Weekend in the Weed Van

Hello Yinzer Eats readers! It’s meee! Clarice. I’m taking over for Rachel indefinitely and this blog now belongs to me.

Just kidding. Sorta. But maybe someday. I’ll keep you posted.

In early April, Rachel & Fam visited the west coast, where they generously included me in a birthday celebration-palooza in Napa, California. Essentially the weekend was a marathon of wine, food, and sunshine, in a giant rental SUV that smelled of cannabis—basically the quintessential California welcome.

DAY 1

Sherwin Family Vineyards: The perfect winery to kick off the weekend! After driving through a 20 mile or-so winding road (bring your chewing gum if you get car sick like me), we ended up at Sherwin: Home of the Patriotic Pour. Fun fact about this winery, they are the only company that has federal approval to put the American flag on an alcohol label. For the full story, visit their site.

Fun behind-the-scenes tidbit: During the tasting, we were told by the winemaker that we had missed Lea Michele by about twenty minutes. Her Instagram story confirmed it. Thus making us, Twenty [Minutes] from Stardom. It’s a thing.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery: I’m a huge cinephile, so imagine my excitement about trying the blends created by the incredible Francis Ford Coppola himself. This place is definitely not what you’d expect—on the exterior it resembles a knock-off Walt Disney World Resort with angular buildings.

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Barndiva: If you’re looking for a glamorous barn where you can indulge in top-tier entrees, look no further. Imagine a grungy barn with wood paneling and Edison bulbs, but divatasized in the same way your hip aunt decorates her dingy cottage with geometrically-patterned pillows—or something of the like…But the food was incredible, the atmosphere was lovely, and the outdoor area is perfect for an event. No doubt would go back to this place in the future.

DAY 2

Our day started at 6:30AM. Knowing full well that we would be consuming nothing but wine for an entire day, we headed to the hotel gym before going to our first winery. V proud of us for making it there. We refueled with breakfast, granola at the Andaz cafe, before embarking on our journey to the first tasting at Del Dotto.

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Del Dotto: After this visit, I can say that I have been barrel-tasting in a cave! This place was crazy. We tasted wine, ate a LOT of breadsticks, and learned about barrel-making, all while the sultry sounds of operatic melodies blasted overhead. I felt like I was in one of those Dove commercials where they eat chocolate in slo-mo, except we were drinking wine rather than eating chocolate, and drinking in fast-mo rather than slo-mo…Hmm. So maybe it didn’t feel like a Dove commercial at all. But anyway, their wine was probably some of my favorite of the weekend (though, it is quite hard to pick an absolute favorite). Would definitely recommend this place for the unique experience it offers, and the delicious bar bites they provide after a tasting!

Caymus Vineyards: This place is very serene, but you gotta be sneaky if you have a party of six or more. For instance, if the wine pourer person asks you if you know that woman who is a) allegedly in a separate party from your party of five, and b) trying to make conversation with you, you respond with, “never seen her in my life.” Then, aside, “mom! play. it. cool. geez.”

This vineyard has beautiful garden seating. Is there anything lovelier than drinking wine outside under the Napan sun? Nay, I say. We tasted the blends of all the different children in the family and at the end, we were even able to keep the wine glasses.

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Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars: aka home of the Pied Piper. But that’s really all I got. In all honestly this was the point in the day where all the wines kinda started to blur. I remember the server being able to carry nine glasses full of wine in one trip and being mesmerized by that.

Torc: Scallops, lobster, asparagus, oh my! After a day of tasting, this was an ideal dinner spot. Not only is the environment warm and comfortable, but their food is not too heavy. For starters, Rachel and I shared the artichoke velouté—which, if you are an artichoke fan like me, was splendid. For the main course Rachel ordered scallops on a bed of peas and carrots, while I had the lobster risotto. Both, like I said, were light, which was perfect after a day of wine and breadsticks.

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Overall, this was an amazing weekend of great wine, amazing food, and fantastic company. Special shout out to California for the kickass weekend weather, and for the whole Diehl squad for including me in their family vacay!

~~~

Yinzer Eats. Where Yinzers Eat.

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