****Can I just start out this post by stressing to all my dear family and friends please not only back-up your photos, but ORGANIZE them as well. We have been good about it for 2 years now, but man trying to look back earlier than that it is a hot mess!! If I ever complain about being bored, which I have 2 little one’s I probably will never say that, but if I do, just remind me I have thousands of photos to organize (insert sad emoji face). Thanks for letting me get that off my chest, I feel a lot better venting over the internet already.***
Now to the real topic of this post. I want to talk a little bit about wineries and how much we love them. Now I know what you are thinking, ‘Ok so missy and cj know their wine’ but let me set the record straight. Yes we love wineries, but we are very far from being experts in wine. Let me explain, the reason we love wineries so much is typically the location is absolutely gorgeous, you are drinking outside all the while being in great company. That pretty much equates a good day for our family.
One of the many many reasons we loved living in CA was that we weren’t too far from Napa or Sonoma and would often make day trips on the weekends. San Francisco is much cooler than the Napa/Sonoma area so it was a real treat to warm up and soak up the sun, all the while enjoying the most amazing vistas sipping on wine. So to document our love for wineries I wanted to share some photos with you. Believe it or not this was actually a kayaking/winery tour, ha! We did this at the Chesapeake Bay when we lived in Norfolk, VA. If you go to the website it shows people drinking while kayaking which we thought we were going to do, this was pre-kids mind you. Which doesn’t sound so smart now, but actually what it was, was you kayaked to a winery, did the tasting and kayaked back. We had a blast. 11.04-17 Had we had known we were going to end up living in San Francisco we probably wouldn’t have our 2011 vacation be San Francisco and Napa. But regardless we had an awesome trip and this was all pre-baby so it was a whole different life/experience back then! Look at us, we look like we got 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep! This was somewhere north of Napa, if only I started this blog earlier!! 11.08-23
Do I look a little pudgier here?! Not a trick question, I promise! We went to Sonoma for our baby moon. I liked Sonoma a lot and it’s on the top of our list of places we would love to retire. Because of my very apparent dutch ancestry (adopted dutch person here) one of the places we went to was Dutcher Crossing Winery. It was so absurd not only was the owner from WI but so was the entire tasting room! We had recently moved and you won’t believe how great it felt to be around people where you grew up. I was pretty prego at this point, we had nola a week later, and we felt a lot of, ‘your life is over, good luck’, etc. etc. from people. But one guy who was giving CJ a tasting just was so excited for us and told us being a parent is the greatest thing. I have to tell you, that was just what we needed to hear and he was right! 12.07-1
See little Nola in this photo? She was only 1.5 months old!! At first we were nervous going to wineries with a baby, but that quickly went away. This winery was kid-friendly, meaning they had a whole section for kids. In fact there were so many kids there we felt it was like a daycare! Here was my first sip of wine after having Nola. I was breastfeeding Nola outside before going inside and so paranoid what people were thinking. 12.09-02
Here we are in Napa when CJ’s family was visiting. Nola bear was around 4 months! Visiting Napa during the fall is absolutely gorgeous and I highly recommend it! I think this was taken at Artesa Vineyards & Winery. 12.11-24
This visit to wine country was with our dear friends Todd and Michael. I don’t remember the winery, but clearly that day it was pretty hot looking at our child. 13.08-31
Hands down this was one of our most favorite wineries, Scribe Winery. We went to this gem when my family was in town. This is a small winery and if you visit you do need to make reservations. In fact call well in advance! The person giving us our tasting went to UW-Madison! You can tell how passionate all the people are who work at these smaller wineries. And can we mention they hand out blankets and had a wood swing?! 14.05-17
Here we are at Wollersheim Winery. It was a gorgeous fall day and I just couldn’t do another pumpkin patch! We were so glad we did this and it’s only 45 minutes away from Madison. After our tour and tasting we got a bottle of sparkling grape juice and had the best picnic outside. If you have done the winery tour in Cedarburg (which I think we had done at least twice now, feel free to pass on this tour, it is very similar since they are the same owners). 15.10-11
I tried my hardest to find photos of all our trips, but I know of a few that I can’t find any of. There was one time we went hiking and stopped at one and another when we went back to Sonoma where we went for our baby moon. But I have to say that though this was pretty painful searching for all these photos and took way too much time, it was so much fun looking back! Oh well, I am proud of what I found and most excited about this post because now I have all these memories documented here!
While going through this post I thought I’d give you my two cents on visiting Napa/Sonoma if you ever go and you should:
1. My first advice was from a sweet old man at one of the first wineries we visited on our vacation, make sure you start at the farthest winery and make your way back to where you are staying. Simple enough and makes sense!
2. CJ and I preferred wineries where you they allow you to purchase a glass or bottle of wine and have a designated area where you can eat a picnic lunch. Make sure you research though, not all wineries have a license to eat outside.
3. For us personally the smaller intimate wineries are our favorite type to visit, however you probably should go to at least one of those castles or fancy schmancy wineries in Napa too if you are in the area. They are pretty impressive.
4. After going on a handful of tours you will realize you can just start to skip them and rather ask the owners if it’s cool to walk around (usually it is) buy a glass or bottle and hang outside enjoying the view!
5. If you are going for a weekend my tip would be go on one recommended winery tour and then do tastings at the rest. Three wineries is a good number to try and visit a day. After kids we realized 2 was more doable.
6. And don’t think you need to do purchase tastings for each of you at every winery, you can share!
7. My last bit of advice is don’t think you can’t take the kids. I mean if you plan to get plastered, sure that’s probably not a good idea, but for us that was never what it was all about, and when they are little running outside is fun for them as well!