In October 2011, members of our staff including Shannon Spare from our internet department, had the privilege of traveling to California wine country! Here is the 1st installment of the trip, as told by Shannon.
After a rough trip across the country involving flight delays, rough landings, and GPS mishaps, our band of travelers woke on Tuesday morning in Sonoma, California, ready to start the day and enjoy good food, good company, beautiful weather and of course, some fantastic wine.
We began our trip by visiting Francis Ford Coppola winery. In the past couple years, they have made vast enhancements to their grounds, and it is informally known as the “Disneyland of Wineries.” Walking through the gates, you’re greeted by a fantastic swimming pool area, complete with cabines (not to be confused with cabinas) that you can rent for your private use for the day. There is a wonderful, huge wine bar where you can sit and enjoy some wine or a cold beer. Our tour guide, Neal Coats, informed us that even though they were unsure that the family environment was the best idea for a winery, pool passes sold out every single day of the summer season, and that the pool was always full of families having a great time.
We were brought up to a stainless steel bar where we enjoyed a tasting of Coppola wines. We began with a refreshing 2010 Sofia Blanc de Blanc sparkler, which was the perfect first wine to set the tone to our trip.
Other wines we tasted included: 2006 Archimedes, a selection of reds from the Reserve collection, including the 2008 Touriga Port, which was far less sweet and syrupy than ports that I’ve become accustomed to. We also tasted Director’s Merlot, both wines from the Votre Sante collection (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), as well as a 2010 Moscato.
With our palates dancing, we toured the facility. We watched the bottling and packing of some Chardonnay cases, and were amazed by the automation of such a huge operation. We walked outside to see their fermentation tanks.
After our tour, we enjoyed a phenomenal lunch outside on the patio. We shared a bottle of red and a bottle of white, and toasted to a great start to the trip. After our lunch, we walked through the exhibits in the winery, which included Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar statues and movie memorabilia including the desk from the Godfather.
We gathered the troops, loaded up the car, and headed on to our next destination!