Going To California With Some Drinking In My Mind…La La La La!


I’ve only ever been to the States with work in my old job. So I’ve done the Manhattan and Brooklyn thing, and even had a couple of days up in Boston with the most blinding hangover I can remember in years! But I’ve never been over the West Coast. My brother-in-law lived there for four years and loved every minute. Wine-o friends of mine, notably Ant Davies of @CheltenhamGrape, went on a tour and have never been the same since. It’s right up there on my to-do list. And then an email turned up…

Sunnier Skies

There’s a press trip coming up out to Napa and Sonoma in March, and all I can think of was that they needed someone to come and help with the luggage at the airport, because I got an invite!!! I’m absolutely stoked, least of all because I’m desperate for some sun. Someone please tell me that California is sunny in March, please!!

Need Your Help

Now comes the bit where I need your help. We’ve been thus far given a bit of a blank canvas as far as the itinerary goes. I’m looking for great wines and great laughs. I’m looking for nutter winemakers who are going to spend their days throwing amazing wines at us and also might let me have a go on their quad bikes or horses or something like that!

No, But Seriously Folks…

I’m really after wineries and winemakers that will let me come back to the UK raving about Californian wines. My opinions are always subject to change, but to be completely honest Californian wine in most of the UK is either really shit brand stuff, or ridiculously expensive top end stuff. I doubt it’ll be tough to convince me that there are amazing wines out there, but are there guys and girls who are successfully exporting their wines around the world? I’d love to meet them too!

So there you go boys and girls, anyone who’s been out to Napa and Sonoma before get those suggestions in please 🙂


21 thoughts on “Going To California With Some Drinking In My Mind…La La La La!”

  1. I love California, that’s where I was born and I frequently go back, I hope you love it. def check out the great Vineyards around the southern areas.

  2. Wind Gap, Broc Cellars, Joseph Swan, Au Bon Climat, Marietta Cellars, Corison, Ridge, Liquid Farm, Drew Family, Arnot Roberts, Matthiasan, cakebread, Red Car, Chanin, Jolie Laide, that should get you started!

  3. I can certainly give you a list of some of my fav wineries in the regions….there are so many. I suggest you ask The Drunken Cyclist, Jeff use to live there, his in-laws still live there, & he has spent a lot of time there.

  4. Jeff definitely would be good to ask. And March will be hit or miss for weather. It can be very rainy and it definitely can be cold- March and April are danger months because of frost. Hopefully, we’ll have some bright, sunny weather for you- with everything still being green from the rain and you get a sunny day, it’s truly beautiful.

  5. Like many wine regions, there are iconic visits and posers. I’d suggest Chateau Montelena as an iconic visit. When I was last in California, I was struck by the contrast between Napa and Sonoma. Not sure if the distinction still exists. But, Sonoma was agriculture and Napa was a bit more marketing and glamour. Both had spectacular wines. I know you like the travels in the dirt as do I (think Gratallops). Hope you find it. #jealous

  6. Hi! I’m a Napa local, I’m happy to share some tips with you. I’d definitely do a day of just champagne tasting…if you like bubbles that is! Domaine Carneros, Chandon, Mumm, and Schramsberg would be the 4 stops to make the day. All gorgeous, all delicious, you’ll have a blast! If you want to get outdoors some, in the actual town of Napa do an early morning hike/walk at Alston Park while the sun is rising, it’s so pretty- especially on a clear morning, if you go to my blog my header is actually taken from Alston Park. Mt. St Helena hike is fun too, a little more involved, but pretty and very much worth it. And of course, check-out downtown Napa in the evening. I’d recommend Andaz (during the summer go to the 2nd floor they have an outdoor patio with fire pits and cabanas, Cadets is fun (very hipster), Eikos has a DJ some nights and the sushi is to die for, Palisades it’s a new sports bar and aweseome as well. I’m here if you have any other questions 🙂

    1. Got to say I like the Alston Park point, I’ll be doing some morning jogs with a couple of others on the trip so we’ll sort that out! And thanks you so much for all those hints and tips, really great of you 🙂

  7. Hi! I’m from London and now living in Southern California and as a Brit you will just LOVE Napa! It’s so beautiful and fun 🙂
    Hall Winery at sunset is just heaven, you must go here! Opus One is a great winery and Californians rave about the wine. Domaine Carneros – stunning.

  8. I lived in the Central Coast area (San Luis Obispo, Atascadero, Paso Robles) of California 30 years ago and yes … the weather in March is hit or miss. Winter is the rainy season and it can be cold as well. That said … J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines in Paso Robles makes just about the FINEST Cab Sav you’ll ever taste … have fun and enjoy !! 🙂 🙂

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