I practice – more or less – teetotalism, but I still wanted to experience viticulture in the so-called “Wine country” while we were in California 2012.

There were two alternatives, Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley. We went for Napa – for the chic factor. I heard about Napa in my favorite tv-series “Sex and the city”. Napa became famous in the 1970’s when two of its wines outscored French bordeaux in a blind tasting, according to Lonely Planet.

Later, people heard through the grapevine that Napa’s wines are among the world’s finest.  Especially talked about is its cabernet sauvignon, a red grape wine variety.

We opened our wallets wide to top-end brunch at Ètoile at Domaine Chandon, Napa Valley’s only fine-dining restaurant. It had earned a Michelin star and we wanted to have a taste. Sadly, the restaurant closed in December 2014. It opened in the 1970’s long before Napa was an international destination.

After the heavy and expensive brunch, we took a look around Domaine Chandon’s vast vineyard. Domaine Chandon (established 1973 by the famous champagne producer Moët) is a a French winery that co-owns LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy). LVMH is a French luxury goods conglomerate that merges three companies:  fashion house Louise Vuitton, champange producer Moët and cognac producer Hennessy. Christian Dior goes under this conglomerate, too.

Napa valley is gorgeous with swaths of vineyards on hillsides. The bad thing was the congested traffic!


Basic tasting room etiquette