What I Did On My Holidays


Chapter 19

Napa Valley

20/11/99
Day 14

It's the weekend! Darren, Christine, Linda and I head for Napa Valley, some whites, some reds, and some redwoods. This was the supreme sacrifice for Christine as she had to relinquish a highly treasured "forever" parking spot, so we aimed to return on Sunday afternoon during the mid afternoon trough in parking demand.

How do you get to Napa? Freeway, freeway, freeway, grape vines, freeway, grape vines, wind generators!?! Really, there were wind generators. Spread out among the grapevines, up on towers, there were propellors. No, they didn't generate electricity from wind, they generated wind. They are supposed to keep the air moving on cold nights to reduce the chance of frost. Naturally.

Napa is different from the Australian winery areas I've visited. In Oz, there are lots of grape vines (golly) and little wineries dotted about in a network of undersized roads. If there is a town, it is only just larger than the standard outback "blink and you miss it" size. In contrast, Napa has a busy main road going through a large town with just about everything near this road.

The wine tasting arrangements are different as well. Instead of a shed with bar at one end and barrels and wine making paraphenalia at the other, a Napa winery is more like a large gift shop for tourists with a tasting bar at one end. Not as quiet and personal as the Australian experience, but probably a direct result of the competitive US outlook where bigger is believed to be better and methods to extract money from visitors are optimized religiously.


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