Life in 21st century is fast. It is a series of milestones, deadlines and ‘peer reviews’. The pressure is on everyone to get ahead, to ride that racing horse with sweat and tear. There is little, if any, time left to contemplate the beauty that surrounds us. Any such time reserved to soak in the spirit of good-life is considered exceptional and this is mostly attained during holidays. One of our such short-term escapes from the grind of modern life was a day spent in Napa Valley. It was a day-tour across four wineries in the region, in the company of a bunch of nice people, who got even nicer towards the end of the day.
Tour bus picked us up from our hotel early in the morning. The group comprised of one local guide/driver, Lauren and eight other guests: Cindy, Sally, Emi & Paolo, Cindy & Bob, Isabel & Reto along with two of us. We hopped from one winery to another, passing through different towns in the valley, having good time all the way.
I remember distinctly each winery and the presentations of different winemakers but I must admit that I have no detailed recollection of how each wine tasted. All is in a sunshine and laughter blur. It was a fun day.
Retrospectively, I have learned a few lessons from that trip:
1) Napa Valley is a beautiful, easy going, sun filled piece of paradise on earth. If we had the chance and the means to live there, we would. Period.
2) Four wineries is just about right. You do not want to dilute the experience by trying to visit more.
3) It would be absolutely insane to attempt a wine-tour and drive on your own. Do not even think about it.
4) Take it easy on the amount of wine in each tasting because you’ll never know when you can hit your own limit.
5) Dehydrate, especially in the climate of Northern California.
6) Have a good meal in the middle of the day. It will help you metabolise the wine in the afternoon better.
7) Last, but not least, it is the people what makes a good memory; not the place, not even the wine.
What makes wine special for social occasions is I think its anonymity. No single culture dominates the experience of wine growing or consumption. Wine is made in all parts of the word, from Quebec to New Zealand, from Cappadocia to Chile. It is something that removes the boundaries between cultures, brings people closer. With the right amount in your blood, what you have inside as a human comes out in its purest form: Beauty and Love. The sunset at the terracotta hills of Napa Valley takes care of the rest.