Lush Vineyards and the CIA in the Napa Valley

Note to Writers:  We are holidaying in California so I am taking a break from my traditional writing topics to celebrate our destinations.  Regular topics will resume this Friday.  Enjoy!

Friday was a day to tour some of the delights of the famed Napa Valley. We knew about the vineyards but a surprise awaited us. Every vineyard has its own claim to fame aside from its wine.  The one below had this lovely pool and gardens and their wines were tasty.  Of course, we’re not connoisseurs but that didn’t matter and we bought out first bottle here.

On to our surprise of the day.  My tour guide husband had located the CIA and insisted that we should tour it.  Why not? This garden leading up to the front door is of herbs used by the students inside.  Yes, the CIA is the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.  There was a huge graduation going on just as we arrived so that we mingled with the white-coated chefs and all of their proud assemblage as we sought the famed cooking store on the premises.

“Be sure to see the swallows nesting outside,” we were told. I snapped a shot of their nests here while dozens of angry mother birds swooped and dove at us.

Something of great value must be behind those doors, right? Yes, I suppose some would say that. This is the entrance to the cooking school’s massive wine cellars.  No, they wouldn’t let us in.

Next we went to another winery, this time one whose fame hinges not only on its delightful and popular wines but also on the fact that it is in a huge castle built by the owner to showcase old world talent and beautiful wines.

This is a view of the vines in the fields from atop the castle.  Well, not really atop but up quite a distance.

Finally, we made our way to the wine tasting included in our admission ticket and a kind tourist took our picture. I’m not a great wine drinker but the wine steward pouring found exactly the right flavors for both of us and, with that ambiance, who could resist?

And here is the house we bought while there, for a summer place.  Like it?  Actually, it is at another winery and we thought it spectacular.

To top off the day we bought soft drinks and sat on a winery patio drinking Coke and Diet Coke.  We had had enough wine. Beautiful tour, though, one that every wine drinker should definitely take.


14 thoughts on “Lush Vineyards and the CIA in the Napa Valley

  1. Hi,
    It is so nice to see California again! The pictures make me think of home. I lived in Monterey when I was stationed at Fort Ord, which no longer exists. They closed the the army post and since then it has been sinking into the Pacific ocean, little by little. I also had the opportunity to revisit inb 2008 and ride down the coastline and it was beautiful. So, I hope you are having a great time.



    • Hi Pat! Great to hear from you! We are back in Washington the night before taking the ferry back to Canada. Loved the trip but ready to go back to real life.
      I know that a lot of military installations have been closed but I didn’t know any were sinking into the sea. Interesting. Sounds like a story there.


  2. Elaine, I was fortunate to go on a winery tour in our own Niagara Escarpment. We had lunch at one of the wineries, and yes, they do know how to match a wine to each course from appetizer to entree to dessert, don’t they?

    Cheers and good cheer, and a safe journey home.


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