California’s wineries were built in the days of martini lunches. Men, and the occasional lucky lady, going out to lunch at, well, lunchtime, having multiple martinis and then returning to finish their workday. And may I remind us all that this was long before the advent of the designer martini and whereas today yours might be softened with a splash of this or that fruit juice, the old-school style meant you were just drinking a glass or two of gin. Scary to think of the “work” that followed, for sure, but how about just the simple fact that all of those people were driving to and from those lunches!
But, so, the famed Napa Valley wineries, and the idea of day long wine tastings, were born in this same era. It’s a beautiful valley and really super lovely to drive from one to the next, sampling a few things at each. Except after a while you start to realize that that stuff’s alcoholic! Which even might seem ok-ish, until you, our guests, realize that you and your rental car need to be thinking about the two hour drive from the Napa to the Silicon Valley.
My suggestion? Mt. St. Helena! It’s the highest peak in the wine country. It features a wide, very well maintained path all the way up to its not-actually-really-so-high summit, perfect for wobbling your way up with very minimal risk of twisted ankles and the like. Plus views along the way that are (sorry I can’t resist) sobering. It’s the perfect way to round off a round of wine tasting.