May 22, 2014

8th Annual Wine Trip

Jessica, Russ, Me, Jessica, Jason, Katie, Troy, Cameron, Amanda & Joe (the rookies)
This past Saturday was our group of friends' 8th Annual Wine Trip. We started the tradition for Cameron and our friend, Pat's, 30th birthdays. We've gone all over Northern California, from Napa & Sonoma, to Healdsburg and Ukiah, Russian River and Lodi. 

The first Ferrari we saw - Loved the shade of blue
This year we planned the trip, and selected Monterey as our destination. And the rookies on the trip had the best suggestion on where to go. Joe & Amanda live near Monterey and suggested we buy tickets to the Wine Trolley which takes you over the hill to Carmel Valley. It made planning this year so easy - not only were the winery tasting rooms pretty much selected for us, but this way there was no need to worry about a limo, and every one could get their own tickets at whatever level they wanted. Cameron and I selected the package that included 2 wine glasses with the trolley etched onto them, a wine opener and a cheese, cracker, meat & fruit platter for lunch.  
What I focused on most of the day ; )

There were only two stops with the wine trolley as well, the first being at the Winery Tasting Room for Ventana. There we were given a quick tasting for 6 of the wines. 

Troy & Cameron "test driving" a Ferrari

The wines were ok here but I don't think anyone in our group took advantage of getting a free bottle of wine there or bought a bottle. Before we headed over the rest of the hill, the boys did take advantage of the 7-11 next door, grabbing a case of beer to enjoy for the 20 minute ride over the rest of the hill. And within minutes the boys had made friends with the rest of husbands and boyfriends along for the ride as the beer was handed out to anyone that asked. 
We took a wagon ride over to Talbott - Joe, Troy & Cameron

Did I mention the Trolley was packed? Normally, a tour bus follows the Trolley to accommodate all the people so every one had a seat. But the bus broke down that morning. 35 had signed up for the day and there was only seating enough for 24. Any one that volunteered to stand would receive a free bottle of wine. We had a group of 5 couples and each male representative of the couples offered to stand. It was just like high school with the cool boys in the back of the bus - our boys. The ladies and I had nice seats inside the trolley. 
Jessica & Russ

The second stop was what the trolley was all about as there are over 240 wines to taste in this little town, with the streets lined with tasting rooms. Our friends Troy & Katie work in the industry and they had a few tasting rooms to suggest. Our first stop brought us to Bernardus, where we walked away with a delicious Sauvignon Blanc. 

Amanda & Jessica
We then made our way to Chock Rock, where I used my coupon for A Free Bottle of Red and a free bottle of white to walk away with two bottles of Chardonnay - the owner was fine with substituting a red for a second bottle of white. And while we were there, a wine club member stopped in to pick up his shipment - in his Ferrari. Cameron chatted him up some and then our buddy Jason asked if Cameron could sit in the car. He obliged. Cameron looked like a kid on Christmas morning. 

Last up, we visit Talbott. All the wines we tasted here were fantastic, but given the higher prices, we only walked away with a chardonnay, and that will be saved for a special occasion. 

The ride back into Monterrey was full of a lively bunch, as more beer was passed around. After the ride, we headed to Joe & Amanda's house for a BBQ full of yummy food before calling it a night by 9:30 PM!

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