I'm sure most of you have started wondering if I have fallen off the edge of the world after my prolonged absence and total radio silence since I returned from my trip to Napa and Sonoma. Well, I am here to report that I did not, in fact, fall off the edge of the world. I will fill in some of these events with more details later, but I wanted to get you something about my trip, just to let you know what I was up to while I was out there.
I landed in Oakland last Thursday, and after an excruciatingly long wait at the baggage claim and rental car center, I immediately headed for the nearest In-N-Out Burger (no, I didn't get animal style), and then worked my way toward Deerfield Ranch Winery for a Facebook meet-up that was put together by my friend Sonoma William. I had the opportunity to meet a number of new people, including my old friend Brian Wing of Norcal Wingman and Shana Ray, as well as see some old Wine Bloggers' Conference friends again, such as Ed Thralls, Jill Dever, Andrew Lazorchak, Steven Washuta and Eric Hwang. It was great to get a chance to network right after I hit the ground in California.
No wine gathering is complete without an after-party, so immediately following the Deerfield meet-up, we worked our way over to the Russian River Brewing Company, where I indulged in a little hoppy bliss. I had their Pliny the Elder Double IPA and a sour brown ale called Supplication. After satisfying our urge for brew, we headed to the after-after-party at my buddy Steven's place. It was great to have a little more conversation time with Steven, Shana Ray, and Ed.
Friday was a busy day. I met with the crazy smart folks at VinTank and Cruvee and then worked my way over to an afternoon visit with Marita's Vineyard. Marita's is a Napa Cabernet producer that I have been working with a little that has a really great story. It was fun getting to experience their Ranchito and a wonderful meal and some of their great Cab.
I spent most of the afternoon at Marita's before heading over to Harris Estate Vineyards for a going away party for Seth Johnson, who is taking off to do a little Sommin' on the ocean. I was only two days into my trip, and already I had been to three really awesome estates. Harris is beautiful, with a great pond and a luxurious house on the property. I will write more about this later, but there is some really interesting history to the property. Did I mention that it was beautiful?
The weekend featured a drive through the Sonoma Coast area with my boy Drew, followed by a visit to the NPA, which will also be written about in more detail later, a tasting at Ridge, dinner with some great peeps at Willi's Wine Bar, and some Sunday hiking with Hardy Wallace and Drew amongst the redwoods of Armstrong Woods State Park and along the coast at Goat Rock. This trip pretty much cemented my love of the Sonoma Coast area. There are just some places that are so beautiful that you really can't even do justice to them with words. Even these pictures are a feeble attempt at capturing the incredible scene.
Monday kicked off with an interview that went really well, followed by a full evening at the #MerlotMonday event at VinTank, and then a "White Party" at John Anthony. The John Anthony event was great. I met my Twitter buddy @jandrews71 (formerly @hondajohn), some great new peeps, and hung out with my friends Jill Dever and Christophe Smith from Titus Vineyards and Wine Biz Radio. Made some really great connections that have already been helpful in my job search.
Tuesday might have been my single busiest day of the trip. I had a meeting with a recruiter in the morning at the Sunflower Cafe in Sonoma, a tasting at Titus with Christophe, an incredible interview, and then dinner at Oenotri with Chris Oggenfuss of VinTuba fame. I am really excited about the results of this interview, and I really feel like this day was one of my most productive.
This post is getting really long, so I'm going to finish my update tomorrow.
Deerfield photo is from Eric Hwang's Facebook page. Eric did a great job of chronicling the event.