red, red wine country

The weather has turned chilly and gray lately, but just before Thanksgiving, Seb and I had one perfect, warm, sunny day in wine country. It was mid-November, but nearly 80 degrees up in Healdsburg, the site of our first stop. Four years ago, on my first trip to wine country with my friends Kelly and Noah (Springfield natives who live in SF), we ended up at this adorable general store with a tiny attached bar and a big front porch made for relaxing with a pint of beer while looking out over the vineyards across the street. I've wanted to return ever since, so we headed straight there for the first of our two lunches that day. It was packed, but we managed to snag a picnic table.

First time at Dry Creek with Kelly+Noah in 2006. No idea who the two locals are.

After our first lunch of a shared sandwich at Dry Creek, we left Healdsburg and headed back down south towards Napa, driving through Calistoga and St. Helena on the way. The drive was even more stunning than usual; wine country is gorgeous enough in the spring and summer when the vines are green, but I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the vines in the fall. The grapes themselves were off and crushed, but the leaves were amazing shades of red and gold.

St. Helena was the site of our second lunch, at Gott's Roadside, formerly known as Taylor's Refresher, a delicious burger-and-fries joint that also has a location in the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

From St. Helena, we continued down to Napa and then onto Sonoma for a couple of stops at actual wineries
we had been in wine country for hours, but hadn't managed to actually taste any wine yet. Before heading back home across the Golden Gate Bridge, we stopped at Cline Cellars' cute farmhouse-style tasting room for a taste of their Viognier and their Ancient Vines wine from some the oldest vines in California, a few of which have been around since 1890.

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