October 3 - 6, 2003

A visit to California

Caren & I flew to San Francisco and drove up to the Napa Valley. We spent a couple of days with Rusty and saw the sites in St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville and Yountville. Rusty was involved in a charity auction for the St. Helena's Catholic Church. When we hit town, he took us to the home of Mary Novak, the owner of Spottswoode Winery. Dinner at the pool and lots of different wines to try. The caterer was Kelly Novak, Mary's daughter, who has just opened a restaurant named Kelly's No Bad Day Cafe.
Everyone knows about Bouchon's in Yountville where we dined Saturday night (right), but there are great burgers at Taylor Made in St. Helena. They are soon to open a store in San Francisco.
It was harvest time and lots of grape crush aromas in the air. However, these are the cabernet grapes that are still waiting for a few more days. With cool nights, warm days, and no rain, the wine makers let them hang until the last minute.
These grapes are from the Staglin Family Vineyards where Rusty was staying.
Rusty and Caren in the caves in front of the fermenting tanks at Staglin Family Winery. A ten year break-even on building the caves
And some early merlot.
A view from the porch at the Staglin's home back toward Highway 29.


We left Napa by taking the Oakville Grade road through the mountains straight into the Sonoma Valley. Reminded us of Hana without the waterfalls. We had lunch with Lance and Sandy Cutler at their home. Lance is Rusty's winemaker for the Relentless project.


Then it was on to visit Mark, Andrea and Joseph Carol. As you can see, Caren went quickly into "Grandma" practice. Joseph (or Joe Kit Carol, future UT QB, as he is known to me) is a charming young man who has a beautiful and perpetual smile.
And Joseph with his proud parents.