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Tastes & Delights of California

Tastes & Delights of California’s Wine Country

Private Custom Group

Duration: 8 days • Countries visited: USA
Group trip type: Food & Wine


Day to Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Welcome to San Francisco

    Arrive to the City by the Bay! Join your Travel Director in the hotel lobby at 5:00pm for a quick talk and then it’s off to the California Academy of Sciences for a welcome reception at the hottest new attraction in California. You’ll be treated to cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres in a private VIP lounge before time to explore the aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum… all under one roof. (WR)

  1. Day 2: Highlights of San Francisco, including Haight-Ashbury

    We’ll pass a few iconic city sights this morning, as we make our way to eclectic Haight-Ashbury where we embark on The Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking excursion. From rock ’n roll to art, fashion and architecture, this fantastic walking adventure gives you a real insight into the cosmic draw of the Haight! Take some free time for lunch, before we embark on an afternoon catamaran sail beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. This evening there is some time to wander through the Ferry Building before a highlight dinner at the Slanted Door, a modern Vietnamese restaurant that showcases an abundance of produce as well as ecologically-farmed meat, game and poultry found at farms around the San Francisco Bay Area. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 3: California Wine Country

    Enjoy an entire day to explore San Francisco at your leisure! Perhaps take in the upscale shops on Union Street, ride the ferry for an afternoon in Sausalito, or head to Treasure Island. The choice is yours. (BB)

  1. Day 4: San Francisco to Wine Country

    We leave our hearts in San Francisco this morning, as we make our way across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge towards California’s Wine Country. Our first stop is in Petaluma to visit the McEvoy Olive Ranch.  Originally 550 acres of dairy farm, the ranch now boasts one of the finest groves of imported Italian olive trees in the United States – all certified organic. Visit both the groves and milling room, before tasting some of the oils and olives. Traveling north to the shores of Clear Lake, we explore Ceago Vinegarden, a unique winery that uses Biodynamic Farming techniques to utilize the vineyard’s natural resources in cultivating the highest quality grapes without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically-modified organisms. These practices go beyond organic standards. Our final destination is our lodge near downtown Sonoma. This evening join your Travel Director for a reception, followed by dinner in the Carneros Bistro and Wine Bar, named one of the Top 50 restaurants in the bay area and winner of the “Award of Excellence” by Wine Spectator magazine every year since 2002. (BB, D)

  1. Day 5: Wine Blending in The Valley of the Moon & Cookery Class

    Enjoy a leisurely start, as we head just north of Sonoma to explore the quaint and scenic towns of Glen Ellen and Kenwood, along the Valley of the Moon Highway. Loxton Cellars is our first stop where we explore the Syrah varietal in great depth. A picnic lunch is provided, before a guided walking visit to scenic Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, 21 acres of diverse Asian flora. If you’ve ever wanted to become your own winemaker, today is your chance. Chateau St. Jean is our host for a private blending seminar. You’ll spend 2 hours sipping and swirling 5 of their flagship Bordeaux wines and mixing these to create the perfect blend – perfect to you at least! See how your blend compares to those of fellow travellers. Tonight we have a hands-on experience at the Ramekins Cooking School for a private wine-pairing cooking class. Professional cooking instructors and wine educators will show you how to create innovative food dishes, paired with unique wines from the local region. A 3-course dinner concludes our evening. (BB, L, HD)

  1. Day 6: Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Napa Valley & Calistoga

    This morning you have the option of a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards of the Napa Valley. We make the scenic drive through Yountville, St. Helena, and Rutherford on our way to Calistoga. Only 80 acres of the Charbono grape exist in California, and 40 of them are right here in Calistoga. We’ll visit Summer’s Estate to learn more about this rare wine grape and wine. A bit of history comes our way, as we explore Chateau Montelena, a winery dating back to 1886 and winner of the Paris Tasting of 1976. We toast to a wonderful afternoon in Calistoga with a tasting of four sparkling wines at Schramsberg, where we also journey to their historical caves. This evening is at your leisure.  Perhaps you’d like to take advantage of the complimentary admission to the Radiance Spa at our lodge? (BB)

  1. Day 7: Vineyard-Lined Silverado Trail

    Today we make our way to wineries on one of the most scenic roads in the country, the Silverado Trail. First stop is St. Supery Vineyards & Winery where we will focus on Malbec and Petite Verdot wines. Don’t miss their sensory evaluation to see how your nose matches up with your palate. Enjoy a taste of Italy at Luna Vineyards, as Sangiovese wine is featured front and center, followed by a picnic lunch. And due to popular belief in the world of film, the Merlot is still alive and well, and nobody does it better than Duckhorn Vineyards. We are treated to an intimate tasting in their estate house. This evening, celebrate a wonderful trip with a private farewell dinner at one of wine country’s most popular restaurants, The Girl & The Fig, located in the heart of Sonoma Square. (BB, D)

  1. Day 8: Winelands Farewell Brunch

    All good things must come to an end. But why not leave wine country with a bang! Emmy award-winning Food TV chef and Napa Valley native, Michael Chiarello, will host a farewell brunch at scenic Nicholson Ranch winery, one of Sonoma’s most beloved family-owned wineries. Mr. Chiarello will bring some of his personal wines from his own wine label, as well as his flavour-infused olive oils to share with the group. Then enjoy a light brunch, hosted by Michael Chiarello and Ramona Nicholson (owner of Nicholson Ranch), in the winery’s Vintner’s Room. It’s now time to transfer to San Francisco International Airport for your onward journey. (BB)

Meal guide: BB = Buffet Breakfast, HD = Highlight Dinner, D = Hotel dinner, HL = Highlight Lunch, WR = Welcome Reception


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