Napa, St Helena, Calistoga

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January 31st 2009
Published: April 21st 2009
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Culinary Institute of America GreystoneCulinary Institute of America GreystoneCulinary Institute of America Greystone

Right off highway 29, just North of Napa. They even have a good sized gift shop with some unique items should you have time to check that out. I bought a Lazy Susan for my mom fashioned from one of the ends of a wine barrel here, pretty unique.
It was a clear warm day, so I decided to make the short drive from Berkeley up to Napa, which took maybe an hour. It was a bit closer than I thought it would be. I drove through Napa and St Helena and then up to Calistoga, then made my way back South, sampling wine on the route South. The Magnificat at Franciscan and the Cabernet Savignon at Grgich Hills were both quite good.

I stopped into Buster's Southern BBQ to get me some lunch. Wow was that good if you like barbeque. There was a bit of a line to wait in, but well worth the wait. Come to think of it, every person in that line was a biker (motorcycle) except for me, but they all looked like they had white collar jobs Monday through Friday. Some damn tasty vittles, I highly recommend it!

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Vineyard across the streetVineyard across the street
Vineyard across the street

I guess it gets pretty hot up in these parts, and the air doesn't move much when it gets like that, so you see these large fans installed at most vineyards.
Charles Krug EntranceCharles Krug Entrance
Charles Krug Entrance

I believe the Krug line is from the Peter Mondavi family. This is still right across the street from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.
Large Wine BarrelsLarge Wine Barrels
Large Wine Barrels

Inside the culinary institute. I think these were just for show as this walkway leads to the gift shop.
Napa County FairgroundsNapa County Fairgrounds
Napa County Fairgrounds

I think this was actually in Calistoga. I usually do a better job of getting my rental car out of the picture ...
California's Old FaithfulCalifornia's Old Faithful
California's Old Faithful

I felt like Clark Griswold going in here, but had to check it out.
Warning, Keep Back!Warning, Keep Back!
Warning, Keep Back!

You can just slightly see the steam building ... Funny thing is, that water on the other side of the sign is tepid, not hot or warm at all. There are tiny little fish in there, about 3/4" long maybe, and when I stuck my finger in the water, they were reserved at first, then took good interest in determining if my finger was food or not. It was rather amusing to watch.
Thar She Blows!Thar She Blows!
Thar She Blows!

Wait, is that all there is? I want my $8 back! The frequency and amount of water dispensed depends on a few variables like the outside temperature. Today, it seemed to vent about every 10 minutes.

Standing at the entrance to the Franciscan winery, looking West.
Grgich HillsGrgich Hills
Grgich Hills

Entrance to the Grgich Hills tasting room. For $10 you could taste about five wines as I recall, and leave with your very own glass.
Right off highway 29Right off highway 29
Right off highway 29

Not too far from Mustard's Grill.
Wild TurkeysWild Turkeys
Wild Turkeys

I went in search of the French Laundry restaurant, expecting it to be right across the street from Mustard's Grill, according to my map. Couldn't find it. I did however come around a corner to see this flock of wild turkeys milling about this backroad.
Mustards GrillMustards Grill
Mustards Grill

Maybe the French Laundry is that building on top of the hill across the street. I will have to do more research at a later time.
Way Too Many WinesWay Too Many Wines
Way Too Many Wines

This place was pretty busy early on in the evening.

21st April 2009

Thank you for your visit to Grgich Hills. We're glad you enjoyed the wines and hope to see you back in the valley soon. Just to let you know, the fans are used for frost protection, circulating the lighter, warmer air with the cold, heavier air that settles on the ground. They're used just during the spring when the new shoots are most vulnerable to frost. Best wishes, Ken Morris Grgich Hills Estate
13th May 2009

Napa Valley vineyard fans
Hi Ken, Thank you for the comment and clarification. Interesting, I would have bet the fans were for circulation when it gets warm there in the valley in the Summer months. Thank you for the education though. I will have to remember that the next time the topic comes up. Best regards, Doug

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