Tag Archives: California

Fall Road Trip

Santa Cruz, California

Leaving Santa Cruz and Taking the Coastal Route.

Into the Bank of Fog.

Pigeon Point Light Station and Lighthouse

Half Moon Bay, California

Crab Season

Tall Ship

Flora and Fauna

San Francisco, California

I fell in love with San Fran in 1998 and then in 2005 I left a piece of my heart in San Fran. I celebrated my 1st wedding anniversary in San Fran in 2005 and shortly before turned 30. This year we celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss and on this trip I celebrated turning the Big 4-0. It is AMAZING how life comes FULL CIRCLE!

Into the Fog to San Fran.

The Fog + Sunrise = Eerie

Finally Capturing the Windmills in San Fran.

Golden Gate Park

The Golden Gate Bridge – Taken Over By the Fog.

Going Through Sacramento

(Photos by RSheridan)


Mettler Family Vineyards

A Generational Legacy

Mettler is One Gorgeous Winery! From the landscaped grounds to the beautiful tasting room to the great views.

Location:  7889 East Harney Lane, Lodi, CA.

Tasting Room Hours:  Open Thursday through Monday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Mettler is one of Lodi’s Oldest Farming Families – been growing wine grapes since the late 1800s. One of the very first families to introduce French clones to the Lodi region.

The Wines

A Tradition and a Passion for Making Wine – Excellence from Vineyards to Wine Production!

I love that Mettler lets the fruit come forward in their wines to create intense and well balanced wines. I wanted a bottle of each, but settled on taking one home with me.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Like a “Liquid Ruby” in the glass! The nose is aromatic with intense flavors and oh so good on my palate. A great balance of savory, sweet and spice.

Petite Sirah

This is SEXY in a glass with richness and beauty! A dark purple in the glass (hello! wine wipes) with aromas of chocolate, jam and spice. I could taste the blackberries and blueberries and oh so juicy.


The ‘Epicenter’ Old Vine Zinfandel!

A few words to describe this wine:

  • Epic!
  • Bold and Bright and Juicy
  • Complex Yet Balanced
  • Tasty Richness
  • Depth of Flavors
  • Savory and Sweet and Spice

Worth The Stop to Sip and Relax and Unwind!!!

Beer Camp

My Very 1st

Beer Camp


Beautiful Program

Beer Camp Bus

Okay Everyone – Sing! B-Double E-R C-A-M-P, Beer Camp! Repeat!

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is GOING THERE! A 7-City Beer Festival Tour with more than 700 Breweries. What an Adventure, What a Journey! The Largest Craft Beer Celebration. Sierra Nevada is making history!

7 Cities

  1. Chico, CA – 7/19/14
  2. San Diego, CA – 7/20/14
  3. Denver, CO – 7/25/14
  4. Chicago, IL – 7/27/14
  5. Portland, ME – 8/1/14
  6. Philly, PA – 8/2/14
  7. Mills River, NC – 8/3/14

More than 100 regional breweries are pouring their beers at each City stop! How cool would it be to go to all 7 Cities! I can dream!

Beautiful Tasting Glass



Beer Camp Across America Variety 12-Pack

On Tap at every City Stop is the 12 different beers Sierra Nevada brewed with 12 different craft brewers!

  1. Tater Ridge, Scottish Ale – Asheville Brewers Alliance, Asheville, NC
  2. Myron’s Walk, Belgian-Style Pale Ale – Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
  3. Canfusion, Rye Bock – Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO/Brevard, NC
  4. Yvan The Great, Belgian-Style Blonde – Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA
  5. Maillard’s Odyssey, Imperial Dark Ale – Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, MI
  6. Alt Route, Altbier – Victory Brewing Company, Dowingtown, PA
  7. Double Latte, Coffee Milk Stout – Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene, OR
  8. Yonder Bock, Tropical Maibock – Cigar City Brewing, LLC., Tampa, FL
  9. Electric Ray, India Pale Lager – Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
  10. Chico King, Pale Ale – 3 Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, IN
  11. Torpedo Pilsner, Hoppy Pilsner – Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, CA
  12. There and Back, English-Style Bitter – New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, WI

Photo: Got Mine - SWEET :) :) :)
Cannot Wait To Taste Them All!!!

A Favorite

Photo: Favorite so far. Happy Weekend :)
A Favorite

Roll Out the Barrels

MarchFourth Marching Band (M4)

MarchFourth Marching Band – Check Out Their Website. From Portland, Oregon.

M4 was AWESOME & AMAZING – So Entertaining!!!! From the Marching Band Themed Costumes to the 5-piece Percussion Corps to the 6-part Brass section to Dancing to Stilt Walking.






Sierra Nevada’s New Brewery In North Carolina

I have been to their brewery in Chico, CA and would love to go one day and tour their new brewery in North Carolina!

Roll Out the Bottles (Photos by RSheridan)

Cannot Wait To Go To Camp Again!!!

Heritage Oak Winery

Tradition and History

Wine Tasting and Picnics

Outdoor Adventure and Birds

Heritage Oak Winery – Check Out Their Website.

Location:  10112 East Woodbridge Road, Acampo, CA.

Tasting Room Hours:  Monday through Friday 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Beautiful Land

Check out the hiking trail to the secluded beach along the Mokelumne River to stretch the legs, wade in or enjoy a picnic. There is also a picnic area near the Tasting Room.

The Winery’s Birds

Birds and Birdhouses! Western bluebirds, tree swallows. Birds are good for the winery because they eat insects. Barn Owls and Larger Birdhouses! Sorry folks, but the barn owls are welcome because they only eat rodents.

The Winery’s Wildlife Sanctuary

Mule Deer and Coyote to Fox and Wild Turkey to Skunk and Raccoon. The river is home to beaver and otter.

The Wines

Sauvignon Blanc

Aromatic, Crisp and Refreshing! Love the Fruity Citrus.


Beautiful in the glass with a fragrant nose and lingering finish on the palate. Pears, lemon and honey.

Vino Tinto

The name alone is FUN to say! A great tasting red blend with Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah. Fruitiness sums up this wine.

Block 14 Zinfandel

Bright and Flavorful! Beautiful in the glass and one to take your time with and just sip.

Block 5 Old Vine Zinfandel

Beautiful and Intense and Great Tasting! Savory and Spice too. A full bodied wine great balance.

Petit Verdot

A blend of 75% Petit Verdot, 20% Petite Sirah and 5% Grenache. I love trying and tasting Grenache. Beautiful in the glass with an aromatic nose with fruitiness and subtle tannins. The mouth feel was soft and the palate was pleased!


I love trying and tasting Charbono – RARITY to see on a wine tasting list! Certainly need to sip and savor with food. The color in the glass is amazing and the taste is very pleasing on the palate too. Smooth, Bold and has Character.

So Many Wines To Try and Taste! I Will Need To Come Back!

Harney Lane Winery

Family, Love, Laughter

Harney Lane Winery – Check Out Their Website.

Location:  9010 East Harney Lane, Lodi, CA.

Tasting Room Hours:  Open Thursday through Monday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Tasting Fee:  $5 per person, which is waived with wine purchase.

Wine:Thirty is their Wine Club – love the name!

The Wines

Harney Lane is Hands On! All their fruit is handpicked, hand sorted, fermented in small lots, and then barrel aged.


Beautiful in the glass with a great nose. Citrus, pear and pineapple. Crisp and Refreshing.

Dry Rose

The color of the wine in the glass is like no hue I have seen before in a Rose and in a good way. I thought the nose bloomed as the wine warmed in the glass. Melon and Berry. Dry and Balanced with Fruity Sweetness.


This Chardonnay is a palate changer as well as a palate pleaser! Apple, pineapple, apricot with honeysuckle, butterscotch and caramel. I could really taste the apricot and caramel. Sweet with a little spice and very nice. I wanted to grab a bottle and enjoy the day.


Beautiful in the glass with jammy goodness. Heart the berries and cherries. Rich velvety finish and leaves your palate wanting another sip or two or three. Just leave the bottle.


I was excited to see Tempranillo on the Wine Tasting List. This Tempranillo would balance with Sweet Eats very nicely. It had my palate guessing and wanting more to figure it out. This Tempranillo will get better with age too.

Petite Sirah

Saved the BEST for last in my opinion. Like Dessert in a Bottle with layers of jamminess, cobbler and roasted coffee. Dark and beautiful in the glass with a great nose and pleasing the palate all the way through. This Petite Sirah would pair nicely with a variety of eats.

Here’s to Great Tasting Wines and Living a Life of Love and Laughter – Cheers!!!

Estate Crush

Crushing It In Lodi

Pouring 18 Wines, 45 Brands & 85+ Wines for Sale!!!

Estate Crush – Check Out Their Website.

Location:  Two West Lockeford Street, Lodi, CA.

Tasting Room Hours:  Friday 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Barrel Tasting Tours & Wine/Cheese Pairing

The 2nd Saturday of Each Month at 1:30 p.m.

$22 per person and includes a winery tour, education, barrel and tank tasting, private wine and cheese pairing, and 20% Cellar Club discount on bottle purchases. Reservations Required!

I prefer to go out to the wineries. However, that being said I enjoy hitting the downtown area and checking out the wine tasting rooms too.

The Wines

So Many Wines To Try and Taste and So Little Time To Do It In!!!

I recommend this place for 3 reasons! #1 Variety in Tasting Wines. #2 The place to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner. #3 Great dinner recommendations.

Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy – Cheers!!!

Lodi Wine and Visitor Center

Great Place to Start

Your Adventure In

the Lodi Wine Region

I have a confession to make I love checking out visitor centers when I travel! The Lodi Wine and Visitor Center is a great place to start if you are new to the Lodi Wine Region.

Lodi Wine – Check It Out!

Location:  2545 West Turner Road, Lodi, CA. (209) 365-0621.

Hours:  Daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

I enjoyed exploring the grounds with its beautiful landscaping of fauna and flora. Also, there is an area devoted to wine grapes and the varietals are marked, so you know what the vines look like for the various varietals.

Wine Map and Information

I like to go to the source and ask the staff of the Visitor Center for recommendations on wineries to check out! I enjoy a wine tasting bar, but love to go  out to the wineries even more.

Lodi Wineries – Check It Out!

Lodi Wine Events – Check It Out! ZinFest. Chocolate and Wine Weekend. Lodi Road Trip Passport. Oh My!!!

Wine Tasting Bar Anyone???

The Visitor Center has a wine tasting bar that features a wide selection of regional wines. Eight wines are served on a daily basis and the wines are rotated weekly. You can purchase bottles of wine too.

Tasting Fee:  $5 for a flight of 4 wines to try and taste.

The Wine & Roses Hotel, Restaurant and Spa

Check out the Wine and Roses hotel, restaurant and spa too! The Visitor Center is located on the grounds of The Wine & Roses.

LoCA – The Wines of Lodi California Wine Club

I checked this out and thought it was pretty SWEET!

Wine Club Members receive 3 to 4 bottles of different Lodi appellation wines 4 times a year. Each shipment also includes a newsletter, tasting notes, and recipes chosen by the winemaker for their specific wine. The average cost per shipment is $70 to $90 plus shipping. Enjoy exclusive hand picked wines for the Lodi appellation!

(Photos by RSheridan)

Happy Exploring & Wine Tasting – Cheers!!!

Hook and Ladder

Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley

Hook and Ladder is located at 2134 Olivet Road in Santa Rosa, California.

Winery Tasting Room Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Complimentary tasting. The tasting room is inside the winery’s production facility at the Barbieri Ranch, one of the Russian River Valley’s oldest vineyards, dating back to 1905.

Cecil De Loach is Owner and Winemaster as well as a San Francisco firefighter. Growers first in 1970 and then Producers under the De Loach label in 1975.

“More than three decades later,

Cecil and Christine sold that label and have continued their winemaking skills

at the helm of a small family winery that employs a simple philosophy –

craft exceptional wines, from the highest quality grapes, that people love to drink.”

Hook and Ladder offers great tasting and very drinkable wines! The winemaking process is hands on too (i.e. hand pressed, hand stirred, etc.).

Tasting Flight

  • Chardonnay – The color in the glass was beautiful with a good nose and a smooth mouth feel. A great tasting and balanced wine that is crisp and fruity.
  • Pinot Noir –  This wine played with my palate with its complexity and balance.
  • Zinfandel – The color in the glass was a deep, dark red with a nose of berries, spice and wood. This wine played with my palate with its fullness and long lasting finish as well as when the wine warmed up in the glass it went from berry to woodsy to berry to cola. A very multidimensional and complex wine that is rich, full and long lasting.
  • The Tillerman – 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot, and 10% Sangiovese. The color in the glass was a deep red/purple with a nose of bright, ripe fruit, spice and herbs. This wine could handle lighter dishes to rich dishes.
  • Station Ten Zinfandel Blend – 59% Zinfandel, 31% Petite Sirah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Carignane, and 1% Alicante Bouschet. The Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon give this wine depth, richness and fullness. The Carignane gives it spice and the Alicante Bouschet gives it sweetness. A great tasting wine that is very drinkable and balanced.

Hook and Ladder’s Station Ten (Photos by RSheridan)


The Sonoma Coast

A Few Mysteries to Solve

On the Sonoma Coast heading back into Bodega Bay, California.

The Wreck Mystery

At Goat Rock and Blind Beach on the Sonoma Coast.

The Scary Cliffs Mystery

On exploring the Sonoma Coast I literally had to do a double take on this area! On the first take I could not believe my eyes and was a bit in shock. On the second take I could really see the damage, but could not tell if it was one home or multiple homes. It made me think twice about my dream of building a home on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean!

I published a post on Wesport-Union Landing State Beach Campground (Mendocino County) back on July 13, 2013. The road that runds through the park is crumbling right over the cliffs.

It is scary and a little eerie to see two areas like this in one year of traveling around California! There is that fine balance between living, preserving and protecting and Mother Nature trying to take back the naturalness of the land. It is bittersweet in that someone lost their home.

Here are photos from the second take.

(Photos by RSheridan)

The Mysterious Side to Exploring!!!

Sonoma County

Exploring and Adventuring

In Sonoma County

Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa, California is the county seat of Sonoma County. The largest city in California’s North Coast, Wine Country and the North Bay (the fifth most populated city in the San Francisco Bay area). In 2013, Santa Rosa was ranked as one the “happiest cities” in the United States! Santa Rosa has a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and warm, mostly dry summers. The area experiences fog from the Pacific Ocean as well as snow in the nearby mountains.

Sonoma County Wine

Sonoma County is one of California’s largest producers of wine grapes.

Link to Sonoma County.

Appellations of Sonoma County

  • Alexander Valley
  • Bennett Valley
  • Chalk Hill
  • Dry Creek Valley
  • Fort Ross – Seaview
  • Green Valley of the Russian River Valley
  • Knights Valley
  • Los Carneros
  • Northern Sonoma
  • Pine Mountain – Cloverdale Peak
  • Rockpile
  • Russian River Valley
  • Sonoma Coast
  • Sonoma Valley
  • Sonoma Mountain

That is a WHOLE lot of appellations!

Where to Start? Santa Rosa is close to the Russian River Valley, so that is the appellation that I explored during my time in Sonoma County. You have to know which wine appellation you are in or you will become overwhelmed pretty quickly in Sonoma County when it comes to wine. The lady at the Vistor’s Bureau stated that Sonoma County is about the size of Rhode Island!

Interesting Facts:

  • Grapes were planted in Sonoma County at Fort Ross as early as 1812.
  • Padre Jose Altimira planted several thousand grape vines at Mission San Francisco Solano in what is not the city of Sonoma, in souther Sonoma County.
  • In the 1920’s there were 256 wineries in Sonoma County, with more than 22,000 acres in production.
  • During the Prohibition period, commercial winemaking declined. At the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, fewer than 50 wineries in Sonoma County survived.
  • In the 1960’s, only 12,000 acres were vineyards.
  • By 1999 Sonoma County had over 49,000 acres of vineyards owned by more than 750 growers and 180 bonded wineries.
  • In 2007, of the 250 wineries over half are less than 20 years old.
  • About 73% of Sonoma County’s agricultural production is growing wine grapes with 60, 302 acres of vineyards with over 1100 growers.

Popular Wine Varietals in Sonoma County

  • Chardonnay
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Noir
  • Zinfandel
  • Merlot

Russian River Valley Wine Country

The Russian River Valley AVA lies adjacent to and west of the City of Santa Rosa and the southern reach of the Russian River, where the river bends westward and cuts through the Coast Range to the Pacific Ocean. Cooling Coastal Fog + the Petaluma Wind Gap + the Russian River = Great Producing Vines and Grapes!

Link to Russian River Valley Winegrowers.

Interesting Facts about the Russian River Valley AVA:

  • Granted AVA status in 1983.
  • Accounts for about one-sixth of the total planted vineyard acreage in Sonoma County.
  • More than 15,000 acres planted to wine grapes.
  • 79 wineries.

Sonoma County Harvest Fair

A Celebration of Sonoma County’s finest and best known products! Entrance into the Harvest Fair is FREE. The Harvest Fair is held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

The main reason to visit Sonoma County was for the Harvest Fair. The Harvest Fair offers an all-inclusive wine tasting with 150+ wineries ($). This includes craft beer and cider tasting and food pairings. Taste the best of Sonoma County!

The Harvest Fair includes:

  • Chef Demonstrations (Free)
  • Wine Seminars (Free)
  • The Grape Stomp (Free)
  • Harvest Workshops, like How to Make Wine, Beer, Cheese at Home, Making Ciden, Organic Beekeeping 101, and Backyard Beekeeping (Free)
  • The Wine Country Marketplace – wine, beer and cider sales
  • The Marketplace – local and artisanal products for purchase
  • The Garden of Earthly Delights – sit back and relax and watch the action
  • Port and Chocolate Tasting ($5 per pairing)

Link to the Wine Awards for the Harvest Fair.

Link to the Craft Beers and Ciders for the Harvest Fair.

Link to the Food Awards for the Harvest Fair.

Bear Republic Brewing Company

Bear Republic Brewing Company is located at 345 Healdsburg Avenue in Healdsburg, California.

Cuvee de Bubba

Tasted:  Cuvee de Bubba, a Sour brew. A custom blend of Bear Republic beers that is refermented in oak barrels using only the wild microflora and fauna native to the Alexander Valley. Stone fruits and cherry pie tartness/sourness.

Good Eats:  I had the Crab Sandwich. The Tides Wharf’s fresh Dungeness crab (Bodega Bay) tossed in garlic aioli served on grilled sliced sourdough bread with tomato

Racer 5 IPA

Russian River Brewing Company

Russian River Brewing Company is located at 725 4th Street in Santa Rosa, California.

Tasted:  Framboise for a Cure (proceeds donated to Breast Cancer Awareness), a Sour brew. Their Blonde Ale aged in Chardonnay barrels (the base beer is Temptation). Then 30 pounds of fresh raspberries are added to each barrel! A great tasting and very drinkable sour brew that is beautiful in the glass with pink to red tones. A nice balance between sweet and fruity to tart and sour. 100% of the proceeds of this brew goes to the Sutter Breast Care Center of Santa Rosa.

Good Eats: Had the Mikey Pizza with marinara, mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni, and carmelized onions.

The Sonoma Coast

(Photos by RSheridan)

Happy Traveling!!!

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