I'm baaaaack! We spent three days in Washington D.C. and had an amazing time! I took a mere 894 photos. I've done a cursory sorting, deleting obviously bad shots and duplicates. Now I'm down to 569 photos. See what happens when you give a photographer-wanna-be an awesome new camera? I couldn't help myself. I had sooooo much fun being a shutterbug. Anyway, I'm sure it will take me a few days to get through them all, so in the meantime let's return to Napa Valley, shall we?
Tucked up on a hillside, looking down over the town of St. Helena, stands the Castello di Amorosa winery. It has a really interesting history which you can read by clicking here. In a nutshell, the guy who built this winery wanted it to look like an authentic medieval castle. Judge for yourself. (See, Christy? When you come back to the States you won't have any castles to photograph except for the faux kind!)
Check this out. It's one of the gargoyles perched atop the above wall.
Our tour began in a small chapel.
I have less than no idea why this row boat was in the chapel.
I really like this shot. Something about the cross and the sun draws me into the photo.
An authentic brick oven.
This is some kind of formal gathering room. I don't remember all of the details.
Remind you of royal thrones?
This was my favorite part of this room. Look at the blue stripe across the middle of the mural. In the stripe's lower right corner, you can see the hand painted signature of one of the artists. The scoop is that two brothers actually painted this room together and had signed their names here. Before the room was finished, the brothers fought and one of them left the project. The remaining brother finished the work then painted over his brother's signature. Too funny!
Then we got to walk through a few areas of the winery. Yup, those are vats filled with wine.
I'm pretty sure this was Rick's favorite part of this winery: the row of cars belonging to the owners.
Now check out the black Enzo Ferrari! It only costs @ $350,000. Guess there's money to be made in the wine business. After seeing these cars, we tried to strike a deal with Vic and Mo. This winery cost about $50,000,000 to build. We told Vic and Mo that we would somehow scrape together a million plus an Enzo if they kicked in the other $49 million. They just laughed at us. Actually, it was more like guffaws in stereo. Perhaps they failed to realize how serious we are. We need to bring this up again when they visit us in July.
Anyway, we were led into some of the behind-the-scenes areas of the winery.
Some of the best wine is stored in this room. If only we had the key...
These barrells are filled with wine. There were rows and rows and rows of barrels.
These are stacks of bottle waiting to be used.
This is a collection of old wine bottles. At least I hope they're old. I am seriously gonna freak if they just dust these off before filling them.
Then we entered this odd little room full of medieval weaponry.
The next room was even more odd. It was built to look like a medieval torture room. Remember the I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy and Ethel stomped grapes? Guess this is where they send you if you don't stomp properly, ha ha.
This chair has iron spikes poking up through its seat. The points aren't particularly sharp, but when used for torture they are heated from beneath. Talk about being in the hot seat!
Okay, back to wine because that other stuff was kinda creepy. We were able to taste wine tapped directly from a barrel.
Outside we saw a few feathery friends. This is a baby emu, I think. Perhaps it was checking out its own reflection in the water.
Emma, guess what? Twin chicken butts! (Keaton and Emma play this game every time they see animal rears. It's actually kind of funny.)
This chicken has a mad 'do going on, don't you think?
We ran to a local grocery store and bought some yummy cheese, a loaf of bread, and some dried fruit. Then we stopped at a different winery and enjoyed our food with a cold bottle of white wine. Best. Lunch. Ever.
This winery was rather rustic, but the wine was delish!
The chandelier was made from grape vines
and these cutting boards were made from wine barrel tops. They are totally cool. We should have bought one. If we ever go back, one of these puppies is so coming home with us.
Apparently the owner is a banjo-playin' wine master.
And two last views of our Bed & Breakfast.