Pops & Son 4th Wine Trip, Day 1: Giftybox, Flora & the Pope

GiftyBoxOK, so I wasn't off gift shopping for some flowers to take to the Pope, I admit it. His continent was involved, however. A few weeks back, my sister and my mom headed off into the skies towards a three week trip in London and Paris. Freed from familial ties, my Dad and I decided that it was time for another Pops & Son Wine Trip, this time in the Summer. Previous wine trips taken during my week off from the day job during the holidays have included Glen Ellen and surrounding Sonoma wineries, Healdsburg and surrounding wineries and wineries in Napa that we had yet to visit. This time we were planning on doing a hybrid of both valleys. Earlier this year, Jason and Kim sent me this really great wine gift package to review, from Giftybox.com. I figured that this would be a great time to use my Winery Tour & Tasting package.

Wine 2.0 Spring Fling @ Crushpad

Wine 2.0 at CrushpadI was first initiated into the innovative world of Wine 2.0 when I attended their NRO event at Varnish last November. What I found was an extremely thriving movement of loosely knit and mainly younger wine aficionados, producers and entrepreneurs that were expanding upon the path set down by the original Wine Brats...they also tend to throw a party with a little more enthusiasm than your average wine event! With those thoughts in mind, I geared up for some serious wine-drinking, networking and, well, partying last Thursday night. I was keenly aware of how the night would unfold and so I decided to BART and cab it to the event, held at the 3rd street warehouse of Crushpad in San Francisco. Crushpad is a custom crush facility, meaning that they provide equipment, bonded space, reagents and even fruit for boutique wineries and amateur winemakers, alike. They are one of the most well-known companies where winemakers can go to make their own wines with as much or as little hands-on participation as they might choose. I've been hearing about them for years and have been rather intrigued by their facilities, so I was quite happy to check out the space when I first arrived, just before the event opened.

Na's Birthday in Napa

Beautiful Hallway Shot at the CastleI made my first visit to the latest "castle" in Napa this past weekend, in honor of my sister Shauna's birthday. Saturday morning Beth and I made the cruise up from the East Bay and into the Valley, meeting up with everyone at my parents' house in Browns Valley. Now...when I say "castle," I don't mean some overgrown McMansion built by the latest tech wiz from San Jose, I mean a real and ginormous Italian castle! Daryl Sattui, family patriarch and proprietor of the enormously popular V. Sattui winery destination on 29 just before St. Helena proper, has spent the last 14 years and over US$30 million building an obsessively authentic Italian castle on Diamond Mountain. At 121,000 square feet, 8 stories and 109 rooms, this painstakingly-designed replica of a Tuscan medieval-era castle, while ostentatious, is so well executed that one cannot come away from visiting the grounds without a sense of awe and inspiration. Most of the stone, artifacts and other materials were imported from Italy, as were many of the artisans that worked on the building. The building is replete with a dungeon and even a torture chamber!
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