Get Lost (Part 5)

                         (Fifth in a series)

napa2Now I don’t know what I’ll find…

          Just want to get in the car and drive…

Been living too long this way…


It’s getting me down…

               I know what I need…

                                   What I need…  

          California sun…      It’s calling me…

Next stop Calistoga and Napa: 1 day, 1 night

About this time the winding roads have settled down a bit. Not completely, but enough to catch our breath. Although we pulled into Calistoga on an overcast day it was still awe-inspiring. We paid attention to all the little nooks and crannies. The old railroad car that was turned into a flower shop and a beautiful white walled complex, which we later found out, was a spa…sign us up!

California wines haven’t always been viewed in a spectacular light. Like all great things it takes awhile to fully appreciate and admire the toil that comes with working the land; like a fine art. Consider France and Italy known the world over for its wine making and bottled nectar of the vine.  No one in their right mind ever thought to compete with the regality of the European grape until the Paris wine Tasting of 1976.

bottle-shock-dvd-cover-731541In a wonderful depiction of this event Bottle Shock takes us to Chateau Montelena to meet Bo and Jim Barrett the son and father team working against debt and each other to cultivate the California vine. For Jim this is his life having left the corporate world to start anew, but he and his son don’t see eye to eye especially when it comes to Steven Spurier the man in charge of the Judgment of Paris. Bo sees an opportunity, while Jim sees it as a way to ruin. With Bo’s lackadaisical demeanor and privileged attitude that can seem immature it’s with his and his youthful generation’s hope that Montelena recovers.

Although the 70’s is when California wines got their big start into the greater rivers redworld California has actually been making wine for decades. One of the biggest obstacles they had to face was Prohibition. In When the Rivers Ran Red: An Amazing Story of Courage and Triumph in America’s Wine Country we hear the story of the families that struggled to make a start, that fought to keep it going despite their future running down stream, and ultimately surviving and giving us wine so wonderfully made and easily available.

The scenery is truly breath taking! There were moments I felt as if I had been transported to Italy or Ireland with the rolling green landscape and the overabundance of vineyard fields. Even when the rain would pour the clouds would part and let the sun create sheen on the landscape; everything green looked as if it were in Technicolor. At that moment neither of us was thinking there’s no place like home.

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