The unusually warm and sunny San Francisco February weather retreated in favor of a cold windy downpour as we arrived for our first 2011 wine country visit. We had much on our blogging plate for the ten days. Winemaker interviews, winery visits, wine tastings, the Vintners Hall of Fame Dinner, Symposium for Professional Wine Writers and the Premiere Napa Barrel Tasting and Wine Auction were more than enough to make the average liver cry uncle. As you can see being a wine blogger is just “damn hard work.”
After the 90 minute rain soaked drive to Napa, our first pit stop was not a winery, but Target to buy a new massive suitcase to replace the one whose wheels had suffered irreparable damage in the gentle care of too many baggage handlers. After dragging the heavy broken-wheeled bag through SFO, on to the tram, then through the rental car building only to drive in a downpour, we were ready for some wine to revive the soul.
Our first stop was the John Anthony Wines Tasting Lounge in downtown Napa next door to the Avia Hotel. The hip décor includes a tasting bar as well as comfortable seating to just sit back and drink some wine. At night the Tasting Lounge turns into more of cool wine bar scene. We liked the wines and atmosphere so much we met friends there for a pre-dinner glass of wine, later in the week.