CALIFORN-I-A DAY 2: Beards, Bridge, and Belly Busting Desserts


Yesterday we checked out of San Fransisco, boarded the party bus, and headed out into wine country. As much as this was the first day of work it was a Sunday, so it was a nice ease-in job, with a good slug of time at the wonderful Ram’s Gate Winery at the mouth of Sonoma County. We’ve started well, with some lovely wines, ticking off some tourist boxes, and witnessing some glorious facial fungus.

Ticking the touristy boxes  

Was great to have five minutes from a viewing tower to get a few snaps of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. At least I can prove I’ve been here now! Although a slight issue is that I can’t pose seriously for photos, I’m not the most photogenic guy in the world. So I tend to have a look round and copy other people’s poses. This was my Instagram-Lady-At-Monument pose. Just missing the Prada shades!

Cool climate California

From there it was short stop up the road from San Fransisco city to Sonoma County to visit the guys at Rams Gate Winery. These guys are just inside the county and in the cooler Carneros bit. Great to actually get a chance to see the vineyards and taste the wines of a pretty windy and cool climate winery, which is not what a lot of people associate Californian wines with. A glass of bubbles, and a tasting through some Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs and we were all purring for more.

Members Schemes

It was great to meet the team up there who explained a very Californian way of selling wines. It’s all about direct to customers. The US has a funny system (well, to me anyway), where to buy a bottle of wine from a shop it’ll have gone through at least 3 sets of hands to get there, each clipping a bit of margin on the way through. It’s just the way it is and tough to change as politics plays a big part. So like a few wineries, Rams Gate has a members’ scheme where they ship the wines direct from the cellar to their punters. Which makes a bit more sense, right?

The Detroit banker’s son

Other than that it was great hanging out with winemaker, Luke. Still in his 20s (the bastard!!) and can grow a beard like that? Hate him! 🙂 Nah, lovely bloke and very interesting to hear how a Detroit banker’s son ended up a winemaker in Sonoma via the biodynamic vineyards of Ontario in Canada. Really chuffed for him and good luck to him and the team going forward.

The slice of pie

So then just time for a bit of dinner. Note to self, when wondering “should I or shouldn’t I” when contemplating whether to go for a pudding, just remember I’m out in the States and they do things a bit bigger over here. This slice of Mud Pie was the size of my fricking head!! My cheeks are still sweating now!

Great day, bring on the rest of the week




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