The grounds of the Korbel Winery are beautiful. Tastings here are free.
Day 4 in the cloud…
OK, sure I tell clients they need to be in the cloud all the time but that’s technology. This is taking it too literal though. We’re on the coast and socked in with fog and rain in a cloud. We are kind of connectivity-challenged here as well. While we have a Sat modem hookup, it is sloooooowwww. My iPhone is just a paperweight here that reads ‘No Service’. So I am being forced to put down my cell phone and not work. Which is kind of the point of a vacation but something I’m still adjusting to. The first day was the roughest—kind of like quitting smoking.
We started the day waking up somewhat early after a good night’s rest. The bedroom of this house has great floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views but is a bit “curtain-challenged” so you wake up when it gets light out.
We decided to hit a few nearby vineyards and ease into the whole wine tasting thing and slowly got the day going. We both relaxed and took our time getting ready. Bentley was not feeling well and wanted only to be in bed with the blinds drawn—he’s nocturnal
Kev at the Korbel winery
not a morning dog. I picked back up an interesting book I started a couple of months back about the US dysfunctional relationship with Pakistan named ‘Deadly Embrace’, which is very fitting given the events of the last few weeks. With no breakfast and no coffee I’ll freely admit I was a bit grumpy today by the time we got going and thinking only of bacon and eggs. We finally decided to eat once we got the Korbel Champagne facility which is only a dozen miles away but still takes a while to reach since the roads are very twisty. My mom loves Korbel and we often had it at holidays and family functions growing up so it was a treat to get her something from there that is not available in stores. Plus, they have a wonderful restaurant with coffee! After some food (no bacon and eggs), I felt much happier. The champagne tasting was cool as we worked our way from dry to sweet champagnes. I learned that their Extra Dry champagne is not their driest—go figure. The other great thing about heading to Korbel is the drive. I’ve never seen Redwood trees up close and in person
The vineyards are vast and beautifully green
so it was a treat to behold their majesty and scale. The roads are often covered with thick canopies of tree limbs that completely block out my Sat radio signal.
Our cell phones worked again! So I also squeezed in a work call at Korbel and am now going to take a vacation from my vacation tomorrow and head into to Palo Alto for a client meeting.
So with my work stuff taken care of we headed over to the Coppola winery. I had 45 minutes to get there hoping I’d have a cell signal again upon arrival so I could do my next call. I made it with 5 min to spare and a mile or two away, the iPhone popped to life again. This was an amazing facility. Francis Ford Coppola has been making wine for decades and just this last year opened a new, very large facility in Sonoma that contains a cool restaurant, museum of his movie stuff and bottling & distribution and pool area. His movies are woven into the design of the entire facility and includes memorabilia like his Tucker automobile. That was a great movie too. Nancy got us tickets to a private
Don't ask me about my business
Ok, just this once, you can ask
tour & tasting while I was on my last work call of the day. The tour was great and answered a lot of my questions about winemaking and terminology. Our ‘guide’ Neil was a great host who knew his stuff and made it fun. The tasting was fun too! We tried several wines and I now have a new favorite Coppola wine—Archimedes. Neil also explained about the various ‘mini-regions’ in the area and how their unique climates and soil impact the type of grapes grown there. Where they’re located in Sonoma will be hot and sunny in the 90’s this summer, the Russian River area on the coast is known for its cloudy, cool, wet weather. Of course we’re staying in the cloudy, cool place. Even though the two places are just about 20 miles away, much different climates—weird.
After the tour we headed back home to the coast. We shopped along the way for some stuff to cook over the next couple of days and are once again preparing for a relaxing night ‘at home.’ Yes, Nancy got me some eggs and stuff for breakfast in the morning. I’m even going to make coffee myself.
Nancy's Entry: It
The Sign on the Desk
Can't wait to see the movie again!
was Kevin's turn to start the day out grumpy. We woke up early, but by the time we left the house at 11:00 he was hungry enough to eat a bear, and he wasn't going to be happy until he got fed. Bentley wasn't feeling well and we didn't want to leave him behind, so we brought him with us. We had plans to start the day at the Korbel winery, so we drove there and had a gourmet sandwich in their deli. I saved some turkey from my deli sandwich and went to the car to give it to Bentley. Both Kevin and Bentley felt (and behaved) much better after they ate. Unfortunately we couldn't sit outside on their beautiful patio because it was pouring rain. We enjoyed a champagne tasting in their tasting room and sent a few bottles home. After that we moved on to the Coppola winery. They just moved into a new place and are only beginning to give tours. We were the only two on our tour, so we got a very inside look from our tour guide. The tour, which is normally 45 minutes, was 2 1/2 hours. It was fascinating to see
Entry to Coppola Winery
The entry to the Coppola Wine Chateau is grand
the bottling of "Sofia" taking place, as well as getting the inside scoop of why Francis Ford Coppola designed the new facility the way he did. Apparently he's a very "hands on" manager, which the tour guide said sometimes is good and sometimes is bad. Since he is a director, everything said and done in the winery is staged, and sometimes his employees find it annoying. Nevertheless, the whole thing was fascinating.
Kevin had to take a work call in between wineries, and got sucked into a meeting in San Francisco Wednesday night. He could have said no, but it's for a very exciting client here. They are putting us up in a nearby hotel for the night where Bentley and I are glad to order room service, lounge and shop while Kev does a little business.
After we finished at Coppola we drove to Guy Fieri's (Food Network) restaurant "Johnny Garlic's." It was a good Italian restaurant with big screen TV's all over the place, each playing a different Food Network show. It was fun to be there because we're big fans, but if it hadn't been his place I don't know that we would have given it a
The entry to the tasting room
second thought -- it was a pretty run-of-the-mill restaurant. After that we picked up a few groceries. We were exhausted and headed back to our mountain home in Jenner. It was fogged in and raining all day. It is starting to bother me -- I need some sun! I'm not a person that does well without sunlight for long periods of time. How do I survive in Chicago, you ask? I'm not sure -- my neighbor Andy and I wonder that all the time, as he doesn't like it either. It's supposed to be sunny tomorrow -- thank goodness -- we'll let you know then...
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