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As I may have mentioned HERE, we were invited to a wedding of the son of dear friends we’ve known since we were first married—37 years ago.  Have I mentioned I was a child bride?  {smile}.

There were 2 other couples (close friends)  invited to Jeff & Allison’s wedding and we decided to rent a house rather than stay in a hotel.  The wedding was over Labor Day weekend and we knew Napa Valley would be teaming with wine enthusiasts and other vacationers.

On the other side of the pool is Robert Mondavi vineyards.

One of the couples had stayed at homes found on VRBO and we put them in charge of finding a suitable house to rent.  Mr. S. delivered in spades…he found a 4 bedroom/2 bathroom home on a private drive in Oakville (just south of St. Helena).  The house called “Winemakers House”  has a view that’s amazing.  We found out that the home is surrounded by Robert Mondavi vineyards so the feeling of being in the wine country in our own home was wonderful.

The six of us decided to caravan in 2 cars packed with essentials we felt we needed for the weekend—we left at o’dark thirty (as hubby likes to say) on Friday.  We had decided in advance we had to make a stop in Oakland at Bake Sale Betty’s for Alison Barakat’s (owner/founder) famous fried chicken sandwich.  Worth the wait in line and the slight detour!

This is the view with your back to the vineyard---Winemakers House

Once we arrived at Winemakers House we worked on the centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner (a request by mother of the groom).  Fresh sunflowers and wonderful vineyard vases made for a great table decoration!

Centerpiece for rehearsal dinner

We then dressed for the rehearsal dinner, hosted at Tri Vigne—about 15 minutes from our home.

The day of the wedding we visited St. Helena’s lovely little main street.  {more details on this portion of the trip tomorrow} There are some wonderful shops and the weather was very comfortable—I believe it got into the high eighties but really felt perfect (maybe it has something to do with being on vacation).

Note:  We choose not to visit any wineries that day knowing there would be plenty of wine at the wedding and dinner that followed.

The bride's colors were plum and a sage green, it is only coincidence that this guest had on a similar color and happened to get in the picture.

The wedding was held at V Sattui.  I believe it’s a newer vineyard—in any case, the building was beautiful and the wedding was held outdoors in a stone courtyard.  Above we were surrounded with flower boxes filled with ivy geranium, hydrangea and vines.  I think this is one of the prettiest settings for a wedding I’ve ever attended.

This photograph doesn't do the flowers and vine justice, trust me...the setting was beautiful.

The reception was magical…it was held in a room with wine barrels on 3 of the 4 walls.  There was a stone floor and overhead were rustic, iron chandeliers that were lit with candles.  There were votive candle holders placed on the wine barrels at each opportunity and the effect was so beautiful.

On Sunday we visited one of our favorite wineries, Newton’s.  The back story for Newton’s is too lengthy for me to send here but the overall story is that Sir Peter Newton started this winery and even after selling to a larger company have kept it small and boutique like, producing less cases per year than most larger wineries.

The tour itself includes the grounds,  caves and a formal knot garden complete with fountain.  They finish the tour with a sit-down tasting in the dining room, which enjoys a 180 degree view.  Small plates of a variety of foods are presented with the various wines for taste-compatibility.

Monday we enjoyed a tour at Cakebread Cellers and Chimney Rock Winery.  Each evening we brought wine, cheeses and artisan breads home for our appetizer hour, followed by a simple meal we all chipped in to prepare.

More wine country details tomorrow...I'm going to go in and enjoy a glass of wine with hubby now!

Mention of Napa Valley and the region by The Style Saloniste stayed in Healdsburg in what sounds like an incredible place…see her account of a beautiful weekend in this amazing part of the country.

More tomorrow on a few of the retail spots we visited during our stay in Napa Valley.