Recent visit to Napa/San Fran
I'm thankful to a lot of information posted on here, which helped me plan a fantastic trip filled with great winery visits, so I wanted to contribute info re: our trip. Here are the wineries we visited:
*Pride Mountain--Tour and Tasting. Fantastic! Great wines, great tour, great drive up there, great picnic spot.
*Smith Madrone--Tour and Tasting. Very small. Took the owners a little while to get in their groove (we arrived early and threw them off), but it ended up being a GREAT visit. Very small place, but lots of interesting info. GREAT riesling.
*Cain--Tour and Tasting. Tour wasn't that great, but we really enjoyes the tasting. Might have been our favorite wines. The guide was a a little too stuffy for us, but it was still a great exerience.
*David Arthur--Tasting. Definitely recommended! Our favorite wines from this visit, although we couldn't purchase on site. Very pricey too. Great tasting experience--free, for one. They were very generous with their tastings. it was set under a beautiful shade tree in their vineyards.. very very cool.
*The Terraces--ATV tour and Tasting. This was my favorite tour by far (and included a tasting of their in-process balsamic vinegar!) The wines were decent, .. hoping they improve with time as they were just bottled.
*Joseph Phelps-Terrace Tasting. These were also on the top of my list as far as wines. Wonderful! Their Insignia and Syrah are fantastic. Terrace tasting didn't provide much in the way of information, but it was a GORGEOUS location and very relaxing. Wish I'd bought some of their olive oil though.
*Mumm--Tour and tasting. Definitely more commerical than is my preference, but still interesting. Enjoyed their sparking wines.
We also did a tour and tasting at Round Pond (olive oil), which was not great at all. Not a lot of info and very rushed. Also very pricey. Would not recommend. Go to Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company and buy a quart of their EVOO for $14 instead! Then hold out a few years until The Terraces sells their Balsamic Vinegar and buy that!
As for dinners, we ate at Bistro Jeanty, Ad Hoc, and Redd. All were good, Redd was my favorite. Ad Hoc might have been, but our veal was too salty.
As far San Fran, we only had one dinner at Ozumo. Decent, but not spectacular.
Thanks for the report. Am very surprised with your experience at Round Pond - I did the olive oil tour three times last year (first with hubby, was so impressed that I returned with mom/MIL and then friends/co-workers). In all 3 visits, we never felt rushed, and in fact were treated like honored guests. Back then, it was $20 per person, which felt like a bargain considering the info, tour and fabulous tasting afterwards.
Man! We must have had the worst tour guide ever. . or caught her on a bad day :( She just didn't seem to know much.. and the tour itself lasted for less than 5 minutes. I was very excited to learn the ins and outs of production, but only felt like I left with the Cliff Notes version. It wasnt *horrible*, but not worth the $25pp we paid. Plus, I spent $55 + Tax on a gift set ... and after tasting NV Olive Oil Manufacturing Co's oil, wish I'd saved it. Ah well..
Couldn't agree more with your thoughts on Pride Mountain. It was our final visit during our trip in May, and it was a GREAT way to end the trip.