It’s so hard to believe that we’ve been back from California for a week already! We headed west after shooting Ali & Natan’s wedding in Key Largo on Veteran’s Day. We love going to the west coast so much and keep saying we’re going to move out there some day. Though we didn’t grab any housing magazines on this trip, we have in the past. Don’t be surprised if we end up out there. Awesome weather, awesome friends, wine, and fish tacos? Do we need any more encouragement?
This trip was a bit of business and a bit of pleasure. Our album company is located in LA, and we love them so much that we’ll grab any excuse to head out there to see them! Also, the albums are handcrafted and come in a custom box made with wood and silk moire… and they are HEAVY. One of the albums we picked up weighed about 13lbs. So shipping would have been expensive, and we’d have to ship one of the albums BACK to California because one of the couples lives there so… I think you get the point! When Continental had a sale and we were able to get flights for less than $150 roundtrip, it was a no brainer!
After picking up the albums in LA, we headed to northern Cali for a day in Napa. We visited a total of 7 wineries:
V. Sattui – It really is the tourist trap that everyone says it is, but the market inside has a nice assortment of cheeses. The wines were just okay, but we bought a couple bottles of the family red (only $15) and had one opened for our picnic. Not the quite picnic we imagined, but we still enjoyed our snack! And not all of the wineries have a permit for you to picnic, so that’s something that V. Sattui has going for them.
Freemark Abbey – This place was very low key and had an older crowd. We bought a bottle of 2007 Zinfandel.
Heitz Cellars – They have a complimentary tasting, but as you can imagine the good wines aren’t a part of it. We weren’t looking to spend $150 on a bottle on this trip, so that was fine by us. We picked up another bottle of Zin (also from 2007) for around $30.
Duckhorn – A seated tasting with a friendly server! Duckhorn was suggested by my friend Anna Kim (a photographer from Hawaii and one of my roomies at WPPI) after I posted on Facebook how disappointed we were with our Napa experience. We enjoyed the wines, but $85 and up wasn’t in our budget for taking home. When we plan a full Napa trip we’ll go back!
Clos Pegase – We found this place by accident. We just turned down a random road and saw it. The guy behind the counter was an Ohio State fan, so we talked about that a bit. The place seemed lifeless inside. Outside, it had weird pieces of modern art… including a 7 ft tall bronze thumb. Ew! But we thought the 2006 Merlot was okay enough to take home.
Trinchero – One of my favorite bottles of wine came from here – a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. We stopped here as we were leaving Napa and we’re glad that we did!
Louis M. Martini – The last two stops were the best! At Louis M. Martini, we had a tasting paired with wine-infused truffles. And it was only $5 to add the truffles to the tasting! We bought 2 bottles of their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, and have already had one of them since returning home! No truffles this time, though. : (
Fall is an absolutely gorgeous time to visit Napa, too. Good thing we brought our cameras, eh?!
After a day in Napa, we drove to San Fran for the evening. It’s not a far drive, but Saturday night traffic was a nightmare! But even with the horrendous traffic, I still love California! We finally got to San Fran and we stopped for dinner downtown at The Stinking Rose, which was recommended by one of our October couples, Holly & Brock. They went to San Fran for their honeymoon and raved about it so much that we had to try it out. It’s a garlic lover’s paradise! Thanks for the suggestion, you guys! : )
After dinner, we checked into our hotel and walked around Fisherman’s Wharf for a little while. The next morning, we were up bright and early and drove across the Golden Gate to take in the view. The air was cool and there was a light breeze. I wish we had more time to spend there, but we had more to do before leaving Cali!
Six hours of driving through the California countryside and we were back in the LA area to visit with Maricel & EJ and deliver their gorgeous album and parent albums! We even got to watch the video from their wedding day and re-live the whole day! But wait, it gets better!! Sammy & Allen (who are getting married in February) also came over! It was so awesome to see them again before the wedding!
We were only in California for 3 days, but we sure packed a lot into our trip! We can’t wait to come back out there soon! : )