Sonoma & Conclusions

On Saturday the gang climbed aboard a tour bus that took us from downtown San Francisco to the wine country in and around Sonoma. First stop was Gloria Ferrer, a sparkling wine producer in the Carneros region.

This one sums it all up…10:20 a.m. bubbly.

The winery from the road:

Ready, set, taste!

There were these tiny women trying to climb on a chair on the highway across the entrance to Gloria Ferrer.

Then off to Sebastiani, or as one of our crew called it, the “Disney Land” of wineries. It was huge, very well kept, had an enormous gift shop/tasting room and was full of tourists. Good photo ops, thought. A private tasting room with stained glass, a 60,000 gallon wooden tank and some of the winery’s original pressing equipment.

The most educational tasting was had at Ravenswood just outside of the town of Sonoma. Ravenswood specializes in Zinfandel. Our host there was Peter, who took us into their barrel room for a tasting of some of their private reserve stock.

Then off to lunch in Sonoma, a quick stop at the Whole Foods store in town and first full-on exposure to California douchebagery in the form of a happy cashier, or HC, who had those big hoop earrings stretching out his lobes and a raggy beard.

There’s an older lady in from of me. HC says, “Wow, how’s your day so far? I’ve seen you here before.” Lady says, “I live around the corner I’m here all the time.” HC, ‘That’s great. I’ll be seeing you.” He turns to the kid bagging the lady’s groceries. “Thanks, Ryan, that was a great job.”

I know what’s coming next. He looks at me and says, “How is your day going so far?” I tell him it’s pretty good, just riding around enjoying the sights. “Wow, fantastic. Where are you from?” I tell him New Orleans. “Well, how are things going in New Orleeenzzz?” They’re great. We just had a couple of hundred thousand in town for a festival, and another half million or so for Jazz Fest next week. “Wow, amazing!”

I took my amazing lunch at a windy picnic table—something called the Petaluma Express was keeping wind speeds at a constant 40 mph. This was at a winery called Gundlach Bundshu.

This was a really beautiful place. I was done with tasting by then and interested only in getting some good shots while the gang drank. The late afternoon sun gave a real Van Gogh-in-Arles (with trolls) look to the landscape that was hell to capture. But I tried.

More scenes from Cline Cellars and Viansa winery, a Tuscan villa set in the hills above Sonoma.


Stunning views all the way around. My theory is that living in this area ruins a man, thus the number of douchebags wandering around with their heads up their asses. Alright, I’m jealous. It’s too gorgeous out there not to be.

Our last stop on the way back into San Francisco was the Marin Headlands. These bluffs overlook the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay beyond. Very windy and a tough climb to get up, but dude, it was worth it.

I think that’s going to be it for San Francisco postings. I may have another one in me, but it may be a while coming.

All in all, it was a great trip. I’m very envious of San Francisco. I was of the opinion the New Orleans had more character in her little toe than most every other city in world contains in its entirety. San Francisco is, without a doubt, the exception. Miles and miles of neighborhoods that give the aura of the French Quarter and Canal Street all rolled into one. Thousands of tourists from all over the world roaming the streets there, not because a convention brought them, but because they want their families to experience it.

It’s not a perfect place. Perambulation is almost impossible, even the locals say they’ll walk three blocks out the way to avoid going up one block on a hill. It is very expensive, I’d say tack on 35% to everything you’d expect to spend. Panhandlers abound and they can be very aggressive.

I’d have to say though, that given a $200 million Powerball victory, after buying a few buildings in the Quarter, I’d make my next purchase in San Francisco.

4 Responses to Sonoma & Conclusions

  1. Nola on April 24, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    You really have to get to NYC. Even better than San Fran!

    And Denver pretty nice too. Oh, and Taos.


  2. Charlotte on April 26, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    These photos are amazing! I am sooooo envious!

  3. Stacey on April 28, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Those are great shots!! :) My friend is getting married at a winery in that area in June. I want to go so bad. I love it out there, not enough to live there but to visit a lot.

  4. suz on July 8, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Don’t forget Charleston! I was just told Saturday night by a bartender who’s “born and bred nwalins” according to her, and has been in Charleston for nearly a year, that Charleston is a smaller cleaner New Orleans. Hmm..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *