Ahhh......our second day in wine country. I forgot to mention that after two hours of being here, we decided to book a third night here at The Sonoma Hotel, cancel Wednesday in Santa Cruz, add Friday in Santa Cruz and cancel Friday in San Fran. Anyway, today is the day we chose to go on a winery/vineyard tour. A few different people suggested we go to Benziger Family Winery. We called and found out they had openings for the 11:00 tour. So, we ate some muffins/pastries in the lobby, drank some coffee and headed to Benziger.
We took the Biodynamic Vineyard Tram Tour. It was a tram pulled by a tractor that took us up into the vineyard where we learned about biodynamic wine. Basically, this vineyard is one step above organic. They don't use any fertilizers or pesticides. Instead, they use compost, made from recycled grape skins, stems, vines, etc. and they have an insectary. This is a piece of land with bushes and flowers that attract "good" bugs that feed on the "bad" bugs that destroy the grape vines. After we learned all about the vineyards, we hopped back on the tram and headed down to the place where the wine is made. The place where the grapes are crushed, de-stemmed, and put into huge stainless steel vats to ferment. Then we went into the cave where we learned all about how barrels are made and used. Then we went into another room where our tour guide poured us two wines. One was called Casey's Block Sauvignon Blanc, and the other was an Estate wine and was a Cabarnet Sauvignon. The tour ended there and we were able to go into the tasting room for two more tastes. As part of the fee for the tour, we got two free tasting passes at Imagery Estate Winery which is also owned by the Benziger Family. So, we headed down the road to Imagery and went in for our free tasting. Not only was it free, but all the wine was excellent! As a gift to us for being on our honeymoon, the winery poured us a nice size tasting of their 2004 Pallas Estate wine which sells for $70 a bottle! We finished with a 2006 Petite Sirah Port which we drank out of port sippers, little glasses with built in straws. We were given some dark chocolate to eat with the wine, so good! We walked around the winery looking at all the art that has been used on all their bottles. Really great stuff! We had to walk around the grounds for a while before hopping back in the car. We decided to give wine a break and headed back into town for lunch. We ended up at The Swiss Hotel and sat out on the patio.