I like wine!  Yes, all kinds.  Well, not really, I take that back.  I like most wines, I’m not a Riesling person…it’s too sweet for my personal taste buds, but I know that there are those of you who like a sweet, white wine.  “You say ‘to-may-to’, I say ‘to-mah-to.”

Hubby and I usually have a “couple” trip every other year.  We call it a “couple” trip because we typically are together for about 2 weeks on this no kid vacay.  So far, we’ve seen domestic sites and international spots, places like Northern California, Napa/Sonoma, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, New Zealand, Africa, Spain, Paris, and the list goes on.  No matter what, WINE goes with these trips.  Obviously in Napa/Sonoma, wine was all around.  In places like New Zealand and Africa, wine was also all around.  Like I said, I like wine!

While in Napa, we typically stay off the beaten paths.  We are little adventurers at heart.  We first went to Napa on our honeymoon, back in 1997.  These were the days of free wine (kind of like free love, just different).  You could stop in at any vineyard, no appointment necessary, stumble around to another, and another, and another.  Really, I have to say, some of that fun and adventure has been lost.  Since those days, Napa has become the place of “invitation only” tours, by “appointment only” tours, $20.00 tastings, and so on.  Sorry, I digressed.  Hubby and I don’t like the “planning” of wineries, we love to find a gem, something like we did when we were young and in love, on our honeymoon, stumbling across vineyards and wineries, and finding our “taste” buds along the way.  Back then, we stumbled upon some of the greats, never knowing that they would eventually be superior wines, places like Caymus Vineyards, Opus One, Frog’s Leap, and Stag’s Leap.

Two years ago, on an anniversary trip to Napa, we again stumbled upon a gem.  Her name is Round Pond Vineyard.  (http://www.roundpond.com/philosophy/#)  We had no idea that she would become like a long, lost friend to us, and that we would create such a friendship with her.  Round Pond has an incredibly intimate terrace lounge that hosts her friends.  While there in February, with the cool evening chill in the air, we sat alongside the outdoor fire place, with a bottle of true, reserve, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s limited in production, a 2008, which still had a little laying time.  With its plum red color, it’s hints of allspice, it’s dry, and yet so deep flavor on our lips, we knew we had journeyed back to the days of our honey moon.  We had truly stumbled upon a new love.  As we sat enjoying the evening, we became friends with the staff.  The winemaker, Brian, came out, and had a nice chat with us.  The Executive Chef, Eric, came out with a few different samples of lip smacking goodness.  Our fun lasted about 2 hours.  We ended up booking a morning tour of the adjoining olive farm for the next day.  The olive tour included viewing of the gardens, sampling an array of olive oils, vinegars, citrus syrups.  It was enhanced with gourmet breads, artisan cheeses, and organic fruits and veggies.  It was a journey through time, with the imported olive press, and the stories of olive milling.

We most certainly became wine club members.  Thus, we are now called “Pondies”, people who belong to the Round Pond family of quarterly wine shipment receivers.  (Mind you…back in 1997, there weren’t wine clubs, and wine shipments.  Wine couldn’t be shipped out of California.  But those were also the days that you could carry liquids on to your flight home.  We typically had a case or two between us that we packed ever so carefully, and would make the flight home.)

Last week, we received our wine shipment.  It also contained an aromatic, wonderful olive oil and red wine vinegar.  The wine bottles will lay a few years, and will develop their flavors in the wine chiller.  I spoke to Katherine (Katherine@roundpond.com), who handles the wine shipments, at length last week.  Round Pond is now doing so much more.  They are growing, and evolving, much like their wines and olive oils.  They are hosting groups on the intimate balcony, anything from welcome parties, to rehearsal dinners, and even after wedding parties.  They are also featuring wedding favors, and welcome gift ideas.  Some of the packages include sample olive oil bottles, and specially featured wines.  With summer weddings upon us, Napa is the perfect spot to choose.  For anything intimate, the terrace at Round Pond has amazing evening sunsets which evolve into wonderful conversations and unforgettable memories.

Always looking ahead, I think we may want to celebrate our 20 year anniversary at Round Pond, with the family.  It’s a little cool in Napa at that time of year, but I think a bold and rich red Cab is perfect for the night chill.  It’s great to be a “Pondie”.  While the MacDonnell family is branching out with its group events, and welcoming those just tying the knot, I’m recalling the 16 years of married memories, and thanking them for creating two years of memories on what they call their “back porch”!

If you would like to experience Round Pond, feel free to ask me for information.  You may also visit their website, www.roundpond.com, and talk to their Hospitality Team.

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