To begin my wine country safari, I took the ferry from San Francisco to Marin, this time with no problems and unexpectedly, in a city of over a million people, meeting my brother-in-law Danny taking the same boat after his morning shift driving the bus. We yakked all the way across the Bay, then both of us caught a ride with my sister-in-law Kathi back to his truck. Kathi lured me out of the city with the promise of seeing (and tasting) wine country in Napa and having lunch with my dear niece, Paige.

So after dropping Danny off at his vehicle, we cruised into the rolling hills and tufted valleys of the “land of appellations.” I love the countryside here, with its tawny mountains and corduroy rows of greening grapevines, the roads trimmed in flowers.

Kathi took me to Mumm’s Napa, where she has a membership, and we were treated to a “flight” of demi-sized, exquisite glasses of Mumm’s sparkling wine (not to be called champagne because the grapes weren’t grown in Champagne, France). When we were so tiddly we couldn’t feel our feet, we took a tour of the company.

I don’t remember much (because of the aforementioned tiddly) but it was lovely. Making champagne is complicated, and they fed us MORE champagne, and fortunately I took a lot of pictures.

Eventually, we went to lunch with my niece in Napa. She’s studying viniculture in Napa, the town of which I found to be a relaxed, pretty, with a mellow vibe. (Perhaps it’s all the wine being imbibed here, there, and everywhere.)

If you’ve never been to wine country in California, I highly recommend it. Thanks Kathi, for a wonderful day and a greater acquaintance with sparkling wine!

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