Napa Valley in June

IMG_8980I started the month of June off right by taking a holiday in Napa Valley, California with my husband.  We flew into SFO and took a shuttle to Napa Valley where we stayed at the Bel Abri Inn, about a mile from downtown Napa so everything was within walking distance.

IMG_8951We visited the City Winery downtown the night we got in, where the Opera House is co-located and had banana pudding and white wine for dessert.  I had to come back before we left Napa because their Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Lake County is so wonderful, it’s crisp, refreshing and just slightly sweet, it’s now my favorite white wine!  Plus the banana pudding was divine and paired well with the wine.

If you want to save money in Napa I recommend downloading a mobile app called Winery Finder Tasting Passes.  CastelloThe app has a list of wineries and some have two for one deals so you get two tastings, usually about $20-$25 dollars per tasting, for the price of one.  Some will also have deals where if you purchase a bottle of wine you get the tasting fees waived.  We arranged one day for the Napa Valley Shuttle to come pick us up and take us to various wineries, they are locals and will take you to 5-7 different wineries over 6-7 hours. We visited excellent wineries that all had art or photography galleries, Jessup, Castello di Amorosa, and Mumm Winery (excellent sparkling wines) were my favorites.  The best though was the 13th century inspired Tuscan castle, the architecture and decor were amazing, they had animals, sustainable growing practices, a church and torture chambers!  They also had my favorite wine I tasted all week, La Fantasia, a soft sparkling rose Italian wine that has a slightly berry tart and sweet refreshing taste, I could have had 10 glasses!  This is a must place to visit and Calistoga is gorgeous, the city, about 40 minutes from downtown Napa, has hot springs and more of a mountain town feel.IMG_9057

We also went to somBountyHunter_Chickene excellent restaurants including Bounty Hunter, a BBQ joint where I ate very yummy beer can chicken paired with a cabernet sauvignon, Atlas for excellent crab cakes, and top notch ramen noodles with pork at Eight Noodle Shop. We also went to the Oxbow farmer’s market, a little district near downtown across the river.  The farmer’s market is indoor and everything is just quality!  They have cheese, oyster, juice bars, I had an excellent egg and prosciutto panini and we also had really fresh sushi, a rainbow roll and seaweed salad.  On our last night we went to a little Jazz club called Silos where we saw a jazz, classical Brazilian band called Choro Bastardo, the kind of music that is nostalgic, fine, beautiful and takes you to nice places while you sip on quality Napa Valley wine (moscato and zinfandel that night).

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California Marketing Week

Infonetics

Last week I flew into San Jose, California to participate in a marketing training week my company Infonetics Research hosts every year.  It was interesting that the first day we viewed a speech by Steve Jobs when he launched his “Think Differently” marketing campaign followed by an article on 10 Lessons from Steve Jobs on Marketing.  This was on the heels of me just finishing the Steve Jobs biography book by Walter Isaacson the week before. Here is a quote I took away from the book that nicely sums up what I think he was about and what drives good marketing.

SteveJobsBio“Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on.  And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow.  It’s about trying to express something in the only way most of us know how–because we can’t write Bob Dylan songs or Tom Stoppard plays.  We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation for all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow.  That’s what has driven me.”

I also ate some fantastic food including scrumptious small plates from Orchard City Kitchen in Campbell, my favorite dish being the lavendar creme brulee.  I also really enjoyed this gastropub called Liquid Bread where I had a wheat Tangerine California brewed beer paired with a Braised Goat pasta that had this orange curry sauce.  I also have really nice co-workers and enjoyed the learning break and brainstorming and also the one night I tried Aerial Yoga at a studio near my hotel!

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