Day 78 – 11/16 Sonoma County, Coppola Winery

We are in Sonoma County, so we visited the Francis Ford Coppola Winery and got to know the area a bit.

It was a somewhat usual morning here, for a Monday :). Bia got going and was done with school work pretty early. 

Bella started as usual, but had a bit more work to do but was not in the mood to get it done, so she dragged it and by time we decided to go somewhere she still had some math sheets to do, so we left those for tomorrow.

Carol worked on laundry and then lunch.  We wanted to be out by 1 as we had reservations at the winery for 2pm.

I did some work, worked on posts, then talked to a friend about business and work.  I did the call while walking around the campground, and we talked for about 90 minutes, so my walk was over 5km.  Not bad.  It was good catching up with Kirk, checking out the campground, and getting some activity at the same time. 

The girls were outside playing as I was wrapping up my call.

After that I had a call with my health insurance agent about options for next year.  Turns out our premium will actually go down, and the deductibles will be super low as well.  We won’t be on an HSA plan because the premium difference was just not big enough to matter, so it’s not worth it to go on that plan.  We’ll have a very small deductible, but we’ll be covered well, especially having our Sheboygan doctors all in network.

Carol made Turkey, gravy and rice for lunch.  It was great, and the girls ate it all and loved it.  They started planning what to make for Thanksgiving already and are all excited about our turkey day meal 🙂

As soon as we were done eating it was time to leave, the winery is about 30 minutes from here and we didn’t want to be late.  It was a nice easy drive there, and there are many many wineries and vineyards around, it’d be tough to pick one just by driving around, but that’s likely a cool thing to do.

The Francis Ford Coppola Winery is beautiful. 

The entrance is very pretty, vineyards all around, it makes you feel like you’re in Tuscany.  They even have olive plants, they have organs and lemons, pomegranate, and lots of birds around.  It’s a super well taken care of facility, very clean, very organized.  The people there were amazingly friendly.  I made the reservations via email, so when we arrived we went to the wine tasting reservation desk downstairs by the parking lot. 

The lady there checked us in, and radioed someone upstairs, who okayed us to go up.  We went up a flight of stairs and were greeted by a guy.  He said they were ready for us, asked if anyone needed to use restrooms, which the girls did, so we did that first, hahahah, then took us to the tasting room. 

We go through a shop area where they have a lot of different bottles of wine, a vintage car on display, lots of little gifts and some pictures from movies and such. 

The tasting area is nice as well.  It’s an outdoors area that is covered with a nice structure, and the sides can be closed (most were) to block wind. 

We had a nice view of the vineyard from there, and they had fruit trees right in there.  At one point, a hummingbird came right by us and was right on a flower behind Bella.  Later we saw lots of hummingbirds on the smaller fruit tree just outside the space we were in.

Carol and I selected our wine tasting menu and the girls wanted something as well. 

They didn’t have anything for them in the tasting room, so they directed us to the restaurant bar.  The manager was really nice and walked us there, and asked the bartender to server us right there.  The bartender was amazingly nice.  The girls wanted some mix of juices with a splash of sprite and the guy just was super nice, kept talking to them, everything they asked he said yes, then when they had their drinks he said “don’t worry, this is one me, I got it”…. WOW!  Super cool. 

Service was great there the entire time.  We had a great time visiting the Coppola winery, the wines were awesome.  The girls were having a great time too with their drinks, and chatting. 

Oh, and by the restaurant they had some more movies memorabilia on display, pretty cool stuff.

When we were done and it was time to go the bartender from the tasting came tell us about the “deals”… So our tastings were $35 for mine and $30 for Carols.  We got to try 4 different wines, and got about 1/3 of a wine glass per.  The main special was a case of wine for $100, and if you bought the case the tasting was free.  Wait.. what?!?!?  Tough one… we were in the hole for $65 as it was and for another $35 would take a whole case with 12 bottles of good wine…. Yep, you guessed it, we got the case. Hahahaha…  So, we got our case and moved on to the next stop.

But, not before taking a few more pictures. The sky was amazing, and even at the parking lot, it all looked great.

They sure tried to put vineyards everywhere.

We were going to Cloverdale River Park, which was recommended on a few websites.  On the way there I decided to get gas and just stopped anywhere.  To my surprise and complete disbelief, the gallon of Diesel there was $4.16!  Ouch!  This is expensive on top of the already expensive California prices.  I started paying attention to other gas stations and that’s not quite the norm in the entire area, most places have it for $3.5, which is still pretty high.

We got to the park, and could not really tell what was special about the place.  There is a small trail, 1 mile each way, so we took it and were anxious to see what would come. 

But, nothing came…. Not sure if we were in the wrong place or what, but it was just a trail next to the Russian River, which was pretty dry and there was almost no water.  We still had a nice walk.

Then we wanted to go out for dinner.  I had read about a winery that was in town and had great food, so we went there.  And, it was closed.  Not sure if it’s because it was a Monday or something else, but we’ll see if we try again.  Then we went to the next place that got good reviews.  Apparently burgers are a big deal here, so we went to Railroad Station Bar and Grill.  The indoor place was actually closed, and on the side they had an outdoor-sy area that also had side tarp walls to close the wind.  People there were very friendly, and it seemed like everyone knew everyone.  Carol and I got burgers, she got a Veggie one and I got a bacon and blue with Jalapeños.  Both girls got their home made Mac and Cheese.  Everything was very good.  Burgers were amazing.  If you’re looking for a burger here, I can recommend this place. 

Our bartender had a light up and change colors face mask and the people she bought it from were there, so Carol ended up buying one for the girls to share.  It’s pretty cool.  I’m sure it’ll be a thing at EDM events, if not already, as it flashes too.

We went back from there and got ready for bed.  Carol and I split a bottle of wine from the case too, it was a good Pinot Noir.  I think I had more than my half, but it was all good hahahah.   Oh, and I almost forgot, while we were driving around from one place to another today, Carol asked me to stop so she could take pictures close to the grapes.  She came back from the stop with a handful of freshly picked California Sun-dried Raisins!  Wow… they were super sweet.  That was pretty cool.  Girls tried it and loved it.  But it was quite seedy, so we only had a couple each.  I’m guessing the seeds kind of disappear later.

It was a nice day seeing the wineries and vineyards around here, hope we can see more tomorrow.

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