We found this very enchanting town at the Santa Ynez wine trail called Solvang. It is a quaint Danish village close to Santa Barbara in California. Downtown has a number of restaurants, shops, bakeries and wine tasting rooms. Solvang was one of the locations in the movie “Sideways”. This very enchanting place is famous for its architecture and freshly baked Danish pastries. Oh what a joy to be here !!!
After Napa we continued our wine trail to Lodi in Northern California. The Lodi tasting rooms for me are underrated because this appellation really has a lot to offer. Most wineries are family run and are very personal compared to touristy Napa. It is not just about business as people seem to be more genuine. A regular tasting menu fee at Napa would cost an average of $20 for 5 bottles, and at least $30 to sample four different reserve wines.
In Lodi a tasting menu costs only $5 for five selections and $10 for the reserve collection. It is also customary to waive the tasting fee if you purchase a bottle. This area takes pride in their Zinfandel and produces great Petite Sirah. There are over 40 wineries and my top three are: Robert Mondavi’s Woodbridge, Michael David, and the Van Ruiten Family Winery.
Robert Mondavi recognized Lodi’s potential and made it home to world renowned Woodbridge.They have a very informative complementary tour of their massive wine making facilities.This I believe should not be missed. Michael David boasts of the 7 Deadly Sins and Inkblot wine reserves; a cafe with great homemade pies and a very beautiful flower garden.
I had the best time at the Van Ruiten Family Winery. From the tasting room, we moved to the garden to enjoy a bottle of Zin and music from the live Sunday jazz band. We were also picking grapes off the vines and eating them. Everyone was so friendly and fun! I didn’t realize I was seated next to one of the owners, to curb my enthusiasm our next bottle was on the house!