May 12, 2010

Hopland Wine Passport

Over the weekend of May 1 & 2, we headed to Mendocino county with our friends Matt, Lynde, Alyssa, Jeremy, Kim and Pat, to part take in the Hopland Wine Passport, and our 4th annual wine tasting trip.

The Parents-to-be

Jeremy & Alyssa

Matt & Lynde

Kim & Pat

Friday night started with Matt, Lynde, Alyssa, Jeremy, Cameron and I piling into the Yukon for the long drive. Of course, there was a stop at Granzella's for dinner along the way. We finally arrived at our hotel around 11 PM, just in time to get some much needed rest for the day ahead of us.

Saturday we all got up and headed to Denny's for breakfast while we waited for Kim & Pat to arrive. Before we knew it we were on our way to the first winery, Jaxon Keys. I have to say this was a very well organized event. For $35, your ticket got you a Hopland Wine Passport wine glass, a reusable wine tote that can hold up to 6 wine bottles and entrance into 15 winery tasting rooms over a two day period. The tour also provided shuttle services between the wineries and a few hotels in Ukiah, including the Holiday Inn where we stayed. This would have been great, had I not been the pregnant DD. Did I mention that DDs got into these places for free, and could enjoy the live music and delicious food? The other cool thing about this wine passport? It's held twice a year! So any one interested should go in October!

As mentioned, our first stop was Jaxon Keys. The tasting room was a beautiful Victorian-era home up on the hill over looking the little valley the vineyards claimed. Cameron's favorite wine there was a Sauvignon Blanc, produced in a steel barrel. Upon smelling it, I can only imagine how good it tasted - of course, we forgot to buy a bottle of it. Oh well, we'll just have to go back.

The Gang at Jaxon Keys

From there we headed to Brutocao Cellars. Their tasting room is actually located in the old Hopland Highschool in downtown Hopland. Boy, could I have spend money in their gift shop as it contained all kinds of items I could decorate the house with. This tasting room also had a nice picnic area and Bocce Ball courts. Matt & Cameron didn't turn down a chance to pick up a game while the rest of us lounged in the sun.

Brutocao Cellars

Bocce Ball

Many other tasting rooms were located in Downtown Hopland as well, so we did some walking while took in McDowell (another great gift store attached to this one), McNab Ridge Winery (where I saw this great end table made out of a wine barrel), McFadden Farm and Graziano Family of Wines (where they gave me a $5.99 magazine, called Touring and Tasting, for free - will be great for ideas for next year's annual wine trip.)

I want to make end tables just like this one for our loft!

This set up was also nice for the pregnant DD. I could walk to each winery with everyone and while they partook in their tasting, I'd wander the nearby shops. I even found a shop that sold old wine barrels for $15! The whole wine barrel. Too bad we had so many people in the car, otherwise I would have bought two so Cameron could make me my end tables!

We ended the day at Weibel Family Wine Group, which was located on the winery. Driving up to it I noticed we were passing many of the wineries we had been introduced to in Downtown Hopland. Can't complain when driving through vineyards - its just so beautiful around them this time of year. Turns out Weibel makes a non-alcoholic Champagnette, so I got to do a little tasting myself. It was a little sweet, but not pure grape juice like every other non-alcoholic wine I've tasted during this pregnancy. Matt & Lynde even bought me a bottle to enjoy later.

From there, we ended our day having dinner at the Ukiah Brewing Co. where the cuisine is all organic. Have to say the day did take a toll on my poor feet from the walking and warm weather. By the time we got back to the hotel, I was ready to soak my feet, which I did in the bathtub, full of cool water. Cameron and I went down to the spa later where I soaked the feet some more, but ended up making them worse. When we got back to the room, Cameron got a bucket of ice and folded the ice in cool, damp washcloths and laid them over my feet. The ice melted pretty quickly. Luckily my next doctor's appointment was Monday, and by then my feet were back to normal and my blood pressure was great so we knew it was strictly from being on my feet in warm weather.

And that was our last weekend away. Now we sit and wait for London to arrive.


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