Content in Carneros

By Kate Riley August 23, 2009

This afternoon, Mr. CG and I needed to get away.  So we hired a sitter and traveled just over the hills for an afternoon jaunt to the Carneros appellation for some sipping and savory cuisine.  The Carneros region crosses over both Sonoma and Napa counties in the California wine country.  It is a cooler climate, known for its Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and sparkling wines. 

First stop, Domaine Carneros, a world renowned artisanal winery, famous for its sparkling wines. 

domaine carneros from websiteImage via Domaine Carneros website 

Located on the border of Napa county, the tasting room sits atop a knoll surrounded by vineyard and formal gardens, like a chateau transported right from Europe.  My pictures do not do this place justice.  Check out their site to see it’s true beauty.  Sometimes I need to pinch myself in places like this.     


The terrace has the most amazing views of the valley.  Today it was crowded, but not unpleasant.  Perfect weather, I might add. 


Here’s a peek at the valley, and the vineyard just calling for visitors to meander through the vines.  I could not resist. 

vineyard and valley

Upstairs, we waited briefly for a table.  There’s my handsome dude.  Ten years married next month! 

handsome guy

In the gift shop, I spotted a favorite soap company, and some candles styled similar the ones I did in this post

napa soap


Crates always appeal to me, especially beautiful ones like these.  I can imagine so many ways to use them. 


Outside on the terrace, we had time for just a quick flight.  They bring the bottles to your table for a nice presentation, with an explanation of the individual wines, their flavors, and the best pairings. 

flight in bottles

Ooooh, just my kind of tasting:

flight in glasses

A break from the kiddies, and some sparkling wine? I am so easy to please.  CG = happy. 

cg with flight  

Later, we traveled just minutes down the highway to meet up with friends at Farm Restaurant at The Carneros Inn.   Talk about ambiance, both indoors and out.  Simple, elegant, and chic.  This place has received a lot of press – perhaps you’ve read about it. 

The designers have incorporated into the site some of the best outdoor seating I’ve ever seen.  Amazing lighting, and comfortable and stylish cushions everywhere.  It forces you to linger and order more wine.  Genius. 

farm sign and outdoor seating 

farm outdoor seating

‘Firepit’ is not a word I would use to describe this stunning contemporary feature.  Everyone is drawn to it, and visitors jostle for seating. 

farm firepit

Inside, the bar is very much a cosmopolitan lounge, with velvet cushions and incredible chandeliers.  Black and white movies play on the flat screen. 

farm bar

Aren’t these amazing over the bar ?  They’re like lacy Lucite lamps, suspended from the ceiling.  I couldn’t take my eyes off them. 

farm light fixtures

The restaurant decor is contemporary, but not at all cold.  On the contrary, it is filled with warm and inviting colors, a stone fireplace covered with glass mosaic tiles, and stunning amber colored lampshades on every sconce and chandelier. 

farm restaurant interior

And I’ve never photographed a public bathroom, but just had to here because the ladies room was so modern and elegant.  The faucets, glass mosaic tile, and mini chandeliers, were so alluring.  I loved the cleverly backlit mirrors.

farm bathroom

And the outdoors at Farm is just as inviting at night as it is by day.  You can really admire the stunning light fixtures in the evening. 

farm at night

If you haven’t already, you really must come visit the California Wine Country someday.  And if you need a tour guide, we’re more than happy to oblige.  Happy trails everyone.


  1. Happy (almost) 10th anniversary. We celebrated 10 years in May. Love your new bio pic. :)

  2. It looks like you had a lovely day. What beautiful locations! I could use a day like this!

  3. Which part of CA is the wine country? I have only ever been Monterey to SF but absolutely love your state and country! Pictures are fab happy anniversary!

  4. Oh my goodness, how fun! That looks like my idea of the perfect date. Thanks for allowing us to join you :).

  5. What a fabulous way to spend an afternoon! I'm not sure I would ever want to leave.


  6. We took a trip to wine county for our 10th anniversary and it was one of my favorite vacays ever. So many great restaurants in the area. We stayed in Calistoga and visited the mud baths too, eveyone should try that once!

    Have you dined at the Culinary Institute of America? It was such a beautiful location.

  7. Happy early anniversary! :)

    As always, great tour. You take wonderful pictures, and they really give us a feel for the location.

    Your dates always make me want to drag the hubs away from Fox News/The History Channel/ESPN/Discovery and go SOMEWHERE that is out of the ordinary. :) Maybe I'll see if we can double with my brother and sister-in-law in Olde Towne Alexandria or something….

    This is embarrassing…it's only 8:45 am here in Virginia, but I am totally drooling over those gorgeous sparkling wines! ;)

    Lovely restaurant…reminds me of Dune on Paradise Island with the great outdoorsy atmosphere. What kind of menu do they offer?

    I love that they play b&w movies instead of sports over the bar. Lends to the atmosphere. :)

    Great post, Kate!! :)

  8. Mr.CG looks a lot like a guy hosting a cooking show on tv here…

    Looked like lots of fun!
    I need a day like that

  9. What a great day. We have visited wine country many times, and it is always a treat. Hugs, Marty

  10. Ohhhhh, Mrs. CG! I have MISSED your fun! May I just say that in addition to your many talents, your photography is more stunning than ever! Tell me you do a ton of "post production" work! Holy Moly! Glad you and the handsome hubster got a chance to be "just the two-o-youds"… Fun, fun, fun! I owe you LUNCH, PHONE CALLS, etc. Enjoy the rest of this gorgeous weekend!

  11. I grew up in Napa, but didn't start appreciating wine until this past year. Of course, then I go and get pregnant, so wine tastings are put on hold. There is nothing more pretty than vineyards on a sunny NorCal day. The juxtaposition of the green vines, the brown hills, and the too-blue-to-be-true sky…*sigh* Gorgeous. Glad you had a great day! Yesterday was the day to do it too, still cloudy at Noon today :)

  12. I haven't been to Domaine Carneros is years and years – it was my favorite place in wine country in terms of the sparkling wines. I'm dragging the husband (10 years last month!) up there in early November…he doesn't drink at all but I might need a designated driver and he's good about that. Another place I love is the Hess Collection – I didn't care for their wines but the setting is just beautiful. This post makes me want to get in the car right now and head north!

  13. That is stunning! Why does Arkansas have to be so far from Napa Valley??? A cruel world I tell you!

  14. My husband and I have been to Domaine Carneros! So beautiful, and great champagne!

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