Monday, September 13, 2010

Wine Country

This is where I spent my weekend . . .

. . .in the heart of California Wine Country!

This is my very dear friend, Laurie.
We were bestest friends in college and have remained friends for 30 years!  She has one of the best jobs ever at Hafner Vineyard, a small family winery in beautiful Alexander Valley of Sonoma County. I was so fortunate to be invited to the annual "picking party" last Saturday to kick off the harvest season. Thanks to my darling DH, I was able to get away for the few days, with barely a week's notice. Grapes don't follow an exact calendar and when it's time to pick, it.is.time.to.pick! 


About 80 of us gathered early in the morning and headed out to the fields where we proceeded to pick 2 tons of grapes.  From here on out, the grapes are picked by machinery. . . 20 tons a day.  I'm glad we didn't have to pick 20 tons.
Here's the morning's harvest.  These little babies will one day be a deliciously rich and full-bodied chardonnay.

We watched as the grapes were run through a machine to remove the stems, and then crushed to bring out all the goodness and juiciness.  Oh my word, the juice is so delicious and sweet! THE best I've ever had.

Then, the party started and we were served a delicious feast.  Wine was plentiful!

Lunch was served in a beautiful, cool setting under the trees. . .
Here is the cave where the wine is tucked away to age gracefully. The greenery that grows along the wall and over the door is rosemary.  It is deliciously fragrant.  Lavendar grows in abundance and brushing up against it releases its sweet aroma.
There's lots and lots of wine! The tunnels wind around, joining together in places.  The children who were there for the day found endless entertainment, playing in the cool, dimly lit chambers.


The next day, Laurie and I drove to the coast and were treated to the sight of a large pod of whales, playing near the shore. More pictures tomorrow!

9 comments:

Susanne said...

What a special treat! That sounds like a wonderful getaway. And the pictures are lovely. I can't imagine living in such a beautiful place.

Becky said...

Gosh that sounds wonderful. I'd love to do that. Here in IL it is all about soybeans and corn though, and they are not nearly as fun to harvest. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures. Can you post samples for us :)

Claudia said...

It sounds heavenly! What a wonderful way to spend the weekend. Your photos are great and show just how beautiful a place wine country is.

xo
Claudia

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Oh my goodness, what an awesome trip! Love the pictures and narrative, I've never been anywhere like that at all, very interesting :)

Waiting for more pictures!

Paula said...

What a spread of food! Sounds like quite a party. Glad you could get away.

Sherri said...

Oh Karen what a wonderful weekend you had! Thanks for sharing!!

Rizzi said...

KAREN,
YOUR TRIP SOUNDS JUST GREAT. LOVE YOUR PICTURES, CAN'T WAIT FOR YOUR NEXT POST. I AM SO GLAD YOU GOT TO GET AWAY, AND BY YOURSELF, NOW THAT'S A TREAT. HA HA! HAVE A NICE DAY. LOVE, AUNT RIZ

Bill said...

Wow, that's quite a memorable adventure!
The food on the table makes my mouth water. It all looks delightful, and the countryside is beautiful.

Jen said...

One word............JEALOUS.