next visit.

  7. I love vineyards ... the beautifully lined vines and fences. Heard so much about Napa, hope someday I would get to visit it.

  8. I am yet to visit one .. hopefully next year on my trip to USA , I will get to go and taste ..

    seems you had a good time :)


  9. Yes. Have seen a lot of programs on TV and a few friends have been to Nashik and Pune where there are a lot of vineyards and wineries. In fact Nashik is often referred as India's very own Napa Valley. And Maharashtra is India's wine tourism capital.
    Check out these 2 links...

  10. Thanks for your comments Rajlakshmi. I am sure you will enjoy visiting Napa.

  11. Thanks for your comments Bikram. Please visit here. The best time for winery visit in California is from July to September.

    Enjoyed a lot. Next goal is to visit Scotland for Scotch tasting.

  12. Thanks for the wonderful information Shilpa. I sure will try to visit Nashik wineries.

  13. Been a couple of times to Napa. As you said, the $5 wine tasting charge seemed ok since you do get 4-5 samples.

    My last visit was a memorable one. I was a guest at one of my favorite's home and they took me all around Oh! visited the Calistoga's Old Faithful as well. I still cherish that trip every moment.

  14. If wine tasting is given free of cost here, I am sure all their wines will get over quickly :P

    Destination Infinity
    PS: Never seen grapes on tree. Good to see one!

  15. @SG: I guess Napa is popular. I never knew Livermore had wineries until I read your post.

  16. Thanks for your comments Insignia. It has been a long time since you visited here last. Time for you to come again. We also still remember the great time we had.

  17. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. That's a good one.

  18. Thanks for writing Ash. Livermore is nearer than Napa. You can spend the whole day. (When you are ready, let me know. I will give you several "tips" about Livermore wineries.)

  19. Interesting to know about wine tasting. Nice photographs gave me a good virtual trip... Thank you SG!

    The Arts & Me

  20. Lovely travel account of your wine tasting and beautiful photos. I have heard and seen of another place in the northern part of US called Richmond.

    It is now prevalent in india too.The most prominent is sula vineyards. one can enjoy like you did,take a tour, tasting, be a part of winemaking course and enjoy the fun events. infact maharashtra is hailed asthe wine tourism capital of india.

  21. Thanks for your comments Sindhu. I am glad you liked this post.

  22. Thanks for your comments Asha. I am glad you liked this post.

  23. When I was in LA , I saw Wineries but Napa VALLEY missed that Man ! Next time

  24. amazing pics... I so want to visit the place... :)
    very nice blog...keep in touch. please join my blog- The Pink Dewdrops

  25. If I happen to visit that part, you will have to take me to these wineries.

  26. Thanks for your comments Nikita. Come by the Northern California side.

  27. Thanks for your comments Sonali. And, welcome to my blog. Please visit here and you will enjoy very much.

    Sonali, please visit here as often as possible. Thanks.

  28. Thanks for your comments Neha. Please visit here. It would be my pleasure to take you to these wineries.

  29. Nashik in Maharashtra is actually becoming a tourist attraction because of Wine tasting .

  30. Looks like fun, great pictures there !
    I never got a chance to taste wine straight from a vineyard. Would love to do that sometime.

  31. It's my dream to visit California one day :)

  32. Thanks for sharing this useful Article with us related wine tasting. Some people provides Alexander Valley Wine Tasting in different events for a customer's sample to do better its services and quality of wine. I hope You will share more Article with us related Wines.