off-roading with a twist of vino

When my mama came for a visit last weekend, we headed across the Golden Gate Bridge and up to Napa for a great wine tour at Somerston Winery. Until that day, all my Napa/Sonoma winery experience had been simple tastings in tasting rooms, so this was a welcome treat. The tour starts with a tasting of sauvignon blanc, followed by a walking tour through the warehouse where they store their barrels (all French oak). Then we hopped in a 4x4 buggy (like a golf cart on steroids) and headed out on an off-roading tour through the vineyard.

We stopped first at the winery’s own sparkling spring, one of the only sparkling springs left in the area. After sampling the bubbly water (tasted a little odd, but not bad) and enjoying the spectacular view of the hilly property, we took off for a drive among the vines. Our guide stopped every so often to explain which type of grapes were growing where and tell us all kinds of cool facts about the wine-making process and the wine industry in general.

When we arrived back at the tasting room, a lovely spread of cheeses, nuts, dried fruit and lamb charcuterie made from the winery’s own flock of sheep was waiting for us on a table under an enormous umbrella on the patio. We had two more tastings – a red wine blend and a wonderful cabernet sauvignon – while we relaxed in a gorgeous Napa Valley setting.



hot city in the desert

I got a jolt of summertime this past weekend on a girls trip to Vegas. I am well versed in “summertime” in San Francisco – fog, chilly nights, the requirement to take a big bag with you everywhere so you’ll always have your scarf and jacket – so when I landed in Las Vegas, walked out of the airport and got that first feel of burning, 100-degree sun on my skin, I nearly keeled over.

Luckily, a full pool day in a cabana at the
MGM Grand Pool kept me from melting, and Ghostbar on the roof of the Palms casino resort provided cool desert breezes.

MGM Grand Pool + cabanas (above; courtesy mgmgrand.com); views of the Las Vegas Strip from Ghostbar (below); pool day (further below left); the sun setting on “New York” (further below middle); Bellagio Fountains (further below right); Lion Habitat at MGM (bottom).