Napa Valley

Sam and I spent some time in Napa Valley and Sonoma this summer celebrating our wedding anniversary. We had never been before however it's always been high on Sam's list of places she's wanted to visit and it's a location that doesn't required a lot of convincing for anyone.

We stayed in a small guest home on a beautiful vineyard which we found through Airbnb. The owner was an older woman who lived there with her dog and leased the vineyards to local companies. I can't imagine living in such a remote and beautiful part of the country. It's hard to imagine waking up and looking outside your window to the hills and vineyards that make up Northern California.

While visiting, we spent an equal amount of time in both Napa Valley and Sonoma, with the latter being where we started our explorations. Sonoma, in my opinion, was the better of the two locations. We met Holly at The Shed on our first day for a private lunch and tasting from one of our favorite producers, Lioco. From there, we visited several of the vineyards along the main routes to and from Sonoma. I still remember the Lioco experience incredibly well. The wine, the fresh produce and the amazing food served by the friendly waitstaff at The Shed. I should mention that we're by no means wine connoisseurs, just huge fans of the "The New California", or minimal intervention, crowd of wine producers including Lioco, Matthiasson, Massican, etc. These wines generally are much lower in alcohol, have a more subtle flavor profile and are meant to be paired with food. That's about all we know!

While we really enjoyed the Lioco experience, it could not compare to our time at the Matthiasson's home and vineyard. A few months before traveling to wine country, I contacted our favorite wine producer, Matthiasson, and offered to do some pro bono consulting. Instead, they invited us to their home during our trip and Jill Matthiasson hosted a wine tasting from her and her husband's personal collection. It absolutely made our trip - we enjoyed some fantastic wine and made some new friends.

We ended out trip with a large meal at The Fremont Diner before driving back to San Francisco. I was a bit concerned about the diner being somewhat of a tourist trap, but the food ended up being great and I'm really glad we took the time to visit. Once back in San Francisco, we waited to board our flight back to Chicago. And it was only a few weeks later, while waiting at SFO again, that Sam told me that we would be temporarily relocating to Paris, France in the fall.

But more on that in a future post.

All photographs below were taken with the Sony A7 Mark ii, Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA, Sony Sonnar T* 35mm f/2.8 ZA, Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4.0 OSS, and Fuji Neo Classic Instax Mini 90

Fuji Instax: Friday Morning overlooking the San Francisco Bay

Fuji Instax: Saturday morning view from our small guest house