07 September 2010
Renee and I picked up our rental car from Hertz at the airport. It was the worst rental car experience I’ve ever had, it was slow and no help was forthcoming; but the car was clean and worked when we eventually found the thing.
Despite driving on the wrong side of the road for the first time Renee safely got us to Napa Valley with minimal hassles and we found our motel but were too early to check in. We spent the afternoon driving around various wineries tasting the wine and enjoying the beautiful weather. To be specific Renee did all of the driving and I did the majority of the tasting, how lucky.
Many Napa wineries charge excessive amounts for tasting, no doubt relying on people just turning up and expecting these prices to be normal. Some were charging $30 to $50 US dollars to taste a few wines, considering you could buy a full bottle of their wine for the same price it was pretty over the top. We did however find some really nice places that offered reasonable priced (or free) tastings. Personally I liked to have free tastings when the wines were in the price range and of the type that we would likely purchase; but we tended to turn down free tastings of wines that we knew we would not end up purchasing because it could get a little awkward when we turned to leave. My favourite venue, whose name has unfortunately escaped my memory gave us a free tasting on arrival, had a beautiful outdoor garden area decorated with expensive art and arty furniture, and chatty knowledgeable staff who organised a free cheese platter to go with my wine tasting flight. It was very pleasant.
That evening we went to Wal-Mart to experience the largest retailer in the world. I was pretty excited, but our purchases were less so: fruit, socks, wine glasses…