We brought the pastries back to the house where we ate and got ready for our day of strenuous wine glass lifting. Our first appointment was at Schramsberg Vineyards for some sparkling wine, which seemed like the only civilized option that early in the morning! But before the tasting comes the tour, which was excellent. Rimpel gave us an overview of the winery's history, including the role Schramsberg sparkling wine has had in international-US affairs and State Dinners. After that, it was time to tour the cave!
|Rows and rows of champagne- what a lovely sight! See the pickax marks on the upper left?|
Rimpel reviewed the champagne making process, which is pretty cool. First, the wine is made similar to any winery. Then there's a secondary fermentation that happens within the bottle when sugar, yeast and wine are added. The bottle is capped with a beer bottle top and left to age fo
r several years. Prior to bottling, the bottles are inverted and twisted in huge holding racks by "riddlers" over the course of a few weeks to get the yeast to settle out right above the cap. At the end, the neck is placed in glycol to freeze the neck, the cap is removed, the ice plug shoots out and a cork/cage are placed. The process was fascinating and Rimpel explained it really well.
|Happy frog in the Schramsberg pond!|
After our fantastic tour, we walked through the gardens which were really beautiful. Napa in the Spring on a sunny day is absolutely gorgeous. Then we headed into Yountville where I had bought tickets for the Taste of Yountville event. The event went from 12-5 and featured a lot of different restaurants and local wineries. There was also a tour of the French Laundry gardens, which three of the four of us liked (Dad!). We had a great time walking up and down the street, grabbing our bites to eat such as shrimp and grits, mini-slider and ribs while washing it down with multiple wine tastings. I think it would have been dangerous if we spent all afternoon there!
|View from the Far Niente's main house balcony|
|Far Niente Caves. Old vs new label on the right.|
|The car barn and a view of the main building|
After Far Niente, we headed back to Yountville via Uber. We caught the last hour of the festival and we had a great time. Then it was back to the house to relax until dinner.
Dinner was at Ad Hoc, a Thomas Keller restaurant. It was nice to have a birthday dinner in such a quintessential Yountville restaurant. The short ribs supplement and cheese course were definitely on point. The salad and dessert were also pretty good. The service and ambiance left a little to be desired but no matter, with great food and great company, it was an awesome end to a great birthday.
We got home around 10 and even though we wanted to build a fire, we were done! We all went to bed, looking forward to more weekend adventures the next day!