I can't think of anything more magical than a summer picnic in California Wine Country. Taking a picnic basket filled with cheese, salami, and crackers, into the vineyards for a long lunch amongst the grape vines is my idea of a perfect afternoon. So, while traveling to Mendocino County for a vineyard wedding, Mark and I decided to eat and drink amongst the vines. We love Golden Eye wine and thought it would be the perfect vineyard to stop by for a wine tasting and picnic lunch.
We started the early afternoon with a wine tasting - it's never too early in the day for good wine! Golden Eye is part of a group of wineries, including Migration, Decoy, Canvasback, Duckhorn, and Paraduxx, which were also included in the tasting. We enjoyed our wine out on their garden patio, which we had all to ourselves! For about an hour, we sipped some Pinot Noir and overlooked the rolling hills of green vines. We fell in love with their Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, which was chilled, light and crisp - a perfect match for the warm summer day.
After our tasting, we headed into the vineyards for a picnic lunch. The 2016 Golden Eye Vin Gris of Pinot Noir seemed like the perfect bottle to accompany the picnic, so we added it to our basket. The staff told us the Vin Gris is nicknamed 'porch pounder' because it is such an easy and refreshing drink, especially for a lazy summer Saturday. I like to think of this Vin Gris as a 'picnic pounder', because it was perfect for our summer picnic!
We were told by the staff that we could go anywhere in the vineyard to enjoy our bites and nibbles, even between the vines! Passing row after row of vines, we headed for the highest point in the vineyard to get the best view.
Settling under a gorgeous oak tree, we laid out the food spread and poured each other a glass of Vin Gris. Our picnic basket was packed with salami, apples, French brie, la panzanella crackers, and fig spread. We also bought a unique duck head aerator from the vineyard, which made for a really fun way to enjoy each glass we poured.
We spent hours up on the hill, relaxing, laughing, nibbling on cheese, and sipping the perfect summer wine. We talked about everything from marriage and celebrating life together, to leaving our daily lives and opening a winery here in Northern California. Luckily, our marriage box was checked in February and celebrating life together is an understatement! As for our plans to abandon our priorities and open a winery .. I think we just selfishly would like to relive this dream everyday, but we will take every other day if we had to, haha. It was truly the best summer day for a picnic in California Wine Country!
After a few hours, we climbed down from our picnic perch to reluctantly rejoin society. With thoughts of winemaking and Pinot Noir swirling in our minds, we strolled leisurely through the vineyard, getting a close look at the grapes that make our beloved glasses of vino. When we returned our basket to the winery, they told us our picnic location under the tree was also where their Migration winemaker proposed to his wife. We knew we gravitated to that location for a reason - it was the most romantic spot in the vineyard with a perfect view!
Having a summer picnic in California Wine Country was truly a heavenly experience. Sipping our 'picnic pounder' Vin Gris in the hills of grape vines, with bites of French brie, is still something that I daydream about! If you want to have a picnic in California Wine Country too, click here to reserve your basket.
What's your favorite wine experience? Ever picnicked on a summer afternoon? Comment below, I would love to hear about your experiences!