Wine Country- switching to prime photography
Poor weather in the bay area during our trip meant that we switched our plans and spent two days in wine country, drinking it up. We only visited two wineries, one in Napa and one in Sonoma, but the experience was superb and I cannot wait to go back.
All wineries in Napa and Sonoma open between 10 and 11 AM and we reached Napa on a rain-soaked morning and headed to Joseph Phelps wineries in St. Helena, which came highly recommended by good friend. We signed up for a seminar that would explain why the soil and micro-climates of the Napa valley were conducive to growing grapes for wine making, while sampling six different wines from the winery. The seminar was excellent and the wines even better. We sampled two whites, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay and four reds, a Pinot Noir, a Syrah, a Cabernet and the wineries signature ‘Insignia’ blend, a $200 bottle of red wine. The seminar conductor was knowledgeable, patient and very engaging. Knowing nothing about wines it was a great learning experience and highly recommend it for anyone visiting Napa for the first time.
We spent a good two hours at the winery sampling wines, taking pictures and headed for an amazing lunch at Bottega, renowned celebrity chef Michael Chiarello’s restaurant in the heart of Napa Valley. Following a stroll through the market, sampling some fine coffee and chocolates, we were ready to call it a day.
The next day we headed to Sonoma and spent all morning at a small, boutique winery called Westwood. We got there at 11AM and were the only two people at the tasting lounge. We spent a good two hours with one of the owners who took his time explaining his wines and what made his small winery tick. It was a great day to be outdoors and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This is a small establishment in the heart of Sonoma, producing no more than 10,000 cases of wine in a good year. They know what they are good at and stick to their guns. We sampled five different wines and landed up buying four bottles of their signature blend – the Red Four. I would definitely look this place up if going to Sonoma.
For most of these images I used my trusted 50mm/f1.4 prime lens for super shallow depth of field and the Expodisc to set the white balance in some rather challenging lighting conditions. Even the expert running the seminar at Joseph Phelps, a photographer in his own rights, was fascinated by it.
As always I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to hearing from you.