|The sweetest birthday present was an animated video from baby Anthony. SOO CUTE|
My birthday party would begin at Pine Ridge Vineyards, which is a winery Danielle had visited and loved. Since she is a wine club member, she was actually able to hook us up with a FREE tour and tasting worth $100!! Thanks again Danielle!
We departed around 1:15pm and drove along the scenic Silverado trail for 20 minutes before arriving at our destination. We walked around and took photos before entering the winery.
|Picture I took in the parking lot in front of Pine Ridge. Eric dressed up so nice for my birthday!|
|Demonstration Vineyard - we later learned this is a non-production vineyard that allows guests to have a hands on experience. I've definitely never seen anything like this before. Pretty neat|
|I can't get enough of California's perfect weather|
|Peaceful and beautiful|
|This is the best birthday ever! There is literally no where in the entire world I'd rather be!|
|Comfortable and casual tasting room was the meeting place for our tour|
|Pine Ridge has 180 acres in Napa on 5 different appellations, including the famous Stags Leap district!|
Upon entering the winery, we were greeted by our tour guide who welcomed us by wishing me a Happy Birthday and pouring our first tasting to enjoy while we waited for the others. A few minutes later, two other middle aged couples arrived and we began our tour.
|Our first taste|
|The guide led us into the vineyard during our tour. Notice the flowers? They are planted there intentionally because any disease will attack the flowers before the vines (basically an early warning system)|
|So far our tour was very informative and I was enjoying every second|
|Eric enjoying his second taste, which was poured right in the vineyard|
|Large impressive facility|
|Our group getting educated on the barrels|
|The caves were my favorite! Interesting fact - because the caves are underground, they don't have to pay property tax on it!|
|You can see the table set up for our tasting at the end|
|Art on display in the cave was a nice touch|
|My first tasting in a wine cave on my 32nd birthday - not too shabby :)|
|Brochure provided for each person at the table|
|Tasting deets - Even though Stag's Leap is considered the best, Eric's favorite was the 2013 Oakville. We later bought 6 bottles using Danielle's club membership discount|
|I will take this over a birthday cake ANYDAY|
When the tasting concluded, the tour guide literally had to force our group to get up from the table. When he indicated it was time to move on, all six of us just sat there ignoring him. The other two couples were friends from Milwaukee. Eric connected with one of the husbands who did business with Johnson Controls.
After we finally got up, we headed back to the tasting room bar to finish. The guide asked if we wanted to taste anything else, and of course we all did. When he walked away to find a bottle we wanted to try, one of the husbands reached over the counter, grabbed a bottle, and poured himself more wine! LOL. I love it when oldies act up.
Eric and I joined the club, but I later called and cancelled. We had already joined the club at Barnett and Sabina which was enough of a splurge.
|Enjoying our last tasting on the patio|
|Last picture at Pine Ridge. Sad to leave!|
Needless to say, we had a lot of fun at Pine Ridge and I'm glad we visited. The tour was interesting and comprehensive and the cave tasting was so cool.
The next stop is Yountville, which is a town in the heart of Napa and only a few miles away. We made dinner reservations there and wanted to walk around and explore the area.
|Exterior of Redd, the restaurant we ate at|
|Vineyards right on the main street in Yountville|
|Could frame this one|
|If this is life at 32, I'll take it!|
|The famous Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery|
|I chose several items to try|
|The famous macaroons were BEYOND. Seriously. The caramel one at the bottom was the best|
After exploring Yountville for an hour or so, we headed to our dinner reservation at Redd. Danielle ate there and had recommended it. We checked out the menu and thought it was a good option.
|He got a Manhattan instead which was much better|
|Fresh tomato salad is the perfect way to start a meal|
|This pork belly appetizer was amazing and our favorite dish of the night. They always make pork belly on Top Chef and now I can see why!|
|Scallops and cauliflower appetizer - two of my favorite foods|
|Eric's lamb loin was a unique and tasty dish. The flavors reminded me of the Mediterranean household I grew up in|
|I really enjoyed my chicken entree, but brought most of it home for lunch the next day|
|No cake this year for me|
|After dinner, I sat outside and opened some of my birthday cards|
|A few of my birthday cards back in the room|
|Yountville in the early evening. We are heading back to Solage now|
|Taken in the car on the way back|
Although it would have been nice to celebrate at home with my family, today was a lovely alternative for my birthday. Eric bought me a card and wrote a thoughtful message, but we don't exchange gifts and probably never will (if you share a bank account and both work, it's not really a gift, is it?).
Anyway, I was quite pleased with my day and went to bed looking forward to enjoying the rest of our trip.