Bali Part 2: Is there such a thing as too much Wanderlust?

Bali Part 2: Is there such a thing as too much Wanderlust?

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary:

wanderlust

/ˈwɒndəlʌst/

noun

a strong desire to travel.

“a man consumed by wanderlust”

It’s an amazing feeling, but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. A lot of the time, I even feel like I am incapable of living in the moment because I have this hardwired desire to go somewhere else. I don’t want to be ‘consumed’ by any emotion because it will ultimately never leave room for the others. For example, appreciation. Sometimes you are so ‘consumed’ by the feeling of being there that you forget to enjoy it at all.

As it’s been a month since Bali, I said that I would write something to sum up the experience and what I’ve learned from it. Read the first post about Bali here. Why was it so difficult? What I’ve seemingly discovered stems from 1. still journaling in my Bali notebook (using the same pen of course, I rue the day that it runs out of ink) and 2. taking a look inward. And what did I find? I found that I may claim to love to travel but I spend most of my time hyper focused on seeing as many places in the world as I can. It’s a race! Cue Mr Bean in Rat Race. The most important part of a race is when you get to the finish line, but what is the finish line when it comes to travel? You’ll never see it all, countries and cultures will never stop being beautiful and alluring, it never has a finish line. I’m racing against absolutely nothing. What a nightmare! I’m competing with myself with no idea how to even win. Having the strong desire to travel is a very important thing and I never want to lose that, but being able to put that emotion on pause is also equally as important. If I never stop and enjoy the moment I am living in, the moments run the risk of having no meaning. They become forgettable. I don’t want to dream of these trips for years, finally take them and then forget the moments that made them so special.

I think this is what happened in Bali. Not only the other emotional challenges, you can read about those here, but there was something deeper that made it so difficult to be in the moment. The feeling of ‘wanderlust’ can sometimes be so consuming and addicting that eventually you self implode. Especially when things are not working out the way you want them to. The pressure people (travellers) put on themselves to see the world is a powerful thing and should be celebrated but for me, it took away the most important aspects of seeing the world in the first place. The emotions and anxiety of the difficulties made the feeling of wanderlust too much to bear, leading to the ever-enjoyable break down you read about before. I was in my dream destination and I was struggling to be in the moment every day. I needed a constant reminder to enjoy where I was. The feeling of finally being there was everything I wanted, but I was too emotionally drained to be present.

I do believe that the feeling of ‘too much wanderlust’ starts at home. The physical unrest to constantly leave, move and start over. It builds and builds until you feel unable to even enjoy where you live. The feeling of constantly being unsatisfied with your surroundings, thinking that travel will be the only thing that will bring you joy. The issue with this mindset is that travel can’t fill the void you’ve built by avoiding living in the moment. If you are never living in the moment in your daily life, going on a trip won’t suddenly teach you how to do so. You have to practice how to be present, every day. Taking a trip can’t be the rebound relationship you use to feel happy with your life, it should be the reward. There is no finish line when it comes to travel, but there can be a way to make more of the trips that you have worked so hard to take.

This is entirely my own hot take on why I had such a difficult time in Bali, but I feel like realising this has slowly allowed me to discover what I need to change in my life (home & travel) to feel more complete and in the moment. I felt like my need for control imploded in Bali, but finding out why has ultimately led to me discovering that it’s been bound to happen for a long time. Being present and enjoying the moment is a challenge for me but it’s worth paying attention to.

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Happy Sipping!
A Solo Traveller’s Love Letter to Bali

A Solo Traveller’s Love Letter to Bali

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Traveler or traveller? It might just be me but the double L sounds much more sophisticated. As most British-English words do.

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One week in Bali, my first solo trip and my first Christmas spent away from my family and my hometown. Solo travel feels like a kaleidoscope. It takes you on an emotional rollercoaster from the second you buy the plane ticket to the moment you’re back in your apartment at home. To preface my experience in Bali, I will be publishing (holding myself accountable by putting it into writing) three posts on my trip. The first, which you are currently reading, will be the honest and heartfelt love letter to my trip. The next post will be a Bali Travel Guide and the final post will be a reflection in about a month on how my perspective has changed since being home.

I believe that everyone (women, especially) should take a solo trip. Whether it be a weekend away or across the globe. Not only do you feel like the strongest and most resilient version of yourself, but you also begin to see what truly makes you the happiest. It can be really hard! Or it can be a complete walk in the park. Or both.

Arriving in Bali was electric. From the second you get off the plane you are thrown into a world so full of energy that it blows you away, literally. The second I walked off the plane, crossing the threshold, my straw hat blew right off my head and went straight in the direction of the plane engine. My new hat, it was one of those hats that feels as if it was created just for your head. Measured and tailored specifically for that awkward shaped head of yours, that you’ll probably never find again. Well, that perfect hat was flying straight for the jaws of the plane engine. The hat survived and no plane engines were hurt in the writing of this post. But it was surely an entrance. Welcome to Bali!

The country itself is a dream. A spiritual haven full of beautiful food, people and history. The first half of my trip was everything I had wanted it to be, a gorgeous Airbnb, delicious food and spa appointments every day. Bali is very affordable, safe and relaxing, if you allow it to be. I was hyper aware and followed nearly every rule given to me about avoiding the treacherous bali belly, food poisoning, that was given this cheeky name since more than half of the tourists get it. It’s basically unavoidable so I knew it would happen at some point. Being sick in a foreign country was something I had not prepared for. Not because I was worried I would never get better or there were no hospitals, but because it really shakes you awake to the idea that you are so far out of your comfort zone and the sickness drains all the energy you have towards making sure it’s the trip of a lifetime. It was really hard and I felt really alone. Bali let me feel this way but the sun would rise every morning asking, very politely, if it could show me more of what the country had to offer. It didn’t swallow me whole, it silently waited for me every day to feel a little bit stronger and more comfortable with myself and welcomed me back to paradise. My first solo trip was much harder than I ever imagined, but I couldn’t think of a more incredible place to feel lonely.

Day 4. I bought a journal that was made of recycled paper with “Bali with Gratitude” on the cover. I bought the journal halfway through the trip because I figured if I was having all of these emotions I should try writing them down. I decided to give journaling a chance! I was feeling more healthy and I was finally in Ubud. Ubud was a spiritual oasis among the mountains and jungle. It was Christmas day when I bought the journal, I was aching to be home for the holidays with my family. But I had chosen to travel the world! I was lucky enough to do so, I had to enjoy it as much as possible. It could have been the pressure I was putting on myself to enjoy it that ultimately made it the most difficult. Ultimately, I was in Bali and I was full of gratitude to be there in the first place. That’s why I bought this journal specifically. I was feeling happier and excited that I got the chance to be revived emotionally in this beautiful part of the world. Ready to start my first journal! But I didn’t have a pen.

Two days later, still no pen. I was finally ready to open up to the beautiful pages of this book but didn’t have the tool to even put the words on the page! Nobody had an extra pen, not the Airbnb host, not the pharmacy, there was no stationary store to buy a pen. Where did the Balinese people go to buy their PENS!? Finally, when I was lured into the only French Bistro in Ubud, feeling back in my comfort zone amongst French jazz, walls lined with wine bottles and French Onion soup, they had an extra pen! YES! A good pen too. There was something grounding about being in my comfort zone again. Funny, that my comfort zone involves Côtes du Rhône red wine and a menu that includes Croque Madame.

So what did I write in my new journal that I had been waiting so anxiously to write in? I wrote an apology to Bali. I was apologizing for trying to take my first solo trip during the holidays, pushing my limits and emotional capacity. I was in my dream destination and I was sad, it felt so wrong! It wasn’t personal, it wasn’t Bali. Trying to force a solo trip during the time of year that you want to be surrounded by your loved ones was harder than I ever imagined. I realized that being home for these moments was priceless, it was worth more than your dream destination. I learned my lesson. But I was still sorry, sorry I had to realize these things on a trip I had been waiting for since I first watched Eat Pray Love. I had idolized Julia Roberts strength and resilience to be able to see the world solo. It’s also a film adaptation, it doesn’t show the moments of solo travel that are the hardest.

The most incredible part about solo travel is being able to feel sad and having the ability to pull yourself together, slap on sunscreen and your perfect sun hat and continue exploring. Anxiety and fears aside, you are alone for a week and you still get up every morning and enjoy the island crafted coffee, get on the scooter and tour the country that ends up being more beautiful than you every imagined. I asked Bali for forgiveness.

Dear Bali,

It isn’t personal. I’m just not the travel alone during the holidays and summer Christmas kind of girl. I think I need a solo trip during a time where I won’t feel so lost without my family and traditions. I don’t want to be the only person who says Merry Christmas. I want to wear a sweater and feel a wind chill when I walk outside finding warmth in a glass of red wine. Comfortable and accompanied by the people that I love the most. Please forgive me?

From Dria, with love. 

The day after I wrote this. I woke up to a morning that was singing with forgiveness. I asked and what I received was more than I ever imagined.  The island opened it’s heart to me. The ‘Island of the Gods’ knew exactly how to respond. The best was yet to come, the low points were about to feel like a distant history. My last day in Bali was a cultural tour, it was raining and the island came to life. It was a tropical storm of beauty. From temple to temple, I became more aware of how much life this island had to give. I was full of happiness to be able to not only witness the preservation of such beautiful history and culture, but to feel a part of the legacy and purity of the Balinese culture. I asked for forgiveness and I got a letter in return. A letter without words and with just a feeling of comfort and acceptance.

Instead of an apology, now I’m writing a love letter to Bali. Thank you for your beauty and forgiveness. I can’t wait to come back.

What’s your dream solo destination?

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Welcome to Wine Paradise: Cellar Door Guide to Margaret River

Welcome to Wine Paradise: Cellar Door Guide to Margaret River

My love letter to Margaret River. Not to be dramatic but I did move across the entire world because I fell in love with this region. Sometimes you see photos, read interviews and taste wines and you firmly believe that you belong in that place. That a region is so special that as a traveller and wine lover, if you don’t go, you’ll never reach your full potential. This was my obsession with Margs and can I just say, it was everything I wanted it to be. From the Boranup forest, with thousands of karri trees towering over you with elegance and poise or the most beautiful coastline in the world with pantone swatch blues that clash with the pure white sand beaches. The wine, the people and the best farm to table food (& SEAFOOD) I have ever had! The perfect destination to add to your bucket list. 

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This region is the Southwestern most point of the Australian continent. It’s a cape that on the Northern end meets the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean at the other end, providing drastically different climates and coastlines from North to South. Formed millions of years ago when India and Australia collided, the cape has ancient soils that provide a region with so much biodiversity and potential. Known as a biodiversity “hotspot,” aka a wonder of the world for people like me. If I were a grape, I’d grow here too!

Why ‘Wine Paradise’?

With some of the most pristine grape growing conditions, maritime climate and warm Australia sunshine, this region provides grapes with idyllic conditions to grow. The isolation of the region provides unique terroir that is only found in Margaret River. The wines are cool climate but ripen to perfection. The best grape varietals from the region are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay. Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blends.

Fun fact: This region has never had an outbreak of phylloxera

Here are my favorite cellar doors on the cape! Wake up in the morning, walk on the beach and be drinking a wild ferment Chardonnay by noon. Is this heaven?

 

Vasse Felix

Cowaramup, Margaret River

#1 in my heart and #1 on this list too, of course. The founding wine estate of Margaret River provides the ultimate wine experience in Cowaramup. The most beautiful cellar door that I’ve ever tasted in, with wines that keep up the elegance & style. A feast for any interior designer, this modern log cabin-esque cellar door feels like it belongs seamlessly among the grape vines and marri trees surrounding it. It quietly sits within landscape without interrupting the natural motion of the region. They are in the process of becoming Certified Organic, already implementing organic processes in the vineyard and winery. The wines are magnificent and give you a taste of the history of the region. It also just so happens that the best restaurant in the region is also here. The food is created and developed to complement the wines and not vice versa. The wines are what lead Head Chef Brendan Pratt to discover new locally sourced dishes. The best of the best and worth the entire 22 hour flight from the States.

Open daily, 10-5pm.

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Vasse Felix
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Vasse Felix Restaurant

If you want to know more about my journey moving to Western Australia to work for Vasse Felix, find out more here!

 

Stormflower

Wilyabrup, Margaret River

From the wines to the cellar door, Stormflower executes minimalist and sustainable practices flawlessly. The woodwork in the cellar door is from a marri tree that fell down years ago. It’s homey and absolutely lovely. The Stormflower labels also happen to be my favorite in the region. They remind me of a fairytale. It’s a welcoming environment and the perfect place for a picnic. Right off Caves Road is this gorgeous oasis with easy drinking and Certified Organic wines. A must see!

Open daily, 11-5pm.

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Source: Stormflower

Marq Wines

Yallingup, Western Australia

A 10 minute drive from my favorite beaches in the world. Located under the trees and among the vines, the Marq Wines cellar door is inviting and one of the best in the region to grab a book, order a cheese platter and enjoy the serenity. I first had the ‘Wild Ferment’ (a wine that is not inoculated with yeast and is instead allowed to ferment using the wild yeast found on the grapes/in the winery) Chardonnay in Perth. Loved it so much I needed to meet it’s maker. With the most creative and eclectic wine list I have ever seen, Mark was there himself to talk me through the gorgeous wines on the list. I tried every single one of the varietals that I had never heard of before.

Vermentino (Sparkling and Still) – Native of Sardinia White Varietal

Fiano – Native to Southern Italy

Petit Manseng – Native to the Juracon in France

Yes, I bought a bottle of the Fiano and I am drinking it as I write this. It’s beautiful. It takes to the cool climate with such poise. It’s delicately floral with savory notes and balanced acidity.

Open Friday-Sunday, 10-5pm.

A website content shoot for Marq Wines new cellar door.
Source: Your Margaret River Region

Domaine Naturaliste

Wilyabrup, Margaret River

Nestled among the gorgeous vines of Wilyabrup, Domaine Naturaliste carries the name of one of the ships used by the French when mapping out the cape, called the Naturaliste. With a beautiful philosophy to winemaking and a gorgeous cellar door, this is one of the greats of the region. Winemaker, Bruce Dukes, aims to “leave the land in better health for the next generation.” Also – again with the labels! Get charcuterie and explore the history and future of winemaking in Margaret River.

Open daily, 10-5pm.

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Source: Domaine Naturaliste

Blind Corner

Quindalup, Western Australia

Drive through the vines to find the most iconic sign in the Margaret River region, a skate ramp and the most lovely spot for a picnic in all of Western Oz! I first tasted the Blind Corner Sauvignon Blanc from Wise Child wine shop in Perth. Love the label and love the wine more! With a gorgeous array of wines that give you a sense of immense creativity and personality behind the wines. AND HELLO PET NAT!! I’ve missed you! This cellar door feels like Margaret River wrapped up like a present with a bow on top. It’s cozy. bright and the wines are worth staying awhile. I left with a bottle of the Orange *as in the colour* wine that is a white blend, fermented wild on the skins to get the color and tannins. Find yourself a skater boy and enjoy a chilled Beaujolais Nouveau, LOVE.

Open daily, 10-4pm.

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& many many many more! Happy sipping and enjoy Paradise!

Wandering to Perth, Western Australia! American Working in the Australian Wine Industry

Wandering to Perth, Western Australia! American Working in the Australian Wine Industry

I must really be taking this whole “wander” for wine thing seriously. Yesterday I wandered (with a job & visa) to one of the furthest wine destinations from my home. Say hello to Perth’s newest expat!! Australia is not all shiraz and sunshine! Western Australia is the home of some of the most noteworthy and consistent maritime climates in the world for wine. Vineyards in Margaret River, about three hours south of Perth on the southwestern coast represent the largest winemaking region in WA. Producing Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and other classic Australian varietals.

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Source: The Western Australian

After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture & Enology, I had explored aspects of the wine industry that allowed me to chisel my own marble sculpture of a career that I ideally wanted. While loving the technical and hands on aspect of heading into the cellar, I found that my interests and passions in the industry were more focused on the marketing and business development side. If you can’t tell by now, I love wine. But what I love more is the experience that wine creates across generations and continents. It’s the universal language that can be easily understood and enjoyed without a translator. The experience that the wine industry provides for it’s consumers creates an achievable life of luxury with every bottle.

I started to explore jobs in California and New York within the business side of the industry. What I found was different strong holds in both regions.

New York: Small concentration of production, massive distribution and import job opportunities, many sales jobs in Manhattan.

Los Angeles: Large quantity of production jobs, sales jobs with large wine distributors and many wine service jobs.

I was applying and interviewing and found that I was turning down opportunities because they didn’t feel like the stepping stone I was looking for. So I looked further (apparently as far as possible).

I’ve been in LOVE with Vasse Felix in Margaret River ever since I started my education in wine. They embody traditional winemaking while targeting a global audience. With impeccable marketing strategy, a vineyard in one of the most beautiful places on earth and an international mindset, they have pioneered a small part of the world into the hearts and cellars of wine drinkers around the world. They are sharing wine paradise with the world, and I AM SOLD.

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Vasse Felix Estate. Source: Winedering

Starting November 1st (ha yes, the one tomorrow) I will be starting a six month internship in the Sales and Marketing department of Vasse Felix based in Perth, WA. It’s not common for companies in Australia to offer internships, but based on the visa options, it works out the best for this position. The work holiday visa only allows you to work for the same company for 6 months of the 12 month visa. Extending your visa includes farm work or company sponsorship.

Vasse Felix was not hiring or looking for a UCD grad living in Los Angeles, but I bought Linkedin premium and started reaching out to the company in February. I wasn’t (consciously) looking for a job, but I wanted to understand the company and get advice on how to navigate the business side of wine. It took about six months to finalize an offer and LOTS of follow up emails, but I knew from the first Skype call that I wanted Vasse Felix to be the Mr. Miagi of my Karate Kid career.

Lesson? Sometimes looking for a job is extremely daunting and seeing that you are 1 applicant among 49 on Linkedin doesn’t feel promising. How I’ve found the most important career stepping stones has actually been dissecting the process and finding the company first. Find a company that excites you and creates a brand/strategy that embodies the way you visualize success. The wine industry is different, I have found extremely helpful and kind people who want to give me advice and referrals. But I would never have bought my one way ticket to Perth if I hadn’t bought Linkedin Premium (since canceled because my god it’s expensive!!!) and decided to put myself out there. 

I’ve been drinking my fair share of California & Washington wines in order to get my fix before the move. No Trader Joe’s deals for six months, I’ll survive right?

After doing all of this research and the information I have learned through networking, working in the wine industry is a huge draw for US Citizens moving to Australia. If you are looking for a harvest or cellar job, I would recommend looking at these websites, Wine Jobs Australia, Wine Industry Jobs, Wine Jobs, and more!! But the best way to get connected is through the people who have already worked or done harvest there. The wine community in Australia is hired almost predominately through word of mouth or referrals. Keep your friends close and your harvest coworkers closer, because they may just know someone from Oz.

I’m absolutely terrified but there is nothing I wanted more than to work for this company and explore the world. Ask and you shall receive apparently. Stay tuned for my big move DOWN UNDER!!! Cue Men at Work.

Cheers and Happy Sipping!

The Happiest Hour

The Happiest Hour

Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy drinks at Happy Hour. We all want to be happy and we all want drink discounts, right? That’s where we get the beautiful creation of happy hour. I’ve drank at my fair share of happy hour’s across the West Coast and it’s about time I created a Master List of my favorite HH in Seattle (more locations to come!!)  While this is specific to a killer wine list on the happy hour menu, these places usually have great cocktails and appetizers no matter what your drink of choice is.

Seattle, Washington

Barolo Ristorante

Downtown Seattle

This chic and tastefully elegant Italian restaurant is one of the Seattle greats. With glistening chandeliers, an outstanding wine list and out of this world pasta and meat dishes. Make a reservation for dinner and enjoy an incredible meal from start to finish. But what is even better is their Happy Hour. My favorite dishes on the bar menu include and ARE NOT limited to: Grilled pacific calamari, Rigatoni pasta with beef and veal ragú and the baked escargot (TO DIE FOR).

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Monday-Saturday: 3:00-6:30pm and 10pm-midnight

Sunday: All day starting at 3pm

50% off the bar menu
$5.75 glass select white, red, and rose’
$20 bottle of white, red, and rose’
$5.00 draft beer

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Source: Barolo

Purple Café & Wine Bar 

Downtown Seattle, Bellevue or Woodinville

“Where a global wine list meets seasonal Northwest ingredients” WOW. Talk about my kind of place. Purple is a industrial dream, with impressive metal work in all locations highlighting the dark and mysterious ambiance. With a never ending hand selected wine list that feels like a well written novel paired with exquisite and perfectly prepared dishes. Don’t you dare leave without trying the sea salt caramels. They taste like true love. What else to try: Warm baked brie, Crispy lemon-chile calamari and I usually always try the Washington wine featured on the menu. Currently: Lu & Oly Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, WA.

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Daily 2-5pm

Happy Hour menu includes $7.50 glass of featured wine or 40% off listed price of the featured wines by the bottle

Cocktails, Beer & Snacks also listed on HH menu

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Source: OpenTable

Stoneburner

Ballard

Located within Hotel Ballard, Stoneburner has an everlasting sophistication that feels like you landed in the perfect era during a trip through time. With a corner of the restaurant showcasing walls of the incredible wine collection opposite the art deco and classic full service bar. It’s a gem within the urban and artsy streets of Ballard. With a stone hearth focused kitchen, the small plates are served family style for the table. This would be a place to start with wine and finish the night with a masterpiece cocktail. Must try: CRISPY CASTELVETRANO OLIVES stuffed with mozzarella (not on HH menu but WORTH IT), classic pepperoni pizza and the Asti Fizz.

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Daily from 3-5pm

Happy hour menu includes salads, pizza, cocktails and WINE FLASKS 500ml flask of white/red/rosé for $10.

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Source: Stoneburner

The Walrus & The Carpenter

Ballard

One of my favorites. My heart feels so full with the incredible memories I have from this place. They are known for their oysters (YUM) and seafood. They are an enchanting and eclectic spot in Ballard that provides an oasis in the city for sea lovers and wine lovers alike! The interior design is warm and incredibly darling. As Total Happy Hour describes, “The Walrus and the Carpenter blends the elegance of France with the casual comfort of a local fishing pub.” With a hand selected and unique wine list that pairs perfectly with the sea fare, this is the perfect place to spend your evening.

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Oyster Happy Hour Monday-Thursday 4-6pm

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Source: The Walrus and The Carpenter

Of course, there are many more incredible places for HH in Seattle, but these places have my heart and will forever be in my brain bank of some of my favorite places in my hometown. What is your favorite place for HH in Seattle?

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Happy sipping!

Napa? Never heard of her

Napa? Never heard of her

Have you ever heard of a place with endless vineyards, hot air balloons and tons of grapes that sell for some of the highest prices in California? Surely you have never heard of such a place!

NOT.

Napa oh, Napa. The crown jewel of California wine country. A little bit North of Napa is Calistoga, home of Chateau Montelena from Bottleshock, Chris Pine playing Bo Barrett is on my list of top 10 favorite casting decisions. Napa is the birthplace of California Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Think BIG, BOLD and OAKY. Napa, California has over 400 wineries and counting. But with so many choices, how do choose?! While I have not been to all 400 wineries (that would be concerning), I do have a few favorites and classics that are a must see! Taste a little, explore a little and eat a lot. Enjoy!

Ashes & Diamonds

If you follow me on Instagram you know about my love affair with Ashes & Diamonds. We are talking LOVE AFFAIR. With an art deco, Palm Springs-esque tasting room right off St Helena highway. Yellow doors, incredible natural light and an open air winery that you can walk through. They have homemade foccacia bread served with salted butter and a tasting menu that navigates you through the different varietals that they have at the winery. The A&D Cabernet Franc is my favorite. Cab Franc is a spicy, flirty and smooth parent varietal of Cabernet Sauvignon. Reserve a tasting and consider joining the wine club! They have incredible events that take place at the tasting room that you won’t want to miss.

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51EA171D-A357-4581-AE8F-1F4E30C54EB9.JPGP.S. I am a SUCKER for good glassware. A&D wine glasses have been some of the most impressive in Napa! Make sure to take a second and admire the little things!

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Restoration Hardware – Wine Vault

Yountville, I love you. Yountville is quite possibly one of my favorite areas in the Napa Valley. With some of Northern California’s most impeccable culinary scenes, the tasting rooms step up to the plate. My favorite tasting room/wine bar in Napa is the Restoration Hardware Wine Vault. As an interior design and furniture company, RH has revolutionized “good taste” and developed a such a pristine vision on what beauty is. The wine vault that is in a historic ma(i)sonry building and right next door to the RH restaurant that embodies luxury and elegance. With a wine menu consisting of a variety of winemakers and vineyards around the area, this tasting room represents many different facets of the wine culture in the area. The variety allows for the wine taster to explore their palette. Make a reservation and ENJOY!

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The Hess Collection Winery

Oh, an art museum AND tasting room? What more could you want. Housed in a modern and reconstructed barn, the Hess Collection wines are from elevated vineyards on Mount Vedeer in the Napa Valley. When founding the winery, Donald Hess curated his own art collection and showcases it to the visitors trying the historic and iconic California wines. Reserve your tasting and be sure to see all three floors of the collection. His eclectic art and traditional winemaking processes mark one of my favorite wineries in Northern California. 8F3E81CD-D500-46C7-BE4B-C4542D9E939E.JPG

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What are your favorite tasting rooms in Napa? Comment them below!

Wine & Watch

Wine & Watch

Step 1. Get a bottle of wine

Step 2. Pick a movie to watch

Step 3. Repeat next week

HIP HIP HOORAY! Week 2 of Wine & Watch. Pairing movies with a glass (or bottle) of wine. This particular pairing was limited because ArcLight theaters in Hollywood only had two options, but two is better than none. I was such a fan of the movie this week that I needed it to be the next Wine & Watch. Nothing, and I MEAN NOTHING is better than wine served at a movie theater. Simple but unheard of in a lot of places. Who doesn’t want to lounge in the overly comfy, Lay-Z-Boy esque chair in a completely dark room watching a great movie with a glass of wine. Sounds more relaxing than hearing the radios from the cars sitting in traffic outside my Los Feliz apartment drinking a barely chilled bottle of rosé. I could argue you this for hours, but end of story – if you are going to go see a movie, make sure they serve wine.

Movie of choice: Crazy Rich Asians

W O W. This movie completely rocked my world. It’s hilarious, extravagant and extremely well done. I will not lie, I love love love a good romance. But I also can appreciate the depths this movie ventured to in order to candidly show this wealthy lifestyle seen commonly in Asia. Singapore looks like a dream and they did a spectacular job with filming and music. The soundtrack made you feel the extravagance in your bones. Go. See. It. Trust me, you do not know “well off” until you take a trip to the Young’s family estate in Singapore and Astrid’s 1.5 mill pair of earrings.. Dreamy.

Also – Rachel & Nick (the main couple) are wonderful actors and have a ton of chemistry. Casting was very well done! My favorite character, hands down, is Goh Peik Lin. She absolutely killed it. Delivery, improv, everything was extremely well done. Fav fav fav

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Source: Chicago Tribune

I will be buying the next ticket from LAX-Singapore, BYE!

I have yes to read the book series, written by Kevin Kwan. But after loving the movie I will probably HAVE to read the books. It’s rare that I like a movie more than the novel, but this might be an exception. Let’s just say the budget did not seem TIGHT on this doozy of a film.

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Source: Accessories Magazine

Wine of choice (of the two): Cabernet Sauvignon 

This is not to say they only offer two wines in the ArcLight cafe, the wine list is below. Pretty typical selection. But at the popcorn kiosks, they only had two options and I was running right on time and had no intention of skipping the previews dining in the cafe. Between the Chardonnay and Cab, I went with red. Movie theaters are cold and doesn’t a Cab just fit the bit?

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Source: ArcLight Hollywood

A Cabernet Sauvignon is bold. Just like this movie. You can feel the warmth of a good California Cab from the moment it hits your tongue to even after swallowing. They are hearty, powerful and distinct wines that carry a bit of California sunshine as artillery.  It was a $12 glass of wine in a plastic cup, so do not be fooled, it was nothing glamorous. But it was a lovely sipper during a great film.

This Wine & Watch was a bit off kilter, but here’s a reason to go out and see a movie! Have a date night or enjoy it by yourself (like I did) and have a relationship with your glass of Cab! I love movies, I love wine and I think pairing them together is quite possibly my favorite combination. This movie was heartwarming, hilarious and transcended traditional Hollywood in many ways. A big bold badass wine paired very nicely. I will most likely be seeing the movie again, but if you haven’t seen it yet: THERE IS A SHOWTIME NEAR YOU I PINKIE PROMISE. Enjoy your Thursday, I am currently grabbing my passport and getting a one way ticket to Singapore.

 

LA LA Land

LA LA Land

Los Angeles, California. Boy oh boy do I love this city. On the western seaboard of the United States is a sunny, trendy and delicious destination. You’ve probably been, but if you haven’t it is a wonderful and packed place to go. The “industry” here in Los Angeles is the entertainment industry. But the wine ‘industry’ is also prominent. Wine is mostly consumed here in Los Angeles, but if you can believe it, vineyards are popping up all around town. Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Malibu and more have started planting and bottling wine from households backyards or massive estates.

But today let’s talk wine bars. YES. YUM. Heaven is a place on earth at a good wine bar. Typically wine bars only serve… wine. So don’t expect a vodka cran. If you are expecting to have an easy time choosing one off your google maps, think again, there are a lot to choose from. I’ve ‘tasted and traveled’ (using the bio for something) through Los Angeles to map out the best wine bars and tasting rooms in the LA county and not in any particular order. Enjoy!!

  • Bar Covell

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Source: Urban Daddy

Los Feliz, CA

Mood lighting, NO wine list, beer on tap to drag along your friends who aren’t vinos (YET). The bartenders are educated on the wines carried at Bar Covell. They take your preferences and connect you to the wines they think will be right up your alley. Trying new wines is the key to keeping this industry growing and experimenting. You can order your classic Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, but these bartenders can also lead you in a direction to try a different producers or varietal. You are expanding your palette and getting a brief education on the wines you are drinking. 

http://www.barcovell.com

  • Rosenthal Tasting Room & Patio

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Source: Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate

Malibu, CA

Maybe I am slightly obsessed because I work here. But hear me out. This might be one of the best outdoor wine venues in the greater Los Angeles area. Right off PCH, across the street from Topanga beach, live music on the weekends and wine flights? One of their labels is 100% grown in Malibu (yes, you can grow grapes in Malibu and YES it’s good!). Food trucks on the weekend, live bands and endless wine create an atmosphere that is difficult to leave!

https://rosenthalestatewines.com/

  • SIP Malibu Grapes

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Source: SIP Malibu Grapes

Malibu, CA

Still in Malibu, SIP will be located through the canyon. This rustic and eclectic tasting room also offers wine flights, tastings and an outdoor space that they call “the backyard,” which truly feels like a comfortable backyard of a home. A different vibe for this place, relaxing and quiet as it is off the beaten path of Pacific Coast Highway. This tasting room has a selection of Malibu boutique vineyards and is not only limited to just one label. The perfect place for a wine tasting tour through Malibu canyons.

http://www.sipmalibugrapes.com/

  • Augustine Wine Bar

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Source: Eater LA

Sherman Oaks, CA

The valley. The valley has seeded quite possibly one of the chicest and most inviting wine bars in Los Angeles. But what do you know, the owner and genius behind Bar Covell (see above) he also happens to be the owner of this magical venue. This endeavor also happened to be with Matthew Kaner, Matthew is a spectacular sommelier and the president of Will Travel for Wine, INC. With this wine bar, these involved, creative and wine centric owners created an atmosphere that is unmatched. From Australia to Napa and around the world in 80 days, this wine list has the best of the best. Another plus: a mouth watering food menu, think ragu, charcuterie and cauliflower CHEDDAR soup. Wow is right.

I could go on and on with a list of wine bars in the Los Angeles area, and I plan to. But here is a part 1 of my LA LA Land wine bar debut. Follow along and stay updated with new posts about these dreamsicle businesses in Los Angeles.

What is your favorite wine bar in LA?

Roman ‘za

Roman ‘za

Roman style pizza, holy yum. Triple beam is a new and groundbreaking pizza joint in Highland Park, east of the 5 freeway. The way this pizza place works is you show with your hands how much you want and you can try as many of the pizza’s they have. This establishment has a wine shop, Highland Park Wine, a restaurant and bar, Hippo, and Triple Beam, the pizza place.

Hippo, which just opened around last week to the public showcases fresh and creative dishes for a casual yet lively dining experience.

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  • The wine list: VERY good. From Sherry on tap (my dream come true) to orange wine. With a showcase of wines from around the world, you feel more inclined to experiment. The incredible staff behind the bar are also A++ with suggestions for pairing.
  • The Sherry is “Aurora” from Bodegas Yuste Manzanilla, the MV next to Sherry on a menu stands for Multi Vintage, which can be explained by the mixing of vintages in the Sherry process.
  • Don’t forget – Sherry is sold and served in smaller bottles and pours. 750ml bottles and 3 oz pours.
  • In case you missed my previous post on Sherry, learn more about it here.

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The entire building was bought by the owners of Silverlake Wine (my second home apparently), therefore the wine selections are spectacular. The wines at Triple Beam are changing constantly but are all natural wines. There is something extremely enchanting about a lavish looking slice of heirloom tomato pizza, a rosé from Spain and an outdoor patio with twinkling lights and a warm atmosphere.

  • Triple Beam also offer $20 bottle specials for a showcased wine. THIS IS IMPORTANT. This is not only inexpensive for the incredible bottle and producer, but it’s a great way for new producers and unseen labels to be showcased with incentive.
    • The $20 bottle yesterday was a 2016 Garnacha Rosado, “Lechuza” from Spain. Served at the perfect chilled temperature, a task that some restaurants fail to do accurately. A dry wine with a berry, honeysuckle flavor and a fresh, lemon and floral aroma.
    • Paired perfectly with: one slice of pepperoni pizza, one slice of sausage pizza and one slice of heirloom tomato pizza. Delicious.

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Have you been to these Highland Park game changers? If not, GO. Word is spreading and popularity is growing. Enjoy!!