It is a little bit embarrassing to admit, but despite living in San Francisco, which is a brief 45 minutes from the edge of wine country, I rarely made it up to wine country for the first five years of my California life. Part of it was my lack of car, part of it was the avoidance of drinking and driving, and part of it was the fact that I was under the impression that I needed to have a plan in order to go to Napa. I have since acquired a cute little car named Abby (short for Absinthe, a reflection of her color) and discovered that wine country is so close by that we could drive up on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, have a tasting of wine, and get home before dinnertime. This solves my final two issues: (1) we don’t need to drink a lot and can therefore drive home safely, and (2) Napa, Sonoma, and the rest of wine country are packed with wineries. We drive and turn down the lane of any winery or vineyard that strikes our fancy. We’ve found some marvelous wineries as a result. One time, we even ended up at a winery where a good friend’s ex-partner’s younger brother was working (much drama, great wine). It caused a good giggle afterwards.
The takeaway? Take advantage of things close by. You’ll have a good time, or, at least, a fun story.