Back from Napa– a future book setting?

I’m back from California, but, wow, I think my brain is stuck in Napa Valley.  My first time there, and I pretty much just fell in love with the place.  So much so that I’m determined somehow, some way, to include it as a setting in one of my books.

I’ve got some work-related things going on that are taking up virtually all my time (the time not already devoted to an extremely “independent” (read: stubborn) and tantrum-prone toddler (don’t even ask about our disastrous trip to the wine store yesterday)), but I don’t want to totally neglect my blog.  So I thought I’d share some pictures from my trip.  And I think you’ll see why my brain just doesn’t want to come back to the real world.

napa1This is the view from Quintessa, the first winery we visited.  They make incredible cabernet– my favorite type of wine.  What a way to start the trip!









A rock formation we stumbled across on one of the hiking trails at our hotel.  Not sure if nature made it look exactly like a face, or something else…







The view from Kuleto– the fourth winery we visited.  Incredible views, fantastic wine.  Oprah is building a house on one side of the hill, and Robin Williams owns pretty much an entire hill on the other side.  Must be nice to have such neighbors…






An outdoor tasting table at Kuleto… Seeing how it was a whopping 106 degrees the day we visited, we did our tasting inside.








More from Kuleto… (can you tell we liked this place?)








The restaurant at our hotel, Calistoga Ranch.  Appropriately named the Lakehouse.  Loved the views from the terrace at sunset.






And last, another view from our hotel.  Man, I think we should’ve made this trip longer… 😉

15 thoughts on “Back from Napa– a future book setting?

  1. Erika says:

    It certainly is beautiful country. I admire you for going forth with a toddler into a wine store.

    It’s good to have you back. (is the book done yet?) No pressure. 🙂

  2. Lea says:

    How Beautiful Julie!

    I read a book a while back set in Napa and immediatly fell in love with the area. Now having seen your pictures, this is even more the case.

    Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Warm Regards

  3. Dottie Taylor says:

    Hi Julie!

    The scenery is gorgeous, it would’ve been so hard to leave. The mountains were beautiful. Was that a natural lake at the first winery?

    You’re one lucky woman to spend time in Napa, so beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful pics.

    Dottie 🙂

  4. Julie says:

    Hi Erika! Oh, gosh, was the wine store ever a disaster… Not an experience to be repeated.

    Book 3 is written, and I just got my editor’s notes back on Tuesday, so that’s what I’m working on now. And she mentioned that over the next couple weeks we’ll start working on the title and cover (Berkley has never once kept one of my titles– I should just quit trying), and that’s always fun.

    Lea– you have to let me know the name of the book you read that takes place in Napa! Would you recommend it?

    Dottie: I believe that was a natural lake at Quintessa. I’ll have to ask my husband to be sure… What was interesting was hearing how the presence of the lake creates separate “microclimates” for the vineyards. Some parts of the vineyard get more wind, have different types of soil, etc. The neatest part of our tour was the winery’s barrel tasting. We tasted two cabernets, each from the same year, where the grapes grew merely 300 feet apartment, but in different microclimates. The difference in taste was unbelievable. So every year the winery flies this guy in who’s one of the best wine tasters in the world and he samples the wine from each of the different microclimates and decides what the best combination is. And then that’s the wine that the winery ultimately bottles and sells.

    Who knew there was so much involved?

  5. Colleen says:

    That part of the country is just gorgeous. I can understand why people would want to live there.

    I went to a wedding in Sonoma a couple years back on a vineyard. It was one of the best weddings I have been to. Everyone was so relaxed and enjoying some fantastic wine.

    The day we went wine tasting we kept bumping into a bachelorette party. Those girls were having a good time. (Except for the poor pregnant one who was the designated driver.)

    I look forward to seeing you incorporate that area into a book.

  6. Dottie Taylor says:

    Wow, I never knew so much went it to it or that grapes grown so close together would taste so different. How interesting! I guess it’s too late to start that career as a wine taster, but it sure sounds like fun.

    Dottie 🙂

  7. Julie says:

    Colleen: funny you mention a wedding, because there was a wedding at our resort while I was there, and I kept thinking it would be the most incredible setting for a wedding. And you are right– everyone was so relaxed and friendly everywhere we went. It must be all that wine drinking. 😉

    Keira: I love your suggestion!! The tasting table would be great for such–ahem– adventures.

    Dottie: how ’bout it? Not a bad job to have, being a professional wine taster…

  8. monkeybearreviews says:

    As the mother of a tantrum-prone two-year-old, I can relate to your wine shop experience. His most recent meltdown was at a petting zoo. The screaming & screeching sent the goats crazy, which in turn set him off even more. Fun!

  9. Julie says:

    SarahT: too funny, the petting zoo story. Love the image of him freaking out the goats. We just went to the zoo today and–gasp– my two year-old was well behaved. Imagine that! 😉

  10. Stacy ~ says:

    I was there briefly in October, though it was mostly dark by then, but it was lovely. I do hope to go back one day. And it reminds me of one of my favorite movies, “French Kiss”, which was set in France, but the vineyards were unbelievably beautiful, and I’m sure that’ how Napa is in the light of day.

    I thought it would be a wonderful setting for a book. Very sensual and stimulating to the senses. I’m sure it would inspire all kinds of story ideas.

  11. Julie says:

    Katie: or maybe a wine shop owner in Chicago, who goes to Napa for a trip… Hmm…

    Stacy: I loved the scenery in French Kiss! The vineyards during the day are gorgeous– definitely inspiring.

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