With the front of the house comes a field trip to a winery of Martha's (our instructor) choice and for us she chose Mumm Napa, a sparkling wine producer in Rutherford. At 10am we loaded the Greystone bus with precious grandmother-like/crazy driver/white hair Grace behind the wheel and drove to the establishment off the Silverado Trail.
Upon arrival we were met by our tour guide Suzy who showed us all the background of the winery and production side. Though it was interesting walking through and seeing the workers bottle the grape jucie and "girate" the soon to be champagne, I can't say I or anyone else in my class was too attentive knowing the fun part was to come in the tasting room with the bubbly.
Our tour guide was more than gracious and not only poured us five full glasses of bubbly to taste but also two more glasses of their red sparkling wine. All I kept saying in my head was, "pace yourself, Vanessa, pace yourself." Seven glasses of champagne? Who could drink that much right? Definitely not me, BUT, at least four out of the eight of my class drank them all while finishing off leftovers from other students. You can imagine what the day progressed into. By the end we were cheersing and convincing our instructor we needed to go out to lunch on the way home. She gave in, we went to La Luna Taqueria in Rutherford, devoured tacos, burritos and Mexican soda before going back to school. Realizing we were in no shape to be serving guests at the restaurant Martha let us play jeopardy for a half hour until we were let loose.
Good tour, good field trip, good burritos. The only sad faces I can picture of this whole experience were the few the next morning with baby hangovers. Who drinks eight glasses of champagne at 11am in the morning anyway?
This is called "disgorging" and it's when they open up the wine after freezing it to remove the yeast