When in this part of the world, it would be sacrilege, even for two craft beer enthusiasts like us, not to stop off in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, the Napa Valley. So we did. St Helena, the smaller cousin of Sonoma, and in some ways a little more personal, is where we opted for due to reviews we’d read about the Cliff family run Velo Vino and their personable hosts.
Popping in here for a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc, we headed out with the information given and checked out a few of the surrounding areas vineyards. Owing to some kind of State Law, a lot of the wineries can only provide tastings at the bar, yet we were looking for somewhere chilled to sit outside and enjoy the view whilst savouring a bottle, remembering all the good times we’d had with old friends back in Australia’s Yarra Valley vineyards.
This wasn’t permitted at the first two places we stopped, though the randomly selected Cliff Winery (no relation to Velo Vino) fit the bill perfectly. A winding driveway leads you up to shaded landscaping, a small pond, seating scattered around under the trees and a hidden main building invisible from the roadway.
We’re not usually big fans of Chardonnay but as this was by far the cheapest bottle on offer we decided to step outside our comfort zone and were happy we did, as it was one of the lightest, most refreshing Chardonnay’s we’ve ever had. Kicking back enjoying the view, the wine and the friendly staff of this quaint family run vineyard, we whittled away the time until the four o’clock closing time was upon us.
Taking the van back to St Helena, we got Porkchop parked up on a side street and headed back for one last bottle at Velo Vino’s rear patio to enjoy the last of the suns afternoon glow.